The actor who played the young boy in “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” Henry Thomas, was arrested for DUI. H.T. phoned home…for bail money.
How I wrote it:
This news item caught my eye because “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” has the familiar association “E.T. phone home.” And I thought I could probably use my Punch Line Maker #1 to link that catchphrase with a second association of the topic.
For the second association, I might have found an association of “DUI” that I could use to construct a punch line. But the “phone” part of “E.T. phone home” raised the question of why Henry Thomas might make a phone call. That’s how I ended up using an association of “arrested,” which is “phoning somebody from jail.”
I got lucky that Henry Thomas’s initials are close to “E.T.” That let me do a clean substitution of “H.T” for “E.T” in the famous catchphrase.
Then I added “for bail money” at the very end, to make it clear why H.T. would be phoning home. My Joke Maximizer #4 is “Make everything clear,” and that includes the logic of the joke.
In the original news item, “Henry Thomas” came at the beginning. But I used my Joke Maximizer #3–Backload the topic–when I moved the name toward the end of the topic sentence, where it could better remind the audience what “H.T.” stands for.