The schedule is now set for Inauguration Day. And this is interesting: at the exact same time that Chief Justice John Roberts will be swearing in Joe Biden, Donald Trump will be swearing at Joe Biden.
How I wrote it:
I wanted to write a joke about the upcoming inauguration because it was a big story. But many aspects of it seemed unpromising for joke writing: the attack on the Capitol, the increased security, the possibility of additional violence.
So I brainstormed about the inauguration process itself. One of the associations that popped into my head was “swearing in,” and then its wordplay with “swearing at.” And I realized that my punch line could have Trump swearing at Biden.
That is, I only had a general idea of what my joke topic would be when I used my Punch line Maker #4–Find a play on words in the topic. And I still needed to write the topic.
The “swearing in / swearing at” wordplay suggested two events happening at the same time. So I wrote a topic that referred to the schedule for Inauguration Day.
Once I had that topic, I wrote an angle that emphasized the surprising nature of the coincidence I had invented: the two events will happen “at the exact same time.” A more surprising punch line is a funnier punch line.
I also used my Joke Maximizer #6–Make the punch line parallel–when I worded the Roberts/Biden part of the joke as much as possible like the Trump/Biden part. The parallelism would have been closer without the words “Chief Justice,” but I included them for clarity.