Today a Swiss man performed the first jump and free fall from a solar-powered aircraft. He said he decided to perform the jump when the sun went behind a cloud.
How I wrote it:
This news item made me think “A solar-powered aircraft? That can’t be a good idea.” Based on that flash reaction, I decided I could turn the item into a joke.
Then I realized that the news item also reminded me of a joke from one of the late-night shows. I wish I could remember which show, because it’s a great joke: “In California, a 90-year-old grandmother celebrated her birthday by going skydiving. Not intentionally…she just kind of wandered off the plane.”
Inspired by that joke, I turned to my Punch Line Maker #3 and asked myself the question “What surprising reason could the man have had to jump out of the aircraft?”
To answer that question, I thought of associations of the topic handle “solar-powered,” one of which is “sun.” And I realized that if the sun disappeared, the aircraft could lose power and start to fall out of the sky. That chain of logic led to my punch line.
I used my Joke Maximizer #11–Don’t be too on-the-nose–by leaving out the last two steps in that chain of logic. Otherwise the joke would have ended something like “…when the sun went behind a cloud and the aircraft lost power and started to fall out of the sky.” Not as funny.
I also made the joke a little funnier by saying “he decided” in the angle. That makes the punch line more surprising because it reveals that the man didn’t actually have much choice in the matter.