Write Jokes and Riddles as Mental Exercise
Hearing or reading funny jokes and good 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. Jokes don't come randomly. In fact,
after watching how comedians create their routines, I am convinced
that they use what I call "humor algorithms," even
if they do so unconsciously. You can do the same thing as an
interesting brain exercise.
Joke and Riddle Algorithms
One such algorithm involves simply choosing any behavior or
policy, and taking it to an extreme. It is a good one for producing
political humor. For example, if you hear about a new law that
says people have to wear a helmet when on a motorcycle, you can
take the principle of the government making personal safety decisions
to the extreme. You might end up with the following news clip
from the near future:
"The Twinkie Squad has arrested thirteen people this
week for illegal possession and consumption of unhealthy food.
Police say it came after an investigation into a ring of junk
food dealers which may result in more arrests. Seven of the suspects
have plead guilty and agreed to attend "safe eater"
classes in order to avoid jail time. Meanwhile, the county self-esteem
police have cited fifteen people for making disparaging remarks
Another humor algorithm involves looking at the differences
between things. In fact, in it's simplest form, it goes like
this: "What is the difference between (blank) and (blank)."
Pick two things and see if you can find a funny difference. For
example, what is the difference between the movie "Alien"
and a mirror? The mirror is scarier for some people. Of course
you could insert someone's name there.
(Sorry if the humor is weak. I really am doing this exercise
as I am writing. This keeps it realistic, and you might get discouraged
if you had to compare your new jokes to my worked-on-for-hours
jokes. Okay, maybe they aren't any better.)
Create New Jokes and Riddles
A systematic and creative humor algorithm is to start
with a word or a subject, and then fit it into various joke and
riddle "types." I'll start with "chair."
(Again, I really am doing this as I write, so forgive the weak
humor that is sure to result.)
First I systematically think of all the types of chairs, and
write them down. Then I write down a few types of jokes, like
"puns," "misdirection," "differences,"
and "similarities." 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:
Misdirection: Why didn't Charlie like the chair they
gave him for his birthday? Because they gave him the electric
Similarities: What does a chair have in common with
my dog? Four legs and an IQ of zero.
Differences: What's the difference between a chair
and a toilet? If you don't know, I can't invite you over to my
Pun: Why did one of the customers at the motor vehicles
department start rearranging seats after waiting for hours? Because
he was the "chair-man of the bored."
You may think you can't write jokes or riddles, but you can
if you use these "algorithms." It isn't easy, but it
is great brain exercise. Don't forget that here are jokes as
well as funny and difficult riddles on the site. Visit the Riddles and Puzzles Index