Ruth’s Chris Steak House will return the $20 million small-business loan it received from the government. When asked for comment, steak experts said, “Well done.”
How I wrote it:
To write this joke I used my Punch Line Maker #1–Link two associations of the topic–but in an unconventional way.
The conventional way is to start by identifying two words or short phrases in the topic that stand out and could serve as the handles for creating the punch line. One obvious handle is “Ruth’s Chris Steak House.”
The second topic handle could be “loan,” “small business,” or “$20 million.” But as I thought more about the topic, and about what the restaurant chain had done, phrases like “good job” and “nice work” popped into my head.
Then I realized that “Ruth’s Chris Steak House” has the association “steak,” which has the sub-association “well done.” And I could create a punch line by linking “well done” with the idea that the restaurant chain had done a good thing.
This joke shows that a topic handle doesn’t have to be a word or phrase in the topic; it could also be something that stands out about the topic as a whole.
I considered omitting an angle and just going right from the topic sentence to “well done.” But I decided that the wordplay would be clearer, and the joke funnier, if I included an angle that repeats the word “steak” from the topic without telegraphing the punch line.