Today Egypt unearthed more than 100 mummies, including priests and high-ranking officials dating back more than 2,500 years. Archaeologists identified the mummies by asking Joe Biden if he recognized anybody.
How I wrote it:
As soon as I read this news item I thought “there has to be a joke in here about some famous person being really old.” That is, I gravitated toward my Punch Line Maker #2: Link the topic to pop culture.
To use that Punch Line Maker, you start by identifying a handle of the topic, like “mummies.” Then you brainstorm a list of associations of that handle and think of entities in pop culture that those associations also relate to.
In this case, I linked “mummies” to the association “really old,” then linked that association to “Joe Biden,” who became the basis of my punch line.
But I didn’t want my punch line to be something too direct, like “Archaeologists said the mummies were as old as Joe Biden.” That would have violated my Joke Maximizer #11: Don’t be too on-the-nose.
Instead, I implied that Biden was 2,500 years old by stating that he knew personally some of the people who were mummified.
Although the joke doesn’t strictly need it, I left in the detail about “priests and high-ranking officials” because those seemed like the sorts of people Biden would have schmoozed with back then. So that detail made the connection between the topic and the punch line even smoother and more logical.
I obeyed my Joke Maximizer #3–Backload the topic–by ending the topic on “2,500 years.” That’s information that my old-age punch line depends on.
Is a joke about Joe Biden’s advanced age too hacky? Not yet, I decided. But I look forward to him accumulating even more generally-accepted associations that I can use for making jokes.