According to U.S. officials, Osama bin Laden’s son is believed to be dead. Bad timing for him: He had just gotten into USC as an elite rower.
How I wrote it:
Jokes about death can be tricky because the subject can bring out negative emotions in an audience that make it hard for them to laugh. But I figured a joke about the death of the future leader of Al Qaeda wouldn’t summon too many negative emotions.
To create this joke I gravitated toward Punch Line Maker #2: Link the topic to pop culture. I focused on the topic handle “Osama bin Laden’s son” and its association in my mind with “privileged child of somebody infamous.”
Then I thought about other privileged children of infamous people and settled on actress Lori Loughlin’s daughter, who had been admitted to USC after she fraudulently claimed she was an elite rower.
That example of USC’s crooked admissions process seemed like a fun connection to make so it became the basis of my punch line. But I made USC the focus of the punch line instead of Lori Loughlin’s daughter because I felt the audience would feel more comfortable laughing at the former.
The angle for the joke came last. Natural angles to consider for a topic like this are “The good news is…” and “The bad news is…” but neither of those fit logically into the joke. So I avoided any logic problem by adding the angle “Bad timing for him.”