Olympian gymnast Simone Biles and NFL player Jonathan Owens just got engaged. They said they fell head over heels in love, although in Biles’s case it was head over heels over head over heels over head then a double salto layout with a half-twist and she stuck the landing.
How I wrote it:
I thought I could turn this news item into a joke because it offered two topic handles–“Simone Biles” and “got engaged”–each of which has a lot of associations. That meant I could use my Punch Line Maker #1: Link two associations of the topic.
As I brainstormed associations of Biles, I pictured her doing handsprings in one of her floor exercise routines. That mental image suggested the phrase “head over heels.” The phrase probably popped into my head because I was also pondering associations of “got engaged.” One of those associations is “fell in love,” which has the sub-association “head over heels.”
Once I found the link “head over heels,” I realized my punch line could describe Biles performing a floor exercise routine.
Because “head over heels” is an essential part of the joke, I included it in the angle. That way the angle would smoothly and clearly guide the audience from the topic to the punch line.
My Joke Maximizer #9 is “Get specific.” So when I described Biles’s routine I wanted to include a lot of detail; a detailed description would summon up an unexpectedly vivid mental picture in the audience’s mind, increasing the surprise of the punch line.
So I searched online for something like “difficult gymnastics moves.” Eventually I spotted “a double salto layout with a half-twist,” which seemed like the sort of move that might conclude a series of “head-over-heels” handsprings. It’s also, I learned, a move that’s named after Biles. I thought fans of gymnastics might appreciate that extra level of detail, so The Biles went into my punch line.