There’s a new White House pet, a short-haired cat named Willow. Between all the napping, getting groomed, and wandering around aimlessly, President Biden hasn’t had the time to meet the cat yet.
How I wrote it:
I thought I could turn this news item into a joke because the topic handles “cat” and “White House” each seemed to have enough associations to link into a punch line.
Turning to my Punch Line Maker #1–Link two associations of the topic–I brainstormed activities that could be associated with both a cat and President Biden. I was aiming for a joke that misleads the audience into thinking I’m talking about the cat but actually–surprise!–I’m talking about Biden.
Napping and wandering around aimlessly were the first two activities that came to mind. Cats are known for engaging in them, and I thought my audience would associate them with Biden, too.
I could have settled for just those two activities but I wanted to add a third, to strengthen the misdirection. Ideally the third activity would be one that people would, at first, associate more with cats than with Biden. “Getting groomed” did the job.
I considered keeping the punch line shorter, wording it as “President Biden hasn’t met the cat yet.” But I decided that that wording could mean the cat has been so busy that it hasn’t been available to meet Biden yet. So, for clarity, I added the phrase about Biden not having the time.
The original news item centered on the Bidens adopting the cat. But I took any reference to Biden out of the topic sentence. That’s because my Joke Maximizer #5 is “Don’t telegraph the punch line.”