In California, a live rat fell from the ceiling and landed on a table at Buffalo Wild Wings. The good news is, the rat came with a choice of sixteen dipping sauces.
How I wrote it:
This topic seemed to offer a lot of directions to go in for punch lines.
Maybe Punch Line Maker #1 would work, if I could link an association of “rat” to an association of “Buffalo Wild Wings.”
Or maybe I could use Punch Line Maker #3 and ask a question about the topic like “Why was the rat at Buffalo Wild Wings?” or “What did the Buffalo Wild Wings staff do?”
But I ended up using Punch Line Maker #5: Visualize the topic. I’ve been to Buffalo Wild Wings so it was easy for me to form a mental picture of the rat dropping onto my table among plates of chicken wings, glasses of soda, and little plastic cups of sauce.
The next step in using Punch Line Maker #5 is to exaggerate some aspect of your mental picture. So I imagined that instead of dipping one of the chicken wings into a cup of sauce, I dipped the rat into the sauce. And that different, exaggerated perspective on my mental image of the topic became the basis of my punch line.
The final step was to word the joke in a way that suggested eating the rat without being too on-the-nose. A punch line that talked explicitly about eating the rat would not have been as funny because it would have been less surprising and more disgusting.