Former Head Writer of the Tonight Show Picks His Joke of the Week
Congrats to Terry Stain 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: Terry Stain , Follow him on Comedywire
Setup: World’s first text message sent 25 years ago today
Punch Line: And since the user was on AT&T, it just now arrived.
To write this great joke, Terry might have used Punch Line Maker #1: Link two associations of the topic.
One handle of the topic, “text message,” has as one association “AT&T,” which Terry associates with something like “slow service.”
The other handle of the topic — the other element that makes the topic interesting — is “sent 25 years ago.” That handle has a sub-association like “arrived.”
Terry’s punch line links “slow service” and “arrived” by saying that the old text message just arrived.
A punch line has to be true to be funny. Is it true that AT&T messaging is really, really slow? I don’t know, but the confident assertion strikes me as plausible, so I accept that the punch line is true and I laugh.
Notice Terry’s use of Joke Maximizer #8: Wildly exaggerate. Twenty-five years is a ridiculous amount of time for a text to be delivered, which makes the punch line more surprising and instantly clear.
Terry also made sure to end on the laugh trigger, the most surprising word: “arrived.”