This week Disney announced that its theme park employees will have a more flexible dress code. And it’s about time. Finally, animation fans can go Donald Duck-style: no pants.
How I wrote it:
I gravitate toward news stories about Disney for joke writing because the topic has so many well-known associations that can be used to create a punch line.
Here I used my Punch Line Maker #1: Link two associations of the topic. The first topic handle, “Disney,” is associated with all the Disney characters. The other topic handle, “more flexible dress code,” is associated with unusual wardrobe choices.
To link the two associations, I brainstormed Disney characters who have made unusual wardrobe choices. Donald Duck, who wears no pants, seemed funny. So I decided to base my punch line on him and end the joke with “Donald Duck-style: no pants.”
But following the topic with something like this seemed a little weak: “Is that a good idea? What if animation fans want to go Donald Duck-style: no pants?”
Instead, I thought the joke would be stronger with an angle that leads the audience to expect that the new dress code will result in something good. That way the final image of human employees walking around pantsless would be more surprising, and therefore funnier. So I came up with the angle “And it’s about time. Finally…”
I ended the joke on “no pants” because my Joke Maximizer #2 advises, “End on the laugh trigger.” “Pants” is a funny word because of two characteristics: It’s short, with only one syllable. And it has two stop consonants, “P” and “T.” The humor potential of “pants” was undoubtedly a factor leading Dave Letterman to include it in the name of his production company, Worldwide Pants.