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

Congrats to Charlie Currie 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: Charlie Currie, Follow him on Comedywire

Joe’s comments:

Setup: “Doomsday clock” scientists use to predict disaster scarily close to midnight

Punch Line: Don’t fret, in the fall you set back your disaster clocks a disaster hour.

Charlie’s great joke could have been the product of Punch Line Maker #3: Ask a question about the topic.

Among other questions, the topic might have suggested the question, “How can we turn back the Doomsday clock?” Charlie answered that question using an association of the handle “clock,” namely “Daylight Savings Time,” which has the sub-association “set back clocks one hour.”

But Charlie didn’t just leave his punch line at “you set back your disaster clocks an hour.” He used Joke Maximizer #6 — Make the punch line parallel — and wrote the funnier laugh trigger “disaster hour.”

Charlie also created an effective angle — “Don’t fret, in the fall…” — that points logically from the scary situation described in the topic to a (surprising) reason we can feel better about 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.”