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

Congrats to Les Izmohr 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: Les Izmohr, Follow him on Comedywire

Joe’s comments:

Setup: Sexy KFC Employee Quits Job to Sell Porn on the Internet

Punch Line: So she’s still selling breasts and thighs!

To create this great joke, Les used Punch Line Maker #1: Link two associations of the topic.

One handle of the topic, “KFC,” has the associations “breasts and thighs.” The other handle of the topic, “porn,” has those same two associations. Les’s punch line connects those two handles in a surprising way through the two associations they share.
 
Note that Les’s joke still would have worked great if he had stopped at “breasts” and omitted “and thighs.” But Les didn’t want to just “link two associations of the topic,” he went a step further and linked four associations of the topic, two associations for each handle. By doing that, he boosted the surprise factor, and therefore the funniness, of his laugh trigger.
 
Adding “and thighs” did make the joke two syllables longer, and usually you want to shorten your joke as much as possible. But I agree with Les that the trade-off was worth 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.”

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