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

Congrats to Amy Barnes 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: Amy Barnes, Follow her on Comedywire

Joe’s comments:

Setup: The problem with sex and glitter

Punch Line: They go together like peanut butter and KY Jelly

Amy’s great joke could have been written using Punch Line Maker #3: Ask a question about the topic. One question Amy might have asked is, “What other things don’t go together?”

Then Amy could have generated a punch line by answering that question using associations of the topic. In this case, the handle “sex” has as one association “KY Jelly,” which has the sub-associations “jelly” and “peanut butter.” The surprising pairing of “peanut butter” with “KY Jelly” gave Amy her punch line.

As often makes sense when you use Punch Line Maker #3, Amy provided an angle for her joke — “They go together like” — that’s based on the hypothetical question she started with.

She also kept her joke as short as possible and ended on the laugh trigger (Joke Maximizers #1 and #2).

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.”