The Reverse

This technique, so popular in other forms of humor writing, surprises us when we take a topsy-turvy look at the world. This can work either as a visual, as a verbal, or as a combination of both. As a visual, an example would be two horses playing horseshoes with a set of human shoes. As a verbal it's a standard scene:

Woman talking to friend: "I like sex in the morning—right after Bill goes to work."

As a combination, the reverse works like this:

MC introducing beautiful girl to reunion dinner party: "And now for the award to our former classmate who's changed the most since graduation. You may remember her better as Ed Furgeson." —V. M. Yels

A frequent reverse formula is to take a verbal cliché and apply new visual interruptions. "Darling, they're playing our song" is a straight line when it's a caption under a picture of a couple dancing. It becomes a reverse when the illustration shows a stout couple on a luxury liner hearing the steward strike the dinner bell. It also works (without the word darling) when one mechanic shouts it to another as two cars smash into each other just outside of their garage.

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