Scientific American magazine endorsed Joe Biden, the first time they’ve endorsed a presidential candidate in their 175-year history. Biden said he was thrilled, especially because he’s been a loyal subscriber since the first issue.
How I wrote it:
I focused on this news item because it was widely reported in the media and because the topic handles “Scientific American” and “Joe Biden” seemed to have enough associations to produce a joke.
But then another handle of the topic caught my eye: “175-year history.” I decided to use my Punch Line Maker #1–Link two associations of the topic–when I realized that I could link “175-year history” to the handle “Joe Biden” with a punch line based on their shared association “old.”
But my Joke Maximizer #11 is “Don’t be too on-the-nose,” and a punch line like this would have been too direct: “They endorsed him because he’s as old as they are.” So instead I wrote a punch line that makes the same point in a more indirect way.
To ensure that the punch line would be clear, I put “magazine” in the topic. That way when the audience hears “the first issue” they’re not confused, because I’ve mentioned that Scientific American is a magazine, instead of a TV show or something.
I also adhered to my Joke Maximizer #3, “Backload the topic,” by putting “175-year history” at the end of my topic sentence. That way the phrase would be fresh in the minds of the audience when the punch line requires them to realize what “the first issue” implies about Biden’s age.
This is an example of a political joke that’s unlikely to split a general audience because it hinges on an indisputable fact–Biden is old for a presidential candidate– instead of an opinion.