Today an Australian police official suggested developing a phone app that would document sexual consent. He said it would be like the website “Go Fund Me” but with two different consonants.
How I wrote it:
I focused on this news item because the two topic handles, “phone app” and “sexual consent,” promised to have enough associations for me to use my Punch Line Maker #1: Link two associations of the topic.
I thought I might link two associations using wordplay, so I brainstormed phone apps to see if a word or syllable in one of their names could be replaced with a word related to “sexual consent.”
I started with the word that’s probably most commonly associated with sex, namely the F-word. Then, for an association of “phone apps,” I thought of the website “Go Fund Me,” which includes a word that half-overlaps the F-word.
But my punch line couldn’t be something as on-the-nose as “He’s calling the app Go [F-word] Me.” That’s because I try to keep my jokes PG-13 rated, and that punch line wouldn’t qualify.
Another problem with that punch line is that I wasn’t sure the audience would connect it with “Go Fund Me.” So that punch line wouldn’t lead to that moment of sudden discovery that helps make a joke funny.
While I was thinking about how to solve those punch line problems, I remembered a (probably apocryphal) anecdote told about actor Jack Nicholson. Supposedly an attractive young woman walked up to Nicholson at a party and asked him if he wanted to dance. Nicholson replied, “Wrong verb.”
That anecdote gave me the idea to write a punch line in which the F-word isn’t stated but instead is just hinted at by a description of one of its features.
I also made sure that the audience would make the connection to “Go Fund Me” by mentioning that website in my angle.