Soon you’ll be able to buy vodka made with grain and water from Chernobyl. Even better, you’ll be able to drink twice as much with your two heads.
How I wrote it:
The original news headline I saw was “Scientists make radioactivity-free vodka from Chernobyl.” That headline has three possible handles–radioactivity-free, vodka, and Chernobyl–so my first task was to pick which two handles to try to base a joke on.
I chose the handles “vodka” and “Chernobyl” because “radioactivity-free” didn’t seem as though it would have as many clear associations.
Then I turned to Punch Line Maker #1: Link two associations of the topic. One association of “vodka” is “drinking it.” One association of “Chernobyl” is “strong radiation,” which has the sub-association “grow extra body parts.” My punch line links two associations by stating that you could drink twice as much if you had an extra head.
Once I had a punch line that worked, I edited the original news headline to arrive at the final version of my joke topic. I trimmed away the distracting element “radioactivity-free” because Joke Maximizer #1 is “Shorten as much as possible.”
But I included the detail “with grain and water,” taken from the body of the news story, to add credibility to the topic, because a good joke topic must strike the audience as factually true.
Would drinking radioactive vodka really make you grow a second head? No, but that’s okay because Joke Maximizer #8 is “Wildly exaggerate.”