Today the FDA said to avoid eating cicadas if you’re allergic to seafood. Was that really necessary? Was anybody really looking for a reason not to eat cicadas?
How I wrote it:
When I read the news item about eating cicadas I had the reaction “That’s disgusting.” Having an emotional reaction to a news story is a sign that the story grabbed your interest and therefore could be a good topic for a joke that a mass audience would enjoy.
Soon after I had that emotional reaction, a related question popped into my head: “Who wants to eat cicadas anyway?” Asking oneself an obvious question suggested by the topic is the first step in my Punch Line Maker #6: State the obvious about the topic.
Punch Line Maker #6 isn’t used very often but it seemed like it would work here. So I continued with it and wrote a punch line based on the obvious answer to my obvious question. The obvious answer was “Nobody wants to eat cicadas.”
But wording the joke this way would have been too direct: “Why did they need to say that? Nobody wants to eat cicadas.” So I used my Joke Maximizer #11–Don’t be too on-the-nose–and instead came up with a more indirect way of expressing the same idea in the punch line.
Note that I could have used my Joke Maximizer #6–Make the punch line parallel–and worded the punch line something like “Was anybody really looking for a reason to avoid eating cicadas?” But my Joke Maximizer #4 is “Make everything clear,” and that wording didn’t seem quite as clear as the final version I went with.
Finally, I added the angle “Was that really necessary?” to get the audience into the frame of mind to immediately understand the punch line.