Former Head Writer of The Tonight Show Picks His Joke of the Week

Congrats to Daniel Pulzello for winning this week’s joke pick!

Pro comedy writer Joe Toplyn, Former head-writer of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Show with David Letterman, picks his joke of the week:

Winner: Daniel Pulzello, Follow him on Comedywire

Joe’s comments:

Setup: Cow sex suspect hunted by police helicopter

Punch Line: Subject is 5’11”, white, with a milk moustache

Daniel might have used Punch Line Maker #3 to write this great joke. That’s the one where you start by asking a question about the topic.

Daniel might have asked “How did the police describe the suspect?” He then might have answered that question using two associations of the topic.

One handle of the topic, “cow,” has the association “milk.” Another handle of the topic, “sex,” has the association “oral sex.” The laugh trigger “milk moustache” links those two associations.

Notice that the wording of the setup might lead you to believe that one handle should be “helicopter,” because that word is in a position of importance, at the very end. But don’t waste your time brainstorming helicopter associations. The most attention-grabbing aspects of the topic are that some guy was having sex with a cow, not that the police hunted him with a helicopter.

This news story comes from England, though. Maybe British bobbies usually hunt their cow sex suspects by bicycle, so breaking out the chopper is a big deal and “helicopter” really should be a handle.

But I doubt it.

Four-time Emmy winner Joe Toplyn is a former head writer for David Letterman and Jay Leno. He also wrote the book “Comedy Writing for Late-Night TV.”