It’s Mother’s Day. But President Trump told Melania he couldn’t give her a card because the IRS is auditing it.
How I wrote it:
The topic of Mother’s Day drew my focus because holidays tend to have lots of associations that can be used to create punch lines.
To write this joke I used my Punch Line Maker #2: Link the topic to pop culture. The handle “Mother’s Day” is associated with, among other things, “giving a greeting card,” which has the sub-association of “giving a document.”
So I turned to pop culture and brainstormed situations where a celebrity is involved in giving a document. President Trump is much in the news for refusing to hand over his tax returns to Congress, so I decided to base my punch line on that.
But writing the joke like this wouldn’t have made sense: “It’s Mother’s Day. But President Trump is refusing to hand over his Mother’s Day card to Congress.” Trump would give his Mother’s Day card to Melania, not to Congress. And the logic of the joke requires Trump to not give Melania the card.
So I added a reason, based on Trump’s statements about his tax returns, why he might not give Melania a card, arriving at the final version: “But President Trump told Melania he couldn’t give her a card because the IRS is auditing it.”
My Joke Maximizer #4 is “Make everything clear.” This joke shows how to put that into practice as you compose the wording of your angle and punch line.