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

Congrats to Anthony Withers 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: Anthony Withers, Follow him on Comedywire

Joe’s comments:

Setup: Florida man charged with trying to blow up Target stores in conspiracy to kill the share price

Punch Line: They need to rethink that bulls-eye.

To write this great joke, Anthony apparently used Punch Line Maker #1: Link two associations of the topic.

One handle of the topic, “blow up,” has as one association “target,” which has the sub-association “bulls-eye.” The other handle of the topic, “Target,” has the association “bulls-eye logo.” Anthony’s punch line links those associations of the two handles.

Notice that Anthony used Joke Maximizer #11: Don’t be too on-the-nose. He could have worded his punch line as “They need to rethink that name ‘Target.’” But that version would have been a little too direct and, therefore, not quite as funny.

Plus Anthony kept his joke short and ended on the laugh trigger (Joke Maximizers #1 and 2).

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.”