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

Congrats to Aaron Ring 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: Aaron Ring, Follow him on Comedywire

Joe’s comments:

Setup: Kim Kardashian Wants Baby №3, But “Doctors Have Told Her No.”

Punch Line: Actually, their words were, “Please, no.”

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

One handle of the topic, “Kardashian,” has an association (for most of us) something like “unlikable.” A second handle of the topic, “Baby №3,” has the association “a new family member.” Aaron’s punch line links those two associations with the idea “don’t add another Kardashian.”

But Aaron’s punch line isn’t, say, “That makes sense. Who wants another Kardashian?” A punch line like that would have been too on-the-nose. Instead, Aaron stated the same idea more indirectly (using Joke Maximizer #11) and economically (using Joke Maximizer #1).

Notice that Aaron could have arrived at the same sort of punch line using Punch Line Maker #3 — Ask a question about the topic. The question “Why did the doctors tell her no?” could be answered using the same associations as before, yielding a punch line that meant, “Because it would mean adding another Kardashian.”

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.”

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