Cosmetics maker Revlon has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Actually, instead of just going with Chapter 11, it used its own Volumazing Mascara and filed for Chapter 11111111111.
How I wrote it:
I focused on this news item because the topic handle “Chapter 11” has let me write some good jokes in the past. Plus the other topic handle, “Revlon,” is associated with lots of cosmetic products that I thought I could link to an association of Chapter 11 to create a punch line.
I used a technique I don’t use very often, Punch Line Maker #5: Visualize the topic. To do that, I paid attention to how the words “Chapter 11” actually look. Then I thought of things that resemble the two short, straight lines of “11.”
At the same time, I ran a list of Revlon cosmetic products through my mind. I thought of mascara, then a sub-association, eyelashes. It occurred to me that “11” looks like sparse eyelashes. And I had the idea for my punch line.
I decided on “Chapter 11111111111” as the laugh trigger because I thought the series of ones resembled enhanced eyelashes. I realized that, with that laugh trigger, the joke would probably only work in print, not if delivered orally. But I was okay with that.
To make the punch line clear–per my Joke Maximizer #4–I repeated “Chapter 11” in the angle. That way the audience would have that image at the top of their mind when they saw the punch line.
And I employed my Joke Maximizer #9–Get specific–by using the real name of a Revlon mascara. I was glad to see “volumazing” in the name, because it conveys the idea of “making bigger,” which helps the audience understand why the “11” turned into “11111111111.”