Humor Writing Exercise

October 15th, 2014

It’s fun creating my own, unique humor writing exercises.

I look forward to getting Allen Klein’s Monthly Mirth Letter. He shares jokes that are sure to put a smile on your face. This month, three of them stimulated my funny bone.

- Several fonts walk into a bar. “Get out of here,” shouts the bartender. “We don’t serve your type here.”

- If you jumped off the bridge in Paris, you’d be in Seine.

- Did you hear about the mathematician who’s afraid of negative numbers? He will stop at nothing to avoid them.

In the spirit of creative writing, my take on the jokes:

- Two fonts were having a beer at the Main Street Bar, when a noisy entrant at the front door announced: “There’s a new Serif in town!”

- Insanity is jumping off the same bridge in Paris and not expecting to be in Seine.

- A historian asks his mathematition friend, “We’re celebrating my promotion. Are you drinking?” The friend replied “I ain’t drinking nothing.” The historian loudly ordered, “Bartender, my friend will have a double negative.”

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Observational Humor — Case Study #127

October 12th, 2014

Here is another Video Blog featuring an Observational Humor monologue. It’s important to read the written Set-Up information before watching the video. Watching the video first is would be like listening to a humor monlogue of punch lines with the set-up lines hidden from view. The set-up provides the context for the jokes. Without proper context, most of the jokes won’t make sense. When a joke doesn’t make sensee, the expression is usually “you had to be there.”  Reading the set-up, in a sense, allows you to be there and helps you to understand the humor.

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

1. Tim Gard, one of the funniest people in the National Speakers Association, was the guest speaker for the Las Vegas chapter of NSA.  He presented some of his terrific signature stories, many which shared a humorous look at airline travel. If you have the chance to see him speak, don’t miss it. If you need a hilarious speaker with an impowering message, Tim is your speaker.

2. Tim’s program is a study on the use of humorous props. To keep from losing his bags on an airline flight, he has two rubber-chicken legs sticking out of his suitcase, and a large sign saying something like “this is not your bag.” To do justice to the routine, you need to see Tim at a live presentation.

3. Tim has created his own Official Rules of the Hospitality Industry.  He shares stories of creating his own rules which he uses when checking into hotels.

4. Tim uses the expressions “Woo Hoo!” and “Bummer” to express the ups and downs of travel.

5. Past speakers for the chapter have included Mike Rayburn (chapter President) and Dan Thurmon a speaker/gymnast.

6. A speaker referred to advice given by coach Ron Arden.

7. A speaker mentioned being naked to get laughs.

8. Someone mentioned eliminating the competition by killing them one by one.

9. A speaker used the technique of “turn to the person next to you and discuss…”

10. A speaker mentioned the “pull my finger gag.”

11. A speaker mentioned that he had his appendix removed 10 years ago.

12. Our meeting facility had Uni-Sex rest rooms.

13. At the start of the meeting my self-introduction was, “My name is John Kinde. I’ve come to the meeting this morning for the Uni-Sex restrooms.” This was one of the funniest lines of the entire morning.

Click here to view the monologue video.


(Physical actions with no spoken words. Arriving on the speaker’s platform. Placing on the table a briefcase with chicken legs sticking out. Audience laughter. Opening briefcase. Briefcase sign: This is not your briefcase.)

(Good laughs piggybacking on Tim’s signature story about his suitcase prop. Tim’s use of props and story is many times funnier than my short gag. I got some laughs with a simple prop call-back. This is also an example of “preparing to be spontaneous.” I came to the meeting ready with a one-time use gag. I wouldn’t use it again because the gag belongs to Tim. And I only used it because he included it in his content that morning. If he had not used his suitcase story, I would not have been able to use my briefcase gag.)

Before I get started, I’m going to read to you a few words from the Official Speaker Policy Manual.

(A good laugh. This was a set-up for the following lines.)

“Speaker Behavior and Professionalism Section 7 Paragraph 12. When a speaker at an NSA Chapter meeting follows a much funnier program speaker, a situation known as Bummer, the audience will understand this challenge and will laugh at the jokes of the lesser humorous speaker as a professional courtesy.”

(Huge laugh. Self-depecation).

Woo Hoo.

(Someone in the audience said Woo Hoo first, I said the expression anyway. Good laugh.)

Oh no, not another hilariously funny speaker.

(Self-Deprecation. Light laugh.)

I was called by the board and asked to be on the program today and I thought about it and I thought what a great idea, doing observational humor following the funniest speaker in NSA.

(Setting the context of someone following a hilarious Tim Gard program. Light laughter.)

That would be like being on the program after Mike Rayburn and playing a song on the guitar. That would be like being on a program after Dan Thurmon and doing a back flip.

(Very light response. In retrospect, I would have left these lines out. It had been many years since Dan presented his program to our chapter.)

Ron Arden said to me…you’re not funny enough to be naked.

(Very big laugh. Absurdity and self-deprecation.)

It’s a fact you may not be familiar with. There are only 141 funny speakers in NSA. Every time I meet one, I kill them. Tim, I’m your ride to the airport.

(“I kill them” received light reaction. The “ride to the airport” topper got a huge laugh. Often a weaker joke provides a great set-up for another joke which follows.)

Turn to the person next to you and pull their finger.

(A simple call back combining two obsservations. A big laugh.)

It’s been ten years since I’ve had my apendix transplant.

(Implied punchline, that the speaker was the donor of the organ. I wasn’t sure how the joke would play, but it got a good laugh. The punch line was a bit of a time-release joke. The laughs came in two waves.)

It’s been a really great program today. I’ve had a great time. I’ll see you in the restroom.

(Good call back of restroom coment from the beginning of the meeting.)

Observational Humor — Case Study #126

October 10th, 2014

Here is another VIDEO BLOG of Observational Humor presented at the end of a meeting. First we will look at the set-up for each joke.  Then we’ll hear (read) the joke. And finally, we’ll make some comments about why the joke worked.

To make sense of the video monologue, I highly suggest reading the set-up information first. Without the set-up information, it would be like watching a series of punch lines without the background context which makes the jokes understandable.

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

1. When introducing me, the emcee told the audience that I had won
first place at eight district contests.

2. A speaker accidentally said PEOPLES. He immediately corrected
himself saying, “my mouth doesn’t always work correctly.”

3. A speaker talked about accents and demonstrated more than 30
accents and dialects.

4. A speaker told of an older woman who complained about a joke the
speaker told about another woman. The speaker responded with, “but I was telling a joke about my wife.”

5. We announced the club’s next special event on December 15,
Stand-Up Comedy Night.

6. Linda Bown talked about humor used by men and women. She
suggested that humor about ED might not be a good topic.

7. A speaker was just trying to be friendly when she told a joke to a woman standing in line in front of her. The joke made the woman who was ahead of her uncomfortable and she asked the speaker not to stand so close.

8. A speaker said “I miss my wife.”

9. There was a sign in the men’s restroom which said “aim at back of urinal.”

10. At a normal club meeting we usually have 15 people. At this special
meeting we had 40.

11. A speaker joked that he had a friend who once had Juan Valdez as his roommate.

12. Darren LaCroix mentioned the hazards of using a spell checker.

13. Members of the audience included: Carolyn Pelletier, Marty Bernstein, Scott Pritchard, Linda Bown, and Melanie Hope.




[You learned from my introduction that I've won eight district contests.
I tell you that not impress you,] I tell you that because I’m impressed.
(The portion in brackets was lost on the video recording.)

You people’s is great.
(A simple call-back of something which had earlier received a laugh.)

I tell you that in the French accent but when ever I speak in a French accent, it turns somehow into a Norwegian accent.
(That’s the truth. And the truth is funny. When ever I do a foreign accent, it somehow slides into Norwegian. That’s probably natural for anyone who grew up in North Dakota.)

I was telling a joke about a woman. After the program an old woman came up to me and said, “I didn’t like the joke you told about that woman.” I said, “Hey, that woman is my wife.” She looked at me and said: “That woman is my daughter.” I thought she looked familiar.
(I did a call-back by repeating the story line and then throwing in the
unexpected punch line “That woman is my daughter.” I then add a topper with “I thought she looked familiar.”)

In December we’re doing stand up comedy night. That’s our special program here at Power House Pros, December 15, Stand up comedy night. Linda Bown will be doing stand up comedy on ED.
(Linda had joked about being assigned her topic for this night’s program, suggesting that she didn’t feel like an expert on the topic. So I figured, why not also assign her a topic she is uncomfortable with for December 15.)

I was in Seattle. I was in a long line waiting to speak to the gate agent. I was just standing there with nothing to do, so I thought I’d visit with the lady in front of me. I said, Did you know that the odds of there being a bomb on an airplane is 400,000 to 1. But the odds of there being TWO bombs is 3 million to one. So I always pack a bomb. The woman said. Please don’t stand so close.
(The bomb joke is one I heard ten years ago. It worked well to blend it into a story call-back with the final punch line of “Please don’t stand so close.”)

Sometimes I miss my wife. But my aim is improving.
(Another old joke. Plays on the double meaning of MISS. I did the joke
because I like the structure of the word play.)

I don’t know if you’ve been to the men’s room, they have a sign:
PLEASE AIM AT THE BACK OF URINAL. That’s why we have a
theme for our club: Power House Pros…We aim to please.
(A recycled joke. I used it about 9 months ago. But I knew with the big
audience at this program, most people had not heard it.)

So I just had to sneak into the women’s restroom to see if they had a sign. Sure enough, in every stall, there was a sign, please remain seated during performance.
(Another recycled joke.)

We’re implementing new procedures if you come to the meeting next week. To help keep the restrooms clean, if you need to use the restroom, go out the door, turn left, and use the bushes.
(The recycled jokes opened the door for this new joke about stepping
outside. The trigger is absurdity.)

Signs are a great idea. Wouldn’t it be good to have signs to help the
speakers. Do you like that idea? (APPLAUSE sign)
(I’m starting a triplet of new sign jokes.)

And Bobby, I received a great insight tonight. Bobby said that he used to speak for money but made more money unclogging toilets. So I’m going to give up observational humor and go into the business of observational toilets. (LAUGHTER sign).
( I sequenced the signs in the order that I thought would build the

This is a bigger crowd than we normally have on Monday night, a
special night. But I didn’t realize that with more people you have more butterflies when you stand up to speak (REMOVE YOUR CLOTHES sign).
(Plays with the cliche of visualizing the audience naked or in their underwear to control nervousness.)

My roommate, Juan Valdez...
(The set-up served as the punch line. Just by saying the set-up, and then saying no more, was funny.)

Daren told us about funny things with a spell check or how you can run into problems with a spell check Which is true We have a lot of
unusual names of speakers, even common names If a spell check does not have a name in memory, it will give you alternatives. If don’t pay attention, you’ll put the wrong word for example with Pelletier.
(Two days before this program, I realized that a spell checker could provide me a funny seed for a joke. And the name twists I came up with actually came from my spell-checker. I used five names of people from the audience.)

Pelletier palletized. But as humorists we want to go one step further, and link to something else. Carolyn Palletized: A speaker who, when approaching the lectern, goes BEEP BEEP BEEP.

Marty turns into martyr. Martyr Bernstein. A speaker who does jokes to die for. (Marty ad libs from the audience, “You’re killing me!”)

Pritchard. Pitchfork. Scott Pitchfork. A speaker who sells eating
utensils on QVC. Scott Pitch Fork.

Bown. Bong. Linda Bong. A speaker who will put you at ease.

Hope. Harp. Melanie Harp. Listening to her speak is like dying and
going to heaven.
(My joke structure was using the spell-checker to provide a set-up twist, and to then make a humor connection with a tag line using the twisted name.)

Ten Reasons Why Toastmasters Do Not Jog

October 7th, 2014

Ten Reasons Why Toastmasters Do Not Jog

10. Because Mr Jogger, Ms Trotter and Fellow Runners sounds stupid.

9. Because they fear jogging more than they fear death.

8. Because there is no designation of JTM.

7. Because they know that other joggers will be visualizing them naked.

6. Because if they drop dead on a jogging trail they’ll be featured on Dateline NBC.

5. Because the local JogMasters International club will bug them to join.

4. Because everyone they know who is already a Distinguished Jogger is really not in great shape.

3. Because joggers never smile.

2. Because jogging is not on the Distinguished Club Plan.

1. Because all they’ll get for their effort is a certificate of participation.

New Joke Contest — Official State Book/Movie/Song

October 1st, 2014

The theme for our October joke contest is Official State Book/ Movie/Song. These are not really the official books/movies/songs. You make them up. Hopefully your connections and creativity will make your lines funny.  This theme was inspired by a suggestion submitted by Sol Morrison from Santa Barbara.

Here are three examples:

Book: Wisconsin–Who Moved My Cheese?
Movie: North Dakota–Frozen
Song: California–Good Vibrations

Write as many lines as you can.  Select your three best lines and submit them to by October, 15, 2014.

Special Humor Event — Las Vegas

September 28th, 2014

Everything you wanted to know about humor.  Nine speakers presenting the secrets of using humor from the platform.  Monday, September 29, at 6:15 pm.   The location is Pololu Robotics, 920 Pilot Road, Las Vegas 89119.  Suggest you arrive by 6:00 pm to get a seat.

Joke Contest Results — State Slogans

September 18th, 2014

Our State Slogans theme was inspired by long-time subscriber and funny guy Sol Morrison, Santa Barbara, California.

New Joke contests are annonced on the first of each month.

Look for the next contest on October 1, 2014.

Here are the top lines selected by our panel of judges (speakers and improv players). The Theme: State Slogans.


California: All Shook Up
Terry Wall, Washington Township, New Jersey


Washington: Like rain? We’re Rainier!
Marty Bernstein, Oak Park, Illinois


New York: Unique New York (say it five times fast)
Tom Nee, Oak Lawn, Illinois

Honorable Mention (in random order)

- Washington DC: Big Spy Country
- Pennsylvania: Who wouldn’t like a state nicknamed PA
- Rhode Island: We’re not an island and we don’t have many roads
- North Dakota: Just like South Dakota, only higher up.
- Nevada: The funnest state ever

- Nevada: What’s gambled here stays here
- Minnesota: Land of 10,000 Likes
- West Virginia: Where we still do the Charleston
- Hawaii: HI is more than an abbreviation
- New Hampshire: Slightly nicer than Old Hampshire

- Idaho: This Spud’s for You
- District of Columbia: Live Free or Die Broke
- Washington State: George is On My Mind
- Hawaii: The Molten State
- Kentucky: Southern Comfort

- Washington DC: Land of 10,000 Mistakes
- California: The Quakier State
- Indiana: We say Hoosier before you say knock knock
- California: The Rolling Hills State 7.0
- Alaska: Bridge Over Troubled Politics

- Connecticut: How to get to Massachusetts from New York.
- Texas: Any other questions?
- Idaho: For girls and Boise
- North Carolina: Not South Carolina
- South Carolina: Not North Carolina.
- Rhode Island: You Just Missed it

- Washington DC: Grid and Bear It
- Washington DC: Don’t Make a Federal Case Out of it
- Arizona: Take in the Hole Thing
- Mississippi: There is no Mr.ssippi
- New York: We Rush More than South Dakota.
- Wisconsin: Home of Cheesy Humor

Special Humor Workshop in Las Vegas

September 11th, 2014

Humor Workshop In Las Vegas

Monday, September 29. Featuring nine humor experts.

Time: 6:15 pm until 8:30 pm

Location: Pololu Robotics, 920 Pilot Road, south of the airport.

Cost: It’s free.


Humor for Teens to Seniors
How Presenting Humor is Different for Women and Men
Comedy Magic
Comic Timing
Accents an Dialects
Testing Your Humor
Success at Open Mic Night
Writing Funny Jokes
Humor is No Joke

Mark your calendar now!

Joan Rivers

September 4th, 2014

Memories of a comedy professional…Joan Rivers.

The first time I see a jogger smiling, I’ll consider it.

My best birth control is just to leave the lights on.

I am definitely going to watch the Emmy’s this year. My makeup team is nominated for Best Special Effects.

People say that money is not the key to happiness, but I always figured if you have enough money, you can have a key made.

It’s been so long since I’ve made love, I can’t even remember who gets tied up.

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.