Today Pfizer said it will add a production facility for its antiviral Covid-19 pill in France. Is that a good idea? If you’re making a pill that gives you back your sense of smell, do you really want to do that in France?
How I wrote it:
I chose this news item to base a joke on because it has two handles–“Covid-19” and “France”–that seemed to have enough associations. Plus I asked myself why Pfizer might think that France was a good place to make pills that fight Covid-19.
That question pointed me toward my Punch Line Maker #1: Link two associations of the topic. As I brainstormed associations of “Covid-19” and “France,” I tried to think of how to link them in a way that would explain Pfizer’s decision.
One association of “Covid-19” is “lose your sense of smell.” And one association of “France” is “smelly,” thanks to its reputation for stinky cheeses and infrequent bathing. So I decided to create a punch line stating that Pfizer’s decision was somehow connected to the smelliness of the French.
To figure out the wording of the punch line, I worked out an underlying logic: Because the French are perceived as smelly, you wouldn’t want a sense of smell if you were in France. But Pfizer’s pill would give back the sense of smell to people in France with Covid-19. So maybe building that pill facility in France isn’t a good idea.
Shortening and tidying up that chain of logic gave me my angle and punch line. As I edited, I obeyed my Joke Maximizer #11: Don’t be too on-the-nose. The final punch line doesn’t state directly that the French are smelly, as this version does: “If you make a pill that gives you back your sense of smell, then more people will have to smell the stinky French.”