Today the Prime Minister of Japan confirmed that spectators will be banned from all Olympics events in Tokyo. He also introduced a new Olympics mascot: Hello Kitty’s antisocial cousin, Goodbye Kitty.
How I wrote it:
This news item got my attention because it was a pretty big story. It also seemed to offer topic handles that had enough associations to use in my Punch Line Maker #1: Link two associations of the topic.
One topic handle is “Tokyo Olympics,” which has the association “mascot.” Another topic handle is “spectators banned,” which has the association “unwelcome.”
So I decided to devise a punch line by linking those associations to create an unwelcoming mascot for the Tokyo Olympics.
Tokyo, for me, has the association “Hello Kitty.” An unwelcoming version of Hello Kitty would be a mascot named Goodbye Kitty. And I had the basis of my punch line.
But I wanted to use my Joke Maximizer #4: “Make everything clear.” Specifically, I didn’t want a wording for the joke something like, “He also introduced a new Olympics mascot, Goodbye Kitty.” That’s because I thought that wording would make it too hard for the audience to make the mental connections from the punch line back to the topic handles. And if the audience doesn’t make those connections, they’ll be puzzled and they won’t laugh.
So I added a mention of Hello Kitty to the punch line, to make the connection between Goodbye Kitty and Tokyo clearer.
I also added “antisocial,” to clarify the connection between Goodbye Kitty and “spectators banned.”
And I made sure to use a version of the topic that includes the word “banned.” Other versions of the news headline that I read, like “Tokyo Olympic venues won’t have spectators,” didn’t convey the antisocial aspect that I needed to clarify my “Goodbye Kitty” punch line.