Released from prison after only nine years, O. J. Simpson has now joined Twitter. That makes sense. O. J. loves short sentences.
How I wrote it:
This topic caught my eye because both handles–“O. J. Simpson” and “Twitter”–seemed to have enough associations that could be linked to form a punch line.
I know well how many associations O. J. Simpson has because I used many of them to write jokes for “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” during O. J.’s “Trial of the Century” 25 years ago. So another reason I latched onto this topic was because I thought it would be fun to take a shot at O. J. again, like old times.
One challenge I had was deciding on an association of O. J. that most people would agree with. Today’s mass audience might not even remember Judge Ito, the white Ford Bronco, and the bloody glove.
So I brainstormed on Twitter instead, and its short sentences came to mind. The words “short sentence” also have a meaning associated with O. J.: I thought most people would accept the idea that he should have done more prison time for the double homicide. So I used Punch Line Maker #4–Find a play on words in the topic–to link “O. J. Simpson” to “Twitter.”
The final steps in writing the joke were to add an efficient angle–“That makes sense. O. J. loves…”–and to mention “only nine years” in the topic, to highlight the second meaning of “short sentence” and make the joke clear.
It’s a good thing O.J. got released before Thanksgiving. He’s the only one who could carve the white meat.
I think that joke is structured perfectly but a mass audience might feel too uncomfortable to laugh at it because your punch line would graphically call to their minds the grisly details of the murders.
Writing jokes about tragedies is tricky, but possible. My book tells how.