Recently Southern California was rocked by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake. The good news is, as a 7.1, it’s unlikely that President Trump would grope it.
How I wrote it:
I focused on this topic because it was a big news story and it had a couple of handles–“Southern California” and “earthquake”–with a lot of associations.
At first I considered using Punch Line Maker #1–Link two associations of the topic. But I had recently used that technique to write a joke about actor Jussie Smollett’s reaction to an earthquake.
So instead I turned to Punch Line Maker #2–Link the topic to pop culture–and to a different topic handle, “7.1.” As I brainstormed associations of “7.1,” it occurred to me that some people rate the physical attractiveness of women on a scale of 1 to 10.
Turning to pop culture, I asked myself who my audience would associate with assigning numerical ratings to women, and President Trump came to mind. He’s made no secret of the fact that a woman’s attractiveness is important to him.
So the basis of my punch line became President Trump treating the earthquake as a fairly attractive woman, i.e., a 7.1.
I could have worded the punch line something like, “A 7.1. Or as President Trump would say, ‘fairly attractive.'” But instead I used Joke Maximizer #8–“Wildly exaggerate.” I implied that our President is so obsessed with attractiveness ratings that he’d even consider groping an earthquake.