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

This week’s joke is by Hannah Spirrison.

Setup: Trump hasn’t disclosed 5.1-karat Super Bowl ring gifted by Patriots

Punch Line: He claims no wrongdoing, citing the Patriot Act.

Hannah might have turned to Punch Line Maker #3 — Ask a question about the topic — to write this great joke. She might have read the topic and asked herself, “What did Trump say about that?”

To answer that question, Hannah focused on the topic handle “Patriots.” “Patriots” is associated with “Patriot Act,” which, because it’s so unexpected in the context of the topic, made a terrific laugh trigger. Using Joke Maximizer #2, Hannah made sure to end her joke on that laugh trigger.

To complete the joke, Hannah wrote an angle that guides the audience logically from the topic to the punch line and laugh trigger. The angle is logical because it makes sense that somebody might respond to an accusation of wrongdoing by providing a justification for it, even if it’s lame.

The Patriot Act did give the federal government sweeping powers, so it also makes sense that Trump might say that that particular law gives him the authority to do something that seems outrageous. That gives the punch line the ring of truth for most people, which is a necessary characteristic of any punch line.