A former Recording Academy official claims that the nominations for the Grammy Awards are “rigged.” The claim was immediately denied by the frontrunner for “Best New Artist,” Vladimir Putin.
How I wrote it:
This was a pretty big news story at the time, right before the Grammy Awards show, so I thought a mass audience might be interested in a joke about it.
To create the joke I used my Punch Line Maker #2: Link the topic to pop culture. The topic handle “rigged nominations” is associated with “rigged voting,” so I asked myself who or what else in pop culture is associated with that in most people’s minds.
Donald Trump’s impeachment trial was underway, so Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election came quickly to mind and I decided to base my punch line on that.
But I didn’t want to write a punch line that was on-the-nose, something like “She says that the nominations were rigged by Russia.” Instead, I wanted to make the punch line more indirect by ending it on “Vladimir Putin.” Another reason to end on that name is that it sounds funny to me, thanks in part to its three stop consonants.
Finally I added an angle that connects the topic and punch line in a smooth and logical way. Because Putin is a person, I made him a Grammy nominee as evidence of Russian interference. “Best New Artist” seemed like a logical category for him.
I also had Putin deny the claim of nomination rigging, which he would do if he really were a nominee.