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Riddles and Puzzles
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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 about themselves."

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 chair!

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 house!

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 for more.


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Make Them Laugh

Imagine being the life of the party - the one everyone turns to for a great joke or comedy routine. Or what if you were an expert on writing jokes and riddles? Would you like that?

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