Next week Random House is publishing the House Intelligence Committee’s report on President Trump. They’ll even have a children’s edition entitled “James and the Giant Impeachment.”
How I wrote it:
The House Intelligence Committee’s report was a top story so I wanted to write a joke about it. And this particular news item about its publication promised to have enough associations that writing a joke wouldn’t be too hard.
I turned to my Punch Line Maker #1: Link two associations of the topic. One handle of the topic, “House Intelligence Committee’s report,” has the association “impeachment.” Another topic handle, “publishing,” has the association “book.”
To link those two associations in a surprising way and come up with a punch line, I brainstormed titles of books that sound like “impeachment.” “Impeachment” sounds kind of like the last word in the title of the children’s book “James and the Giant Peach.” So performing the word substitution gave me my laugh trigger.
Finally, to set up my punch line by getting the audience thinking in the right direction, I wrote an angle that mentioned children’s books.
After I posted this joke on Facebook and Twitter, a friend of mine mentioned that late-night TV’s Stephen Colbert does a comedy segment entitled “Don and the Giant Impeach.” But I’ve never seen it.
Writers of topical jokes often come up with the same or similar jokes independent of one another. Here’s an article I wrote about that phenomenon.