Airing tonight on NBC is the first Democratic presidential debate. Over 20 million people are expected to watch…and those are just the candidates.
How I wrote it:
I picked the debate as a joke topic because it was very much in the news at the time.
I originally worded the topic something like “Tonight is the first Democratic presidential debate.” That topic only has one handle–“Democratic presidential debate”–so I started by brainstorming associations of that.
One fairly obvious association is “there are a lot of Democratic presidential candidates,” which has the sub-association “a lot of people.” To use Punch Line Maker #1–Link two associations of the topic–I also needed a second topic handle which is associated with “a lot of people.”
So I added to the topic a second handle–“airing on NBC”–which has the association “number of viewers” and the sub-association “a lot of people.” Now I could write a punch line based on the shared association “a lot of people.”
I added the angle “Over 20 million people are expected to watch” to guide the joke’s audience smoothly and logically from the topic to the punch line.
I picked the figure “20 million” for the number of candidates because Joke Maximizer #8 advises us to “Wildly exaggerate.” But 20 million also seemed like a plausible size for a debate audience, so using that number would help mislead the audience for the joke into thinking I was referring to TV viewers right up until the surprising laugh trigger, “candidates.”