Syracuse University suspended 23 students for breaking rules against large gatherings during the pandemic. In their defense, the students were playing that new drinking game–Hydroxychloroquine Pong.
How I wrote it:
I decided to write a joke about this story because several news outlets covered it. Plus the topic handles “students” and “pandemic” seemed to have many potentially useful associations.
I used my Punch Line Maker #1: Link two associations of the topic. “Students,” especially in the context of college gatherings, is associated in my mind with Beer Pong.
“Pandemic” is associated with “hydroxychloroquine,” which at one point was touted as a possible treatment for Covid-19. I was pleased that the word has four stop consonants; my Joke Maximizer #7 is “Use stop consonants, alliteration, and assonance.” Substituting “hydroxychloroquine” for “beer” links the two associations and creates the punch line.
To set up the punch line effectively I used my Joke Maximizer #4: Make everything clear; I did that by including the phrase “drinking game,” so the meaning of the punch line would be immediately apparent. Is hydroxychloroquine, in fact, something you drink, like beer? Or is it a pill? I didn’t bother to check, because I didn’t think my audience would know or care.
I made sure to include “during the pandemic” in the topic, so that the connection of the topic to hydroxychloroquine would be even clearer. And I used my Joke Maximizer #3‑‑Backload the topic‑‑putting that phrase at the end of the topic so it would be closer to the punch line that relies on it.