Hillary Clinton is co-writing a mystery novel. She loves mysteries and this one sounds amazing. It’s called, “How the Hell Did Trump Beat Me?”
How I wrote it:
This news item caught my eye because I hadn’t written a Hillary Clinton joke in a while. Plus the other topic handle, “mystery novel,” seemed to have a lot of associations that I might link her to. That is, I thought I could use my Punch Line Maker #1: Link two associations of the topic.
Most associations that Clinton used to have–her pantsuits, her emails, her philandering husband–are now too stale to hang a joke on. But one association is still fresh, years after the presidential election: how she can’t understand why she lost to Trump. So I created a punch line that links that association to an association of “mystery novel,” namely “mystery.”
But writing the joke this way wouldn’t quite work: “Hillary Clinton is co-writing a mystery novel. It’s called, ‘How the Hell Did Trump Beat Me?'” The problem is that the title “How the Hell Did Trump Beat Me” describes a mystery but not the plot of a mystery novel.
To smooth out that bump, I wrote an angle that includes the word “mysteries,” to focus the audience on just the mystery aspect before they arrived at the punch line. But I also added “this one sounds amazing,” to subtly mislead the audience into thinking that I was still describing her novel.
This joke is an example of how to write a political joke that’s unlikely to divide a mass audience. Whether you’re a Clinton fan or not, you’d probably agree that she’s still wondering what went wrong in 2016.