Structure of Humor, & Humorous 1-liner Jokes - NLP Article

Most jokes of the well-known "One-Liner" form come from taking a well-known, oft-heard cliche, and considering what ambiguities can be found within the sounds of the words, or what other meanings can be made from the words themselves.

And then once ambiguities are found, or other meanings are found, you then build up the joke around the punchline, in reverse, setting up the ambiguity. So I challenge you to do the same. It doesn't have to be "great," it only matters that you play with the exercise. Ambiguities breed mental flexibility and acuity, which helps in everything else we do.

For example, let's take:

"killing two birds with one stone"

"One stone" could also be heard as "one's tone."

And since I'm a bear for tonality... and irresistible voices... what if you make the ambiguity about bad tonality killing birds.

Maybe you caught another one in that last phrase, too... :)

OK, so let's see... if a guy with bad tonality speaks to birds in a pet shop and they die, that covers the "alternative" meaning of the phrase. How do I set it up so that the primary meaning is also covered?

(1st cut) How about:

A man whose voice annoyed all his friends was told to buy a pet bird that could imitate him, and give him some real-time vocal feedback. But he also was told that birds are sensitive to sound, so he went into a pet shop to find out if his voice could be improved by talking to birds, and to determine how sensitive birds might be to his grating voice. The pet store owner directed the man over to the bird cages, and upon listening to the man, two parrots went berserk, then promptly keeled over & died. "Wow," thought the owner... "that's really killing two birds with one's tone."

Now it's your turn. Come up with a better one for "killing two birds with one stone" (I'm sure they're out there)... or for another cliche!

Oh, also, watch out for those bad-tonality killing-birds.

In Roswell, GA, a few years back, I visited a pet store to pick up some dog food, for my neighbor. And there's a bird that they display in a cage outside this door of the store. It's parked when you enter, and it's trained to say "goodbye" and "come back soon" and "have a nice day" when you walk out this door. Makes for a great laugh. And it had pretty good tonality, too, for a bird.

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