New Joke Contest — State Slogans

September 1st, 2014

The theme for this month’s contest is STATE SLOGANS.

Thanks to Sol Morrison, Santa Barbara, for suggesting this theme.

Many states have slogans, such as New Hampshire’s “Live Free or Die.”

Your challenge is to create a State Slogan that is not real, but funny.

Here are three examples:

Kansas: Not in OZ Anymore

Wisconsin: Chez Cheese

North Dakota: The Snow Me State

Challenge yourself to write a dozen lines. Maybe more. Then slect your best three lines and submit them for recognition in our Top Three.  If you submit more than three lines, the additional lines will be eligible for Honorable Mention.

Submit your entries to by September 14, 2014.

Observational Humor — Case Study #125

August 26th, 2014

This was a strong monologue. Part of the credit for the big response was the
larger-than-usual audience size.

We will look at the set-up.  Next we’ll review the joke.  And then we’ll examine what made the joke work.

The SET-UP (what happened and what was said during the meeting before he monologue was presented.

1. We had twenty-five people attending our meeting. The attendance was higher than average because we had nine speakers.

2. All nine speakers were past District Contest winners. I had won 8 district contests.

3. Bill Lusk is a race car driver. Paul Newman also races cars.

4. A speaker was going to share three tips for contest success, each tip would start with the letter P. She then gave us four tips. The speakers which followed added five, six, seven tips starting with the letter P.

5. a speaker said you could re-use a contest speech if you had not won with it in the last 12 years. Someone corrected the speaker, saying that th rule was “within the last 12 months.”

6. A speaker talked about the importance of being well dressed for a contest. He told us of a woman speaker who wore the same outfit as another woman.

7. Bobby told us of a humor contest where he used a purse and dressed in drag.

8. Scott shared a joke about a woman banging on his door and waking him up 2:30 in the morning when he was sleeping in a hotel room. He said he finally got up and let her out.


Do you remember when our Fifth-Monday events used to attract 50 peoeple? I figured out how we can make that happen for our next Fifth-Monday event. I’m going to schedule 40 speakers.
(The joke pointed out that we had a large attendance thanks to the large number of speakers on the agenda. I used the trigger of exaggeration to suggest the solution for having a big crowd attend our next special event.)

I bring you good news. I’ve on 8 first-place trophies at District Contests. How hard can it be?
(Self-deprecation. Suggesting the “he doesn’t look like a funny and an excellent speaker.”)

Bill Lusk is the Paul Newman of Toastmasters. I love his salad dressing.
(A call-back with the twist of salad dressing.)

Here are some observations on the eight district contests I won. 
(Set-up for a series of jokes.)

I was nervous each time I competed and won. Every one of my 8 speeches started with P.
(Continuing the running gag with the letter P, turning it into a bodily function joke.  I would advise caution using this type of joke.)

Each contest speech I delivered had not won within the previous 12 minutes. (12 years had been changed to 12 months. I took the liberty of changing it to 12 minutes.)

At one contest, another contestant was wearing the same dress.

(Did a switch so that I was wearing one of the dresses.)

For one contest I borrowed Bobby’s purse and used his makeup kit to freshen up.  And at 2:30 in the morning I was banging on the door until Scott opened it and let me out.
(Call-back on Bobby’s purse. Dropped my self into Scott’s story. Part of the trigger was SOMETHNG FUNNY. I used Scott’s funny line to get a laugh of my own. A huge laugh.)

I lost one contest because of the title of my speech. Let me take you to the contest to show you what happened: “Ladies and Gentlemen. Speaker number four. John Kinde. The judges are idiots. The judges are idiots. John Kinde.”
(A very simple joke with an absurd contest speech title.)

Contest Results — Almost TV

August 21st, 2014

It’s time for this month’s contest winners. The theme for the contest is ALMOST TV. The challenge is to come up with the title of an imaginary TV show that almost sounds like a real show. Then follow the made-up title with a brief description of the show.

Here are the top lines selected by our panel of judges (improv players and speakers).


Leopardy. Quiz show where if you don’t have the right questions about predatory animals, you really lose.
Marty Bernstein, Oak Park, Illinois


The Wig Thang, Deary: How to make homemade hairpieces.
David Novick, Dayton, Ohio


The Tazing Chase: Cops armed only with tasers go after panhandlers,
jaywalkers, and parking violators.
Terry Wall, Washington Township, New Jersey

HONORABLE MENTION (in random order)

- Tooth or Consequences: Dental students guess which tooth to pull.
- American Midol: Contestants try to obtain over the counter drugs
under Obamacare.
- R*A*S*H: Top dermatologists try to identify new skin diseases.
- Hawaii VO5O: Top Island hairdressers show their stuff.
- The Grate Race: Chefs shred their favorite cheeses to beat the clock.

- 30 Rocks: Contestants from primitive cultures learn to count.
- Duluth or Consequence: Three wrong answers and you’re out in the
- Prancing on the Parallel Bars, on Mars: Gymnastics in low gravity.
- The Offshore Rig Pyongyang Theory: Find oil in international
waters near North Korea without getting killed.
- Nay, Kid, I’m Afraid: How to teach children not to take unnecessary

- Under the Chrome: A competition to rip you off the most while
pretending to fix your car.
- Under the Foam: World Series of Beer Pong
- Meal or no Meal. Parents of teenagers return home after work to see
if their children ate all the food. Winners are the parents with the least
food to eat. The prize is dinner at their child’s favorite restaurant,
where the parents eat but their children only get to watch.
- Password? Anyone over 50 who remembers 50% or more of their
passwords receives a suite of programs, each program with it’s own
- Are you smarter than a 28th grader? Winners get an honorary PhD

- Let’s make a meal: Contestants swap half the ingredients of their
favorite recipes with each other, and then see who comes up with the
best dish. Winner gets their ingredients back and dinner at the show
host’s house.
- Family Freud. Guest psychologists attempt to analyze your family.
Loser must live with your family for one month.
- The Rice is Bright. Cooking contest to see who can make the shiniest
side dish.
- Behind Closed Doors: The program for peeping toms.
- Criminal Mimes: Marcel Marceau leads his young protegé on a new
crime spree every week.

- Shiv Another Day: Armed with only his wits and a knife, Jack Bauer
has to survive his first day in Leavenworth.
- 2 Broke Merles: Down on their luck Dixon and Haggard become
waiters in a Country Western Zombie bar.
- Dancing with Their Cars: A cross between a dance competition and a
Demolition Derby.
- The Fracklist: Disgruntled oil & gas driller wants to expose corrupt
EPA officials.
- Guillotine Island: Castaways set up a dictatorial government.

- Rome Improvement: Tourists partake in making over famous ruins
of the world.
- Under the Superdome: Fans become trapped in the stands at a
never-ending football game.
- Fiends: Ghouls, zombies, and werewolves get together every week at
the same bar to recall old crimes.
- The Big Wang Theory: Series documenting aspects of whether size
really matters.
- Have Buns, Will Travel: Adventures of an itinerant baker.

- Wild, Wild, Vest: Upper body fashion show.
- Sons of Apathy: Sequence of stories about lackluster guys.
- Perqs and Recreation: Intrigue as to why the head Ranger gets all
the side benefits.
- Mall in the Family: “Shop ’til you drop” is this family’s watchword.
- Bored to Death: CEOs meet untimely demises, one by one.
- Silicone Valley: A breast augmentation doctor’s adventures.


Observational Humor — Case Study #124

August 14th, 2014

Here’s another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting.   We will look at the set-up, the joke, and the triggers that made the joke work.

SET-UP (What was said and what happened during the meeting before the monologue was presented.)

1. A speaker said, “I’ll now deliver my yet-to-be organized contest speech.”

2. A speaker defined and discussed GROUP THINK.

3. The printed agenda for the meeting accidentally had a very large font size selected for my name and for the Observational Humor part of the program.

4. In setting up the word of the day, the gramarian used the word
conundrum. Later in the meeting a speaker used the word conundrum,
even though it was not the word of the evening.

5. Out going President Dianne requested an audit of the club’s treasury.

6. A speaker was advised to speak up so he could be better heard.

7. A speaker said she went to California where the most logical thing to do was to GO SURFING. She had been instructed to get on the board, do a push-up, and jump to her feet.

8. Carolyn gave a speeeh in which she sang.


My name is John Kinde, and I’ll now be delivering my yet-to-be funny monologue.

(I used parallel construction to let the YET-TO-BE phrase link to my monologue.  Self-deprecation.)

I will be practing humor. And YOU will be practicing group laughter.

(Good response.  I asked the question “what other activity acould be group-oriented besides GROUP THINK.)

You may have noticed that the Observational Humor segment listed on the program was printed in a very large font. That’s not a reflection on the quality of my humor…it’s a reflection on the quality of my eye sight.
(Self deprecation. Poking fun at a sign of aging.)

We need to have more guests and we can do that by telling them about how great our club is. We need to beat our own conundrums.
(Implying that a conundrum is a type of drum.)

Actually the definition of conundrum is what you have after a
(Poking fun at clunky, rarely-used words.)

Sherri is counting laughs in my monologue. Dianne has requested an audit.

(A call-back on Dianne’s request for an audit, linking it to my

Last week, someone in the back of the room said he couldn’t hear me. Awoman in the front of the room said:  ”I’ll trade places with you.”

(Self-deprecation. This is an old joke. I don’t know the original source.
Having a list of generic jokes in your tool kit comes in handy.)

I’m from North Dakota where he most logical thing for a humorist to do is GO SURFING. So I hopped on my surfboard, did a push-up, grabbed my walker, and jumped to my feet.

(The trigger is something that would not be a logical activity for
someone in North Dakota. It also paints a funny picture of someone on
a surf board with a walker.)

I learned not to be drinking water while Carolyn is speaking. When she started singing, my glass shattered.

(This links Carolyn’s singing with the cliche of an opera singer breaking
a wine glass when she hits a high note.)

Comedy Musician on America’s Got Talent

August 7th, 2014

This two-minute performance illustrates several humor principles. The humor could be described as off color, but it passed the TV censors…so how bad can that be? It would be the perfect entertainment for a night-club lounge.

Lessons learned:

1. The performer uses humor to be likable. He is witty from beginning to end. His style is very conversational.

2. It illustrates the permission principle that older people can often get away with things that a younger person can’t. The performer is 84.

3. He uses humor when having a problem with the equipment.

4. The funniest line of the song is a great example of Self-Deprecation.  I’m sure you can pick it out. Poking fun at yourself is usually a good choice.

5. Some people may consider the lyrics homophobic. In my opinion it’s just the opposite and is something that could probably be a hit in a gay nightclub, performed by someone like the late Rudy de la Mor.

6.  Click here to watch the video.

New Joke Contest — Almost TV

August 1st, 2014

The theme for our August contest is:  ALMOST TV.  Create a title for an imaginary TV show that almost sounds like a real show.  Then tag it with a sub-title that tells what the imaginary show is about.

New joke contests are announced on the first of each month.

Here are three examples based on this month’s theme:

So you stink in your rants.
A competition between ranting comedians who aren’t funny.

Meal of Four Chins
A cook-off featuring recipes that give you multiple chins.

A merry Cannes bridal.
Behind the scenes at a happy French wedding.

Write as many new Show titles as you can. Then pick your top three to
submit. You can submit additional lines which will be eligible for
Honorable Mention. Submit your entries by August 15, 2014, to Include your Name, City, State.

Observational Humor — Case Study #123

July 26th, 2014

Here is another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting.  First we’ll look at the set-up for the jokes.   Then we’ll look at the jokes and a brief analysis of what made the jokes work.

Read the set-up information first, then you’ll be ready to watch the video of the monologue.  You’ve heard the expression when someone shares a funny event:  ”You had to be there.”  Watching the video will give you a feel for “being there.”  It will help you understand the power of Observational Humor.

THE SET-UP (What happened and what was said during the meeting
before the monologue was delivered.)

1. A speaker said she was compelled to do something, but used the word IMPALED instead of COMPELLED.

2. My Mother was visiting and attending the meeting.

3. My mother is from Arizona.

4. At a previous meeting four guests attended, all introducing
themselves as roommates of Ethan. He shares a large house with
several people.

5. A speaker said he was entering some data into the computer but
forgot to click SAVE when he was done.

6. Two first-time guests were visiting the meeting with their two
children, one was as very small baby.

7. Carolyn was wearing a top with a black-and-white, busy, abstract


Before watching the video, it’s important that you read the seven set-up items listed above. It’s the set-up that gives the monologue the context it needs to be funny. Click to play the video.


I wasn’t going to be doing Observational Humor until I was impaled by the President.
(A simple call-back of a mistakenly-used word.)

If I look bothered.  I’m out of my normal routine.   I usually relax myself by imagining my audience naked. But my Mother is here tonight…

(Playing with a cliche. A very big laugh.)

She said she was from Arizona. That’s not true…she is one of Ethan’s roommates.

(The set-up for this line was something that happened a month earlier
when Ethan brought four guests to a meeting. In spite of the fact that
half the audience was not familiar with the original set-up, it got a very
big laugh. For those who didn’t know of the set-up, the absurdity of the line was probably enough of a set-up to make the joke work even for them.)

I was on a church web site, surfing. It said, Do you believe in God?
Click Yes or No. YES! But I forgot on the bottom to check SAVED.
(Playing with the double meaning of the word SAVE. I wasn’t sure that
the joke would be clear enough to the audience, but it received a very
good response.)

And I’ve got the solution for building our attendance. We can
immediately double it if everybody brings a cute baby. And I can think of a dozen reasons why that would help our club.
(An absurd suggestion using a baby as a call-back. The baby was
adorable and the hit of the meeting.)


Carolyn would you please stand up. A lot of you don’t realize that she is wearing an army uniform. This is a camouflaged uniform for people who are fighting a color-blind enemy.
(I answered the question, “What’s the story behind this very abstract
B&W blouse?”)

Contest Results — First Date

July 25th, 2014

It’s time for our contest results for the July theme of  FIRST DATE.

Our Top-Three lines were selected by our panel of judges (speakers and improv players).

Our contests come out on the first of the month. Our next contest will be announced on August 1, 2014.

Here are the top lines for this month.


What NOT to say on a first date: Don’t worry, liquor doesn’t affect my driving.

Gerald Fleischmann, Fountain Valley, California


What  NOT to do on a first date: Text a friend about your date whilE you are on it, speaking aloud everything you are texting.

Marty Bernstein, Oak Park, Illinois


What NOT to say when trying to get a first date: I stutter when I ask a pretty girl out. Oh look…I didn’t stutter!

Nancy Lininger, Camarillo, Calfiornia

HONORABLE MENTION (In random order)

What NOT to say when trying to get a first date: 

- I’ve been depressed lately. Maybe a date will cheer me up.
- Let’s meet at a wedding dress store.
- We’d have to meet out of town…people know me here.
- I can’t believe you’re going out with me. I really can’t believe you’re going out with me. I really really can’t believe you’re going out with me.  I really really really can’t believe you’re going out with me!

What NOT to bring to a first date:

- A Sponge Bob security blanket.
- A textbook from a class you took 20 years ago.
- Your grandmother’s ashes.
- Your dog. “He loves doing that. I’ll get you a tissue.”
- Your mother.

What NOT to say during a first date:
- So how do you feel about polygamy?
- Could I look at your teeth?
- Want to hear my Pee Wee Herman impression?
- By the way, do you have cab fare for the ride home?
- Is it OK if we dress up as super-heroes tonight?
- In the glove box there’s a bottle of aspirin, in case you suddenly get a headache.

- Sorry I’m late. My first hot date tonight took longer than I planned.

- We can have a fun time or not…it’s up to you.
- After dinner, you can come over to my place, and I’ll show you my trophies.

- I win joke contests.
- How is Venus this time of year?
- I’ve got to be home by midnight…in case my probation officer calls.
- We can go anywhere you want…as long as it’s not out-of-state.
- You remind me of my last date.
- If we get married I can stay in the country. Then we can go out again.
- I can get us fast service…Hey waiter, here’s a buck.
- I’ll call you if I remember your number.
- Did you have to pick the most expensive item?
- My policy is don’t ask don’t tell.
- I thought you were my dream date, then I woke up.
- Mother tried to fix me up with a guy who looks just like you.
- I’m sure that mole can be removed.
- What do you think of the new cologne I’m trying tonight? It’s an aphrodisiac.

- You smell much better than I’ve heard.
- I hope you’re not just another party pooper.
- I’m using this lip balm so my mouth sores can clear up before we kiss goodnight.

- I have a lot in common with Oedipus Rex.

- You use too many crutch words…have you considered joining Toastmasters?

- I thought I’d surprise you with an evening of competition paintball.
- I didn’t say we’re going to Birmingham; I said Burning Man.
- So how far do you go on a first date?
- Please don’t open the glove box…that’s where I keep my guns.
- So let’s talk about string theory.
- Is that your real hair color?
- Have you had a face lift?
- I can see you’re into me.
- Could you loan me some money?
- If we get serious, I will need to see your tax returns for the last three years.

- I live with my mom, 2 dogs, and 22 cats.
- I’m really good with numbers. I bet I can guess your measurements.
- My last date ended with a murder trial, but I was acquitted.

What NOT to do on a first date:
- Crack your knuckles repeatedly all evening.
- Text a friend about your date while you are on it, speaking aloud everything you are texting.

- Complain about never getting a second date.
- Laugh at everything your date says.
- Hum every few minutes, alternating between “The Candy Man” and ”It’s a Small World.”

- Blow your nose on your shirt tail.
- Take a call from your ex.
- Check the score of a game (you will never score if you do).
- Turn up one hour late and say “Sorry, I forgot.”
- You pick up your date in your convertible with the top down when it is winter and windy.

- Show up wearing a bow tie and nothing else.
- Show up wearing a Sumo wrestling outfit.

Places to NOT to go on a first date:

- An adult theater, bookstore, or strip club.
- To a Toastmasters meeting and make sure your date is called on for Table Topics.

Ups and Downs of English

July 19th, 2014

UPS and DOWNS of the English Language

I’m a fan of creating my own humor writing exercises.  I saw a post online which discussed the crazy English Language.  It got me going UP and DOWN the strange contrasts in our colorful language.  Here are some of the things I came up with:

Why fill a pillow with DOWN if you’re only going to fluff it UP?

Why do they say a bank robbery is going DOWN when they’re being held UP?

If a balloon goes UP in flames, will it come crashing DOWN?

If someone is feeling DOWN why do they need to throw UP?

If you’re number was UP, would it make you feel DOWN?

In Blackjack, if your luck was on the UPswing, why would you double DOWN?

If you were DOWN on your luck, why would you give UP?

If a team is DOWN two in the ninth, why would the next batter be UP?

If you were consoling someone who was UP-set, would you be a DOWN comforter?

If you put a paper bag over your head when you had hick-UPS, would you put a plastic bag over your head if you had hick-DOWNS?

If you cured hick-UPS by scaring someone, would hick-DOWNS be cured by love at first sight?

Now you’re all caught UP and have the low DOWN on the latest definitions.

I just made this UP and wrote it all DOWN.

Observational Humor — Case Study #122

July 11th, 2014

Here is another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting.  An Observational Humor joke does not need to be the funniest joke in the world to get a good laugh.  The factor of “being there” is what magnifies the power of the joke.  Watching the audience response teaches you the power of Observational Humor.

THE SET-UP (What happened and what was said during the meeting
before the monolgue was presented.)

1. We had a an excellent meeting. The speeches were motivational and inspiring.

2. Ethan, one of our club members, brought 5 guests. They were all
people who share a house. The guests were introduced as his room

3. One of the guests at the meeting was from Sweden. One was from
Canada. One club member had the last name of Polish. One guest had
the first name of Happy.

4. The guests were young men and some members were referring to
them as a Boy Band.

5. A speaker told us about her Grandmother receiving her high school
diploma at age 98. On receiving her diploma, her Grandmother said:
“Oh boy, my last day of school.” And her son replied with: “Now you
have to get a job!”

6. A member was assigned to give an impromptu speech topic on the
subject of “what would he name a month if he were to name it after

7. A guest gave an impromptu speech about a guy in a dress who kept
calling him to be his friend.

8. Member Bobby Williams talked about how his dog reacted after he
had been absent for a long period of time. When they reunited, the dog got excited and licked him.

9. The monologue video is presented from beginning to end without any cuts or edits. As I approached the end of the monologue I had a lengthy pause as I made a decision to drop two jokes and deliver the final joke which I wasn’t sure I wanted to use. The joke related to Bobby’s dog’s response welcoming him home. As I wasn’t sure about the joke, I stumbled over my own words getting the joke started. It got a good laugh and was ok as a closer. But usually when I’m not sure about a joke I leave it out. The excessive pause and the mixing up of my words were not the highlights of my humor that evening and they were not the best way to close the monologue.


Here is the entire monologue, presented at the meeting, recorded on
video. Watching the video of the monologue is the best way to see and understand the power of observational humor. A joke by itself is not nearly as strong as a joke within the context of “being there.”   Click Here to watch the video.



LINE ONE. In the interest of having a balanced program, I will now
speak on how to have an unhappy and unfulfilled life.
(This line was set-up by a meeting with excetionally motivational and
inspiring speeches. The trigger at work is a 180 twist.)

LINE TWO. Mr Toastmaster, guests, and the one person who has never lived with Ethan.
(This line uses a cliche, formal, speech opening with a call back about
Ethan’s many roommates. The trigger is an implied exaggeration,
suggesting that EVERYONE has been a roommate of Ethan’s.)

LINE THREE. One Direction and Abba having nothing on us.
We have:
A Swedish person,
A Canadian,
We have one Polish Person
We have one person who is Happy.
(This joke starts with a reference to two bands, a Boy Band and a band from Sweden. I then list a colorful list of people who were attending the meeting.)

LINE FOUR. And I received an inspiring insight tonight. In thirty
years I can get my high school diploma…and get a job.
(An excellent call back about the diploma and the get-a-job lines which
had received huge laughs earlier in the meeting. I dropped myself into
someone else’s story. I looked at the Grandmother’s experience, and I
said “I could do that.”)

LINE FIVE. I’m not interested in naming a whole month. One day
would be sufficient. February 29. I figure that one day every four years would be enough of me. And guys would celebrate this day by putting on a dress and calling John.
(Two call backs which linked the “month” speech with the stalking

LINE SIX. And finally, I always thought it was strange that if Bobby
hadn’t seen me for a long time, every time he would see me he would lick me.

(I had a lengthy pause and stumbled on my words as I debated whether I wanted to use this last joke. Usually when I doubt a line, I delete it. But this evening I went with it. The line got a good response but was not the best way to end the monologue. It’s also interesting to note that as time passes, the pause and the stumble are not nearly as noticable as I when I first experienced them. The lesson is that mistakes are often less noticable to the audience than they are to the speaker.)