Today People magazine named actor Michael B. Jordan the Sexiest Man Alive for 2020. Or as Rudy Giuliani put it, “Today People magazine named President Donald J. Trump the Sexiest Man Alive for 2020.”
How I wrote it:
I focused on this news item because I thought “the Sexiest Man Alive” had a lot of associations that could lead to punch lines.
I tried my Punch Line Maker #2–Link the topic to pop culture. “Sexiest Man Alive” (SMA) is such a grandiose title that I immediately thought of linking it to a person in pop culture well-known for self-aggrandizement, Donald Trump. That is, I decided it would be funny to base a punch line on the idea that Trump claimed he was the SMA.
To set up that punch line, I needed an angle that provided a logical reason why Trump would make that claim. He was claiming at that time that he had won the presidential election, so I tried angles based on the idea that there had been voting irregularities in the SMA election.
But ending the joke with something like “President Trump immediately demanded a recount” seemed too on-the-nose. Plus, as soon as the audience heard “President Trump” I thought they might be able to predict the punch line.
Finally it occurred to me to have someone other than Trump declare that Trump was the SMA. The logical candidate for that role was Rudy Giuliani, who had been making outlandish claims about the outcome of the presidential election.
To arrive at the final version of the joke I used my Joke Maximizer #6: “Make the punch line parallel.” I did that by giving Giuliani’s quote the same structure and wording as the topic sentence, down to the inclusion of Trump’s occupation and middle initial.