The quarterly revenue of Zoom Video Communications Inc. passed a billion dollars for the first time. Actually, Zoom tried to announce those results yesterday but it was on mute.
How I wrote it:
This news item caught my eye because I quickly realized that the topic handle “Zoom” has the association “being on mute,” which I felt could lead to a punch line. I didn’t think I was the only person who had inadvertently been on mute during a Zoom meeting, so I thought a mass audience would make that association, too.
For a second topic handle I chose the entire news item, associating it with the idea of the revenue results being announced to the world. And I decided to write a punch line that linked those two associations by stating that Zoom tried to announce the revenue results but it was on mute.
While I worked out the final wording of the joke, I kept in mind my Joke Maximizer #4: Make everything clear. For example, I used the full name of the company in the topic sentence instead of just “Zoom.” I thought my audience might not instantly associate the latter with the company that hosts video meetings.
For clarity I also used a plural word, “results,” in the angle instead of a singular word like “news.” That’s because if I used a singular word, the antecedent of the word “it” in the punch line would have been ambiguous.
And I wrote “Zoom tried to announce” in the angle, instead of something like “company officials tried to announce.” That’s because I thought the punch line would be more incongruous if a company were on mute than if people were. And, in general, the more incongruous and surprising a punch line is, the funnier it is.