A woman working as a greeter at the Texas State Fair is 101 years old. Isn’t that great? She’s so old, the Democrats just invited her to run for president.
How I wrote it:
The news item attracted my attention because it involves old age, which has lots of associations that can be used to create a joke.
The most obvious handle in the topic is “101 years old,” which has the association “really old person.” Another possible handle is “Texas State Fair,” which doesn’t have many associations for me other than maybe “weird fried food.”
So I could have linked the associations “really old person” and “weird fried food” to come up with some laugh trigger like “deep-fried Centrum Silver.” But instead I opened up the joke by turning to Punch Line Maker #2: Link the topic to pop culture.
To do that, I tried to think of something in pop culture suggested by “really old person.” Bernie Sanders had just had a heart attack, which gave me the idea of basing a punch line on the fact that the three leading Democratic candidates for president are 70 or older.
I didn’t strictly need the sentence “Isn’t that great?” But I thought it helped the joke by misleading the audience into expecting that the joke would end on a positive aspect of old age instead of a negative.
This is a political joke, which can be tricky. But I thought a mass audience might enjoy it because the punch line is based on a recognized fact, not an opinion. And I make plenty of jokes about the Republicans, too.