Police in Montenegro say they’ve seized over 1 ton of cocaine hidden in a shipment of bananas. Police became suspicious when they read the new book, “Curious George Joins the Sinaloa Cartel.”
How I wrote it:
This news item seemed like a promising topic for a joke because its two handles–“1 ton of cocaine” and “bananas”–each seemed to have enough associations to link into a punch line.
I used my Punch Line Maker #3: Ask a question about the topic. The natural question to me was “Who would smuggle a ton of cocaine in bananas?”
To answer that question, I used associations of the two topic handles. “1 ton of cocaine” is associated with “drug kingpin.” “Bananas” is associated with “monkey,” which is associated in turn with famous monkeys.
I looked up a list of famous monkeys online and Curious George caught my eye. The idea of making Curious George a drug kingpin seemed funny, so that idea became the basis of my punch line.
But deciding how to word that idea took some work. I needed a simple way to make Curious George a drug kingpin. I looked up the names of well-known drug kingpins. Was Curious George the new business partner of El Chapo? Or did the police suspect a new drug kingpin, Curious “El Chapo” George?
I finally decided that the clearest and most natural scenario would have Curious George getting in trouble while participating in some activity, the way he did in his books. But this time the activity would be drug smuggling. So that’s what his new book, and my punch line, would be about.
Instead of just naming the new book something like “Curious George Smuggles Drugs,” I used my Joke Maximizer #9–Get specific–and named a specific cartel.
“Police became suspicious when” is an angle that I’ve used before. It sometimes comes in handy when I’m writing a crime-related joke.