It’s almost Easter, and for a lot of people that means Marshmallow Peeps. There are marshmallow bunnies, marshmallow chicks, and new this year for Covid–marshmallow bats.
How I wrote it:
I wanted to write a joke about Easter because the holiday, two days away, was in a lot of people’s minds. Plus the topic of Easter is only relevant once a year, so I try to take advantage of it when I can.
To write this joke I used my Punch Line Maker #2: Link the topic to pop culture. I started by brainstorming associations of the topic handle “Easter,” landing on “Marshmallow Peeps.”
That candy has sub-associations which are the animal shapes it comes in, like bunny and chick. And those animal shapes called to mind something that is not mentioned in the topic but which is also associated with animals–the coronavirus.
So I created a punch line that links Easter with another cultural phenomenon, Covid-19, by means of a Peep shaped like an animal linked to the coronavirus–a bat.
To be sure the audience would quickly grasp the significance of the bat in the punch line, I made sure to also mention Covid.
I also made the punch line more effective with my Joke Maximizer #10: Use the Rule of Three; “marshmallow bats” is the third in a list of Peep varieties.
After I posted this joke online, somebody informed me that actual bat-shaped Peeps used to be available for purchase. Anybody in my audience who had known that probably would have found the punch line less surprising and, therefore, less funny.
If I had heard beforehand about the real bat Peeps I might have also used my Joke Maximizer #9–Get specific–and added to the surprise with a more detailed punch line like “marshmallow horseshoe bats.”