Women are leveling charges of sexual harassment against opera superstar Placido Domingo. It looks bad, but to be fair, it ain’t over till the fat lady testifies.
How I wrote it:
This news item attracted my attention because it has a couple of handles with many associations–“sexual harassment” and “opera.”
Because the topic has two good handles, I then turned to Punch Line Maker #1: Link two associations of the topic.
“Sexual harassment” has the association “trial,” which has the sub-association “testify.” And “opera” is associated with the opera-themed proverb “it ain’t over till the fat lady sings.” To link two associations of the topic, I just inserted “testifies” into the proverb.
Once I had my punch line, I reworded the topic using Joke Maximizer #3: Backload the topic. The original news item was “Placido Domingo, Opera Star, to Be Investigated for Sexual Harassment.” I moved Placido Domingo to the end of the topic because I thought it was the information in the topic that was most important to the punch line.
I also added to the topic a reference to women because I thought it would tighten the logical connection between the topic and punch line by hinting that the fat lady is among Domingo’s accusers.
Finally, I added an angle. I included the words “It looks bad, but” so that the joke would be evenhanded when it came to implying whether Domingo is guilty. I wanted to be evenhanded because I didn’t think my audience had made up their minds about the issue.