Singer Madonna revealed that she has coronavirus antibodies. She says she has no idea how she caught the coronavirus, and neither does her latest lover, a Chinese horseshoe bat.
How I wrote it:
When I read that Madonna had said something about having a disease I immediately thought about her having contracted it by having sex with somebody. That’s because I’ve been writing Madonna-is-promiscuous jokes since well before she published her coffee-table book “Sex” in 1992.
So I gravitated toward my Punch Line Maker #3, asking myself this question: “How did Madonna get the coronavirus from sex?”
To answer that question, I brainstormed associations of the topic handle “coronavirus” and arrived at “it came from a bat.” I thought that association provided a sufficiently surprising answer to my question so I made it the basis of my punch line.
But this version of the joke would have been too on-the-nose: “Singer Madonna revealed that she has coronavirus antibodies. She says she got them by having sex with a bat.” To boost the funniness of the punch line, I added an angle implying that the source of Madonna’s infection is a complete mystery. That way when the punch line reveals an obvious source the surprise is heightened.
In editing my laugh trigger, I used my Joke Maximizer #9: Get specific. I researched the specific type of bat that has been found to carry the coronavirus and used that name instead of the generic “bat.”
Adding “Chinese horseshoe” to “bat” makes the joke clearer too, because “bat” could also refer to a baseball bat.