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

Congrats to Madison Gerrell 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: Madison Gerrell, Follow her on Comedywire

Joe’s comments:

Setup: How to Relax in Five Minutes

Punch Line: Try not to focus on the fact you only have five minutes.

Madison must have used Punch Line Maker #1 — Link two associations of the topic — to create this great joke.

One handle of the topic, “relax,” has as one association “no stress.” The other handle of the topic, “five minutes,” has as one association “not much time,” and the sub-association “stressful.”

Madison’s punch line links “no stress” to “stressful” by making the logical point that you won’t be stressed out if you don’t think of stressful things.

Madison used Joke Maximizer #4 — Make everything clear — by making her punch line logical and also by sticking to simple words. Three words in her punch line are two-syllable. The rest are only one syllable.

Plus Madison used Joke Maximizer #7 — Use stop consonants, alliteration, and assonance. The repetition of the F sound in “focus,” “fact,” and “five” makes the punch line a little punchier.

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.”