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

Congrats to Niki Galiano 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: Niki Galiano, Follow her on Comedywire

Joe’s comments:

Setup: Italian court finds link between cellphone use and tumor

Punch Line: But the good news is, the tumor gets great reception.

Niki’s great joke is the product of Punch Line Maker #1: Link two associations of the topic.

Like that Italian court, Niki found a link between a cellphone and a tumor. The link turned out to be an association of the handle “cellphone,” namely “great reception.” Niki linked “cellphone” to “tumor” by basing her punch line on the surprising claim that the tumor gets great reception too.

For her angle, Niki used “the good news is,” which is a handy angle to keep in mind when your topic is about something unpleasant.

Note that the actual news story from which the topic was taken is even more unpleasant, talking about brain tumors. But Niki wisely left out the “brain” detail because most audiences would probably feel too squeamish to laugh at a joke about “brain tumors.”

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.”