24 Transitional Phrases For Joke Writing

A while back I had to write some current event-related jokes. Think opening monologue for Jimmy Kimmel or Weekend Update on SNL. I quickly realized that there was good and bad news when it came to writing this kind of humor.

The good news is that these types of jokes follow a very simple structure: First you introduce the news story, then you transition into something that is often ridiculous and almost always hilarious. That seems easy enough, right? But then there’s the bad news. Writing jokes is not easy. It’s outrageously hard. OK, maybe not outrageously hard, but it’s hard.

To improve things just a bit, I spent a few hours listening to these types of jokes and cataloging their transitional phrases. I was surprised to find that after I while, I started to see the same phrases repeat. That certainly gave me confidence that my final jokes would naturally fit in the genre.

Here are a few examples of jokes I wrote using this system. I’ve highlighted the transitions for extra obviousness.

SkinneePix is a new app that takes up to 15 pounds off your selfie. In related news, the Olsen Twins mysteriously disappeared from all of their Instagram photos.

Medicare this week revealed it pays eye doctors more than any other medical specialist, which is ironic because you’d think we would notice when an eye doctor is screwing us.

A North Carolina man was convicted of assault for sucking on a woman’s toes without her consent. The victim was relieved because the jury almost let him get off.

Beijing artist Liang Kegang was in the news this week for selling a jar of French mountain air for $860. Said the man who won the auction, (Holds a pretend jar, breathes in deeply, then speaks with a “druggie” affection) “…so worth it.”

Apple helped solve a burglary case this week when its customer service recognized the serial number of a stolen laptop and alerted the owner via email. Apple fans responded by being even more pretentious & holier-than-thou.

Remember, the transitions themselves aren’t funny. They are just a starting place so you don’t have to stare at a few intro lines (those are easy to write) while attempting to will yourself into writing an LOL punchline.

Here are the transitional phrases in all their glory. Please enjoy my hard work and benefit from it as much as you can.

  1. …unless, of course…
  2. …said (name of famous person), “Make up a quote here.”
  3. …”Make up a quote here,” said (name of inanimate object).
  4. …which is a shame/ironic/interesting/curious because…
  5. …which is good news for…
  6. …in related news…
  7. …If true, that would also mean (crazy other thing).
  8. …I’d say, “(Unexpected way of explaining situation).”
  9. …as opposed to…
  10. …not to be confused with…
  11. …they’re outraged that (unusual thing to be outraged about).
  12. …because (reason), PLUS (reason).
  13. …this according to (name of unexpected person or object).
  14. …meanwhile…
  15. …so get ready (story person or outsider) because I’m going to (do something ridiculous).
  16. …for example, (ridiculous example).
  17. …(So and so) called it “(normal phrase),” while (some unexpected person) called it (not what you would expect).
  18. …and then (something) and then (something more) and then (something even more) and then (something even more that finishes it up).
  19. …he’s being charged with (insert wordplay here).
  20. …amazingly by (something or someone amazing).
  21. …so it sounds like…
  22. …not to be outdone (someone else did something crazier due to whacky logic).
  23. …half (believe something) and the other half (believe something even more ridiculous).
  24. …and no one was more upset about it than (unexpected celebrity).

Want to write some jokes? Add them in the comments!


~ by SFcopywriter on June 20, 2014.

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