LawProse Lesson #241: The Timing of a Joke.
The Timing of a Joke. Should you be able to tell a joke? Sure, if you’re a rhetorician. It’s all about wording and timing. It’s also about understanding that the punch word must come toward the end of a phrase. Here’s a nine-word joke in which the listener’s mind is caught for a moment on the fifth word, but it’s the switcheroo with the eighth word where the humor comes in. The joke is meant only for those with a decent vocabulary. (Oh dear, this is the cardinal sin of explaining a joke.) Here goes: Anyone who believes in telekinesis please raise my hand. The point about putting the punch word at the end is well illustrated by one of the funniest tweets to have been posted in recent months. Here’s what it said:
There was this man sitting in a café, not on his iPhone, not on his iPad, just sipping coffee, like a psychopath.
The best posting among thousands of responses:
Did you alert the authorities?