LAUGH LINES : Punchlines

In the news: The American Medical Assn.'s support for the Republicans' Medicare reform plan makes sense, says comedy writer Alex Pearlstein: "The two groups grew close after doctors removed every GOP candidate's heart before the last election."

In Janet Jackson's new video, the singer is wearing a chain connecting her nose ring to her earring. How come? Premiere Morning Sickness explains: "Apparently she's being cautious because noses have been known to disappear in her family."

A passenger flight from Newark, N.J., to Detroit diverted to Cleveland after the jet's cockpit filled with smoke. Comedy writer Jerry Perisho says officials denied that it was marijuana smoke or that the autopilot tried to take the plane to the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.

Egyptian censors have complained that Israel has been attempting to corrupt Egypt's morals with explicit magazines and videos. Comedy writer Dave Margolis says it seems to be working. "Just last week a woman was seen in Cairo wearing a Wonder Veil."

Half a million French public-sector employees are on strike, upset with the hostile, impersonal working environment. Says comedy writer Alan Ray, "They say management treats them like Americans."

Comic Jenny Church notes that GOP presidential candidate Pat Buchanan has called for an end to legalized gambling. "Except for one ridiculous long shot he wants everybody to bet on: him."

Dr. Joyce Brothers was in a dog-sled accident in Alaska. Says comedy writer Steve Tatham, "When fighting broke out among the dogs, Brothers tried to talk them through the issues. But they dumped her off the sled when she announced her fee."

Several Southern California cemeteries are being investigated for reselling occupied grave sites. Comedy writer Charlie Reinke says recycling plots is an old L.A. tradition: "They're called sequels."

Kenny Noble congratulates Lorena Bobbitt for turning down ex-hubby John Wayne's reconciliation offer. "She's like a good carpenter: She measured twice, cut once."


Cirque du O.J.: Trial second-guessers still can't believe Marcia Clark didn't introduce the Bronco chase, says comic Argus Hamilton. "There was damning evidence on tape, like when O.J. told Al Cowlings he meant Costa Rica, not Costa Mesa. "

* Hamilton adds that the Betty Ford Center offers help for O.J. trial addicts. "The withdrawal is brutal. They take you down with a few hours of 'Perry Mason' each day until you're tapered off and able to live your own life."

* Writer Gary Easley says O.J. has been dominating the tabloids so completely that Elvis has hired a new publicist.


Susan Carrier of San Gabriel says that when her neighbors Yoji and Taeko Sakata took their sons to Mt. Rushmore, 4-year-old Akira was thrilled when a park ranger introduced herself.

"Did you hear that, Mommy?" he asked. "She says she's a Power Ranger!"

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