Thieves in Florida stole up to $80,000 in merchandise from a wig warehouse. Police are thoroughly combing through the crime scene because they want the thieves toupee.
How I wrote it:
thought this news item was worth turning into a joke because it’s
attention-getting, an important characteristic for a joke topic. It also has a
couple of handles–“thieves” and “wig”–which have a lot of
associations that can be used to generate punch lines.
I started by brainstorming associations of “wig,” landing on “toupee.” That sounds like “to pay,” which reminded me of sayings like “crime doesn’t pay,” which are associated with the other handle, “thieves.” That’s how I found myself using Punch Line Maker #4: Find a play on words in the topic.
I wanted to end the joke on the “toupee” wordplay because Joke Maximizer #2 advises “End on the laugh trigger.” To do that, the most logical way to word the punch line would be something like “The police want the thieves toupee.”
that punch line seemed to need an angle to set it up better. Plus I wanted to
be sure that anybody hearing (not just reading) the joke would get the wordplay.
And I thought I could work in a second laugh trigger.
So I put some wordplay in the angle too, a second type of wordplay which involves a word with two different meanings. The word, “combing,” is a second link between “thieves” and “wig.”
Some people think wordplay jokes are an inferior type of comedy, but not me. For more on this topic, read my article “Why Do People Not Like Puns?”