It’s March 14, Pi Day. To celebrate, a USC athletic coach took a bribe of 3.14 million dollars.
How I wrote it:
The topic of Pi Day caught my eye because it promised to be a fertile topic for joke writing. That’s because pi, the number 3.14…, has a lot of associations that can be used to generate punch lines.
But the topic of Pi Day has only one obvious handle–pi–so I turned to Punch Line Maker #2 for a second handle. That’s the technique where you link the topic to pop culture.
One of the big news stories was the college admissions bribery scandal, and USC was at the center of that, so I decided to write a punch line about a USC coach taking a bribe.
My next task was to somehow link the handle “USC bribe” to “pi.” Both of those handles are associated with numbers, so my laugh trigger became “a bribe of 3.14 million dollars.”
I finished the joke by adding the angle “to celebrate,” which tends to be a useful angle for jokes about holidays.
$3.14 million was a good size for the bribe in my joke. It’s much bigger than the alleged USC bribes apparently were, and Joke Maximizer #8 advises, “Wildly exaggerate.” But it’s not so big that it’s distractingly huge, the way $3.14 billion would have been.