Tonight one of the brightest stars in the night sky, Betelgeuse, will disappear as an asteroid passes in front of it to produce an eclipse. And this is important: to make the star reappear you’ll have to say “Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse.”
How I wrote it:
This news item caught my attention because “Betelgeuse” immediately called to mind the 1988 movie “Beetlejuice.” So I thought I could pretty easily write a joke using my Punch Line Maker #2: Link the topic to pop culture.
I started by thinking about the details of the news item and also about associations of “Beetlejuice.” I tried to find a pair of elements that I could link to create a punch line.
One prominent detail of the news item was that Betelgeuse would disappear. I associated that with Betelgeuse reappearing, which reminded me that, in the movie, Beetlejuice would appear if you said his name three times. And that gave me the idea for my punch line.
I haven’t seen the movie in many years, so I confirmed online that I was remembering the name repetition ritual correctly.
My Joke Maximizer #3 is “Backload the topic.” Usually that would mean placing the important word “disappear” at the end of the topic. Doing that would have yielded a topic like “Tonight an asteroid will pass in front of one of the brightest stars in the night sky, Betelgeuse, and cause it to disappear.”
But I thought that wording might telegraph the punch line, and my Joke Maximizer #5 advises against that. So I stated the topic the way you see here. I also left in the detail about producing an eclipse to further camouflage the punch line.
Finally, I added “And this is important” to the angle. I thought that phrase would mislead the audience into expecting a serious revelation and in that way would add to the surprise, and funniness, of the silly punch line.