http://www.theonion.com/content/opinion/im_training_to_ruin_a_marathon

A standard and effective humor formula. If it doesn’t make you laugh, or smirk, it at least makes you follow along appreciatively.

Pick a group-think mode of expression. State a theme at odds with the standards of that community. Repeat the theme with absurd and graphic examples, but be careful to stick to the communities speech habits. Be a newspaper reporter, or a housewife, or angry teenage anorexic. Each time you stress the tension with some wild counter culture idea, it’s a “call-back” to your theme.   A call-back is humorist speak for relating back to a previous idea. The tension must be unexpected – even if it is absurd.  The unexpected badaboom to the setup of the badabing. Frame absurdity up in convention so that people can follow along a normal path of expectations. Follow along a path like following a thread. And when they are led to slide off threads into an unexpected train accident, derailed from expectation, at the point of re-orientation you get the chortle.

That is what the callback is for. To re-orient after the slide off the track.

Orient, disorient, reorient. Mode of expression coupled with offbeat theme, absurd image, aha yes I get it how it all strangely fits. Repeat with absurd callbacks that somehow still fit, and you get a beat. A resonant and captivating beat.

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