Jokes And Riddles  How To Write ThemJokes And Riddles How To Write Them

Just listening to or reading jokes and riddles may "wake up" your brain, but it is creating them that really exercises your brainpower. The process requires you to use both logical and lateral thinking skills. How do you do it, then?

Jokes and riddle don't come to mind randomly. In fact, after watching how many comedians create their routines, I am convinced that they use what I call "humor algorithms," even if they do so unconsciously. You can learn to do the same, but consciously, and as an interesting brain exercise.

Joke And Riddle Algorithms

One systematic and creative humor algorithm involves starting with a word or a subject, and then fitting it into various joke and riddle "types." For an example, I'll start with "chair." (I really am doing this as I write, so forgive the weak humor that is sure to result.)

The first thing I do is systematically think of all the types of chairs I can, and write them down. After that, I write down a few types of jokes, such as "puns," "misdirection," "differences," and "similarities." As I do this, it occurs to me that an electric chair might have the most potential for humor (all serious things do). Here is what I could come up with in thirteen minutes:

Differences: What is the difference between a toilet and a chair? I'm sorry, but if you don't know, I can't invite you over to my house!

Misdirection: Why did Charlie hate the chair they gave him for his birthday? Because they gave him the electric chair!

Similarities: What does my dog have in common with a chair? He has four legs and an IQ of zero.

Pun: Why did the customer at the motor vehicles department start rearranging seats after waiting for hours? Because he was the "chair-man of the bored."

Writing humor isn't necessarily easy, but it is great brain exercise. Whether it is easy or not, by using these "algorithms," anyone can write jokes and riddles. Why not give it a try?

by Steven Gillman
References and Bibliography

Steve Gillman has been studying brainpower and related topics for years. For more humor algorithms, visit the page on writing Jokes and Riddles, and get the Brain Power Newsletter at:

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