Inside The Creative Mind of a Joke Writer

The World’s Greatest Book of Chicken Jokes…And Other Fowl Humor, by my friend Sol Morrison from Santa Barbara, is not only a fun joke book but it can also be used as an excellent text book.  He has a gift of being able to see the funny twist to create humorous connections.  Sol, by the way, was one of two people who started me in comedy improv.  I played with him in the Santa Barbara Improv Troupe for four years.

At first glance, when you think “Chicken Jokes” you think of punch lines answering the question:  Why did the chicken cross the road?  For Sol, that question is just the starting point.  He is great at switching, substituting and reversing to get fresh angles for jokes.

In writing The World’s Greatest Chicken Jokes, Sol took on the challenge of not including a line he had seen or heard before, and kept to the discipline of creating his own, original humor lines.  In fact, he created over 2000 lines, and about 1000 of them are included in the book.

“I approach humor as a scientific experiment,” Sol tells us.  “I change only ONE element, and then see where it takes me.”

For example, take:  Why did the chicken cross the road? 
Switch that to:
Why did the chicken cross the picket line?
Why did the chicken cross the park?
Why did the chicken cross the dance floor?
Get the idea?

Then you look for more places to do some switching:
Why did the cat cross the road?
Why did the politician cross the road?
Why did the astronaut cross the road?
This could be switched to other animals, occupations, specific people, etc.
You start opening new windows of opportunity for humor.
This is Sol’s technique for brainstorming which he calls Brain-Blasting.

“For example,” Sol tells us, “it might lead you to:
Why did the lion cross the road?  To get to the other pride.
Why did Hugh Hefner cross the road?  To get to the other bride.”

Then Sol suggests exploring the NEGATIVE:
Why DIDN’T the chicken cross the road?  Because she was chicken. (blame that line on me!)

Then Sol recommends to start switching using a basic journalism technique:
Why did the chicken cross the road?  Becomes…
When did the chicken cross the road?
Where did the chicken cross the road?
How did the chicken cross the road?
Who did the chicken cross the road with?
What happened when the chicken crossed the road?
Sol suggests that “you approach it is if you were interviewing the chicken!”  Great idea.
The book gives you hundreds of examples of where this type of thinking can take you.

And there’s more!  Next switch for other “chicken” words:
Why did the chick cross the road?
Why did the egg cross the road?
Why did the hen cross the road?
They he takes this thinking one step further with a section on:
Why did the Hen-ny Youngman cross the road?

Next try a switch by adding an adjective:
Why did the rubber chicken cross the road?
Why did the spring chicken cross the road?
Why did the fried chicken cross the road?

In the book he uses the vehicle of a Top-Ten List to answer:
Why did the chicken double-cross the road?
And he comes up with twists like…
To make it a road more traveled.

He features a Cock-A-Doodle-Do matching game making connections like:
Milkman — Cock-A-Doodle-Moo
Classical Pianist — Bach-A-Doodle-Doo
He has a long list.

You’ll also enjoy the original cartoons featured throughout the book:
Receptionist in a doctor’s waiting room looking at a chicken and an egg.
“Who came first?”

And there’s a Humpty Dumpty section, a rhyming section, around-the-world humor, and more.

The World’s Greatest Book of Chicken Jokes is a joke book.  But it’s more than that.  Besides making you laugh…and groan…it will give you an inside look at what makes a humor writer’s mind tick.  It will give you insights on how you can switch, substitute and reverse elements of a joke to create your own fresh connections and humor lines.  “To get to the other side” isn’t the end of the joke…it’s just the beginning!

To quote Dr E.E. Giblet, Professor of English, Stanford University:  “Humor aside, taken purely as an exercise in wildly creative writing, Chicken Jokes…is a testament to the extraordinary malleability of the English Language.”

The book sells for $9.95 plus $2.00 shipping (CA residents add sales tax) and is available from publisher Phil Morrison: 
piano88print@sbcglobal.net.
Jester Books
3 Monte Vista Road
Orinda CA 94563