In Tennessee, two people were arrested for reportedly shooting up a Burger King after a dispute over a chicken sandwich. Apparently for them, “Have It Your Way” included wearing handcuffs.
How I wrote it:
This news item caught my attention because the crime it describes is so dumb. Plus the news item includes several topic handles that I thought I could turn into a punch line by using my Punch Line Maker #1: Link two associations of the topic.
But which two topic handles should I focus on? Put another way, which two words or phrases in the topic are most responsible for attracting my, and my audience’s, attention? The topic handles need to grab the audience’s attention because the audience has to remember them in order to understand the punch line.
One possible pair of topic handles is “shooting” and “chicken sandwich.” The idea that somebody sprayed bullets because of a mere chicken sandwich does grab one’s attention.
But years ago I had used similar handles taken from a news story about another fast food shooting to write the punch line “bun control,” which merges “bun” and “gun control.” And I didn’t want to repeat myself here.
So instead I considered the pair of topic handles “Burger King” and “arrested.” Appearing together in a news story, those words also grab one’s attention: who wouldn’t be interested in an arrest in a familiar restaurant like Burger King?
One association of “Burger King” is its longstanding slogan, “Have It Your Way.” And one association of “arrested” is “wearing handcuffs.” The punch line that I wrote connects those two associations.
As that process shows, sometimes a topic offers more than two possible candidates for topic handles. To pick which ones to use, just try them in the Punch Line Makers one or two at a time and see which ones lead to the funniest joke.