Now there’s a ‘spaceplane’ that flies 25 times faster than the speed of sound. Fantastic! So if a baby is crying in the seat behind you, you won’t be able to hear it.
How I wrote it:
I focused on this news item because both of its handles–“spaceplane” and “flies 25 times faster than the speed of sound”–seemed to have lots of associations that could be linked to create punch lines.
But I didn’t use Punch Line Maker #1, “Link two associations of the topic.” Instead, the vivid image that the topic called to mind pointed me to Punch Line Maker #5–Visualize the topic.
I started by visualizing the interior of a futuristic spaceplane flying 25 times faster than the speed of sound: passengers sleeping, passengers reading, flight attendants walking the aisles, a crying baby…
Then I exaggerated an aspect of that mental picture. Because crying babies make sounds, I imagined that the plane was flying so much faster than the speed of sound that it left behind the noise of that baby I envisioned crying in a neighboring seat. And I had the idea for my punch line.
My last step was to add an angle to guide the audience smoothly from the topic to the punch line. “Fantastic!” leads the audience to expect some benefit of flying in that super-fast plane.
And “So if a baby is crying in the seat behind you” makes the logic of the joke clear; if the crying baby were sitting in front of you instead, you’d be able to hear it. As my Joke Maximizer #4 recommends, “Make everything clear.”