New Contest — Family Business

March 1st, 2015

Products are often named using a family name. Ford automobiles for example. Firestone tires, another example. Some products are named for a first name of a child. Porsche and Wendys are two examples.

Family names and children’s names are probably used in businesses more than we know. I grew up near a Sneaker’s service station. I always felt that was probably a family name, not one that I would have used to name a business.

The theme for this month’s contest is Family Business.   Let’s narrow the search to celebrities and famous people. That sounds redundant, but hopefully “famous” people picks up anyone well-known who is not considered a “celebrity.”

Some examples of possible, but not likely, businesses names:

Emily Blunt opens Blunt Cutlery.
Tina Fey opens Fey’s Faux Furs.
Bob Barker opens Barker Dog Obedience School.
Rob Lowe opens Rob’s Banks

Some thoughts as you look for lines:

If something is obvious, everybody else probably thought of it too. That reduces the surprise factor.
Elton John opens John’s Porta Johns
Jim opens Jim’s Gym
Harrison Ford opens a Ford Dealership

Avoid easy lines which are in bad taste..
Krapp Burgers
Evelyn Hooker opens Hooker Motel
Someone in the news for spouse abuse opening a Marriage Counceling Center.

“Categories” and lists help focus a search:
Categories can give you a starting point. You can then work toward a name.

Ways to stimulate the search:
Look for names that are nouns, adjectives or verbs.
Search the internet for a list of names. This helps “prime the pump.”
Working forward and backward:
- Working from name to business
- Working from business to name
Double meanings
Rhyme or similar sounds
Don’t get trapped with a single technique, puns for example

Write as many lines as you can and submit what you feel are your best three lines. Submit them by March 15, 2015. Send them to You can submit more than three lines. The additional lines will be eligible for Honorable Mention.

Contest Results — State of the Humor

February 23rd, 2015

Here are the top lines for the February Joke Contest — State of the Funny. Some of our subscribers said that this contest was more difficult than most.

New contests are announced on the first of the month. The next contest starts on March 1, 2015.

Here are our top three and honorable mention entries:


The District of Columbia is funny because it has the most politicians.
Gerald Fleischmann, Fountain Valley, California


California is funny because it produces the most tomatoes, and you can’t have humor without tomatoes.
Tom Nee, Oak Lawn, Illinois


Minnesota is funny because it is the home of Minnehaha Falls.
Sandy Kampner, Evergreen Park, Illinois

HONORABLE MENTION (In random order)

Nevada is funny because Prostitution is legal but jaywalking is illegal.

California is funny because you can sing and experience shake rattle and roll.

Wisconsin is funny because you can be cheesy and that’s a good thing.

New York New York is NOT funny because you have to repeat yourself.

Florida is funny because its fitness program consists of aerobic shuffleboard.

Illinois is funny because our politicians start in office and end up in jail.

Texas is funny because all my exes live in Texas.

Illinois is funny because of Tom Nee, Sandy Kampner, Marty Bernstein, and Pat Foley.

Missouri is funny because its mules always say Hee-Haw!

Observational Humor — Case Study #132

February 15th, 2015

Here’s another Observational Humor Monologue from an NSA Las Vegas chapter meeting. First we will look at the set-up. And then we’ll review the monologue and what made the jokes tick. It was an average monologue with a terrific closer.

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

1. A speaker commented that many people from North Dakota had stoic, peaceful, laid-back personalities.

2. A speaker commented on the importance of having energy in your

3. A member, in his self-introduction, joked about being in the Witness
Protection Program.

4. I’ve joked in the past that I look like Mr Rogers.

5. Walter Bond said that to be a point guard you need the right physical gift and you need to work hard.

6. Marvelous Mark said that was unique and never duplicated.

7. A speaker mentioned the Wild Birdfeeder Organization.

8. A speaker mentioned Chick Flicks.

9. A speaker mentioned Jesus.

10. A speaker mentioned Brian Williams.

11. A speaker mentioned that he had 13 professional engagements in

12. Judy Moreo was wearing black pants and a suit jacket with bold
black and white stripes. Marvelous Mark was wearing a black suit coat
and pants with bold black and white stripes.


I’m from North Dakota…where this is high energy.
(Self-deprecation. Poking fun at my easy-going personality.)

I met a famous speaker who said: “Why don’t I know you?”
The reason she didn’t know me was that I’m in the Witness Protection Program.
(A good laugh, but not a big laugh.)

Being in the Witness Protection Program is a lot of work. On each day of the week I need to be a different person:
(The Witness Protection Programs lines were set-up lines for the
following list.)

On Sundays I’m Mr Rogers.
(Good laugh.)

On Mondays I’m a point guard.
(Fair laugh.)

On Tuesdays I’m Marvelous Mark
(Good laugh.)

On Wednesdays I’m a Wild Bird Feeder.
(Fair laugh.)

On Thursdays I’m a Chick Flick Star.
(Bigger laugh.)

On Fridays I’m Jesus.
(Good laugh.)

And on Saturdays I’m Brian Williams.
(Fair laugh.)

Last month I had 13 paid gigs…in Afghanistan.
(Big laugh. This was a topper to the Brian Williams line.

I recommend arriving a our meetings early. You learn interesting
things about our members. Would Judy and Mark please stand? I was in the parking lot when Judy and Mark arrived. They shook hands. And before they entered the bulding, they shook traded jackets.
(They were dressed in a way that it appeared that Judy came to the
meeting in a Black Suit…and that Mark came to the meeting in a suit
with bold Black and White Stripes. And before they entered the
building, they traded jackets. This joke received an absolutely huge
laugh. I figured the joke would work, and that’s why I used it as a
closer. But I was pleasantly surprised how big the response was. The
factors of SURPRISE, SUPERIORITY, ABSURDITY, and probably some others, resulted in the biggest laugh I’ve had in a year. The SURPRISE factor had people thinking, “Yeah, that’s right. It’s amazing that someone made that connection.” The SUPERIORITY factor counted on the audience being able to figure out the joke for themselves. Fortunately I had a smart audience who was also attentive and put the puzzle pieces together allowing them to figure out the joke, triggering the Superiority Factor. With great reward comes great risk. This joke had the potential to totally bomb. If audience members were preoccupied and not paying close attention to, and analyzing, the lines, the joke would have never worked. And the ABSURDITY factor made the joke funny, because after they connected the dots, they then realized that trading jackets was a ridiculous thing that would have never happened. Comments after the meeting: “You hit it out of the park.” “That was the funniest thing I ever heard.” “Absolutely amazing!” And more. And as you read the monologue, you’re pobably thinking, “I didn’t think that was so funny.” You had to be there. With the power of Observational Humor…you ARE there.

Humor Writing Exercise

February 6th, 2015

A couple of weeks ago I saw a gag on the internet:
Oxygen and Potassium went on a date. It was OK.”
So the most logical thing for me to do was to create my own humor writing exercise. I call it Elemental Relationships.

The goal is to create new joke relationships using elements on the periodic table. Here are a few lines I came up with:

Sulpher and Oxygen went on a second date. It was SO SO.

Sulpher, Sodium, Carbon and Potassium went on a double date. Just
for a SNACK.

Chlorine, Iodine, Carbon, and Potassium went on a double date. It
didn’t CLICK

Beryllium and Gold became BEAUs after meeting at a singles bar when
Beyrillium shouted accross the bar, “Hey You.”

Iron and Argon’s relationship was based on FEAR. One was concerned
with heavy metals creeping into the diet. The other was kept awake at
night by the price of gas.

What joke have you heard recently that could trigger the thought in
your mind, “I could create some jokes based on that joke theme! Create your own exercises. Or write some jokes on the Elemental Relationships theme. Create jokes that are just for you. It’s like going to the gym.

New Joke Contest — State Of The Funny

February 1st, 2015

The theme for February is The State Of  The Funny.  Why is a specific state funny?

Here are three states I’ve lived in.

Nevada is funny because you can get married and gamble…but I repeat myself.

North Dakota is funny because you need a sense of humor to deal with the winters.

 California is funny because you can deliver your punch lines in 85 languages.

  1. Your joke should fit the formula:  STATE is funny because…
  2. You can submit one joke each for the state you live in and two other states.  A total of three jokes.  This is an exercise in writing lots of jokes and then figuring out which ones are the funniest.  No recognition for Honorable Mention beyond three entries.
  3. In which city and state do you live?
  4. You can submit a joke for a province, or territory, or comparable geographic area for your country.
  5. Submit your entries by February 15, 2015

Hot Events Coming Up

January 30th, 2015

How to Put Sizzle in Your Presentation! Terry Wall’s free webinar on Thursday, February 5, 2015, at 1:30 pm EST. You’ll recognize Terry’s name. He is a frequent participant in our monthly joke contests and is the First-Place winner of our January 2015 contest. Terry is an experienced presentation skills coach.   Check out his Webinar.

Special Event in Las Vegas: Lady and The Champs. February 28 - March 1, 2015. Featuring Patricia Fripp, Darren LaCroix, Ed Tate, Robert Fripp and Tim Gard. Details.

The Toastmasters International convention is in Las Vegas this year,
August 12-15, 2015.



Joke Contest Results — Drugs You Can’t Live Without

January 25th, 2015

Here are the results of our January Joke Contest.  This month’s contest theme was suggested by long-time blog contributor, and funny guy,  Gerald Fleischmann.

The theme is Drugs You Can’t Live Without.  Submissions create a fictional drug, and make up a description of the properties of that drug.

New Joke contests are announced on the first of the month.  The next contest comes out on February 1, 2015.


Jerkoset:  This mood altering drug will give an edge to your tennis game.  Turns timid players into obnoxious, racket-throwing competitors.

Terry Wall, Washington Township, New Jersey


Mirror Image:  Helps you to look good no matter how bad you feel.

Sandy Kampner, Evergreen Park, Illinois


I’melopinPM: Convinces your honey that tonight’s the night.  Caution:  May cause pregnancy within nine months.

Tom Nee, Oak Lawn, Illinois


Avillify:  Used by prosecutors nationwide.

Marty Bernstein, Oak Park, Illinois

HONORABLE MENTION (in random order)

Tusk-A-Loosa:  For boxers.  Fixes loose or missing teeth in a jiffy.

Eaterall:  This drug dissolves all food as it enters the stomach. Benefits: You can eat what you want, when you want, and as much as you want.  Side effect: You get no nutrition from food, necessitating that one day a week you stop the drug and eat healthy food.

Liagra: This drug enables you to tell lies easily. You can even pass lie detector tests. Will not last more than 4 hours.

EXanax:  Mood altering drug for divorcees.

Dope-on-a-Rope: Your stylish new belt holds all your prescription medicines.

XOXO:  Makes you irresistible to the opposite sex.

OXOX:  Makes you irresistible to the same sex.  Recommend storing in different cabinet from XOXO.

ExpungeMySin (generic name xmycin). The wonder drug for all your misdeeds. Manufactured in heaven by God. This amazing pill guarantees forgiveness for all of your sins. Tag line: “Take two tablets, and you don’t have to call Me in the morning.” Black Box Warning: It only works on a spiritual level. It will not help you with your wife, your boss, or law enforcement.

Writer’sUnBlock. When you are stuck at a critical point, and just can’t think of anything, this miracle drug guarantees amazing insights, flashes of inspiration, and bursts of creativity. Works for writing fiction, non-fiction, or comedy. For best results, take just before driving, taking a shower, or wherever you usually come up with ideas. Side effect: Writer’s block can recur after the drug wears off. Repeated use can lead to addiction, dependency, or a Pulitzer Prize.

Bladderall:  Your shy and anti-social bladder will become the life of the party when using a public bathroom in the company of strangers.  Just one tablet a day, and you’ll be able to achieve that flow when you’re on the go!

Humorphine:  For comedians and audiences, relieves the terrible pain of both rejection and bad jokes.

Trainquilizers:  Use this before railroad delays give you a heart attack.

Percrochet:  Absolute necessity for all knit and purlers.

See-Alice:  Not a drug per se, but I’ve seen Alice and that works much better than the pill.

Abracadravir:  Essential for successful magicians.

Ascetic acid:  Vital supplement for certain orders of monks.

Brotox:  Men use this for wrinkles.

Aspenicillin:  This protects you from risks on the ski slopes.

Cleptobismol:  Cures upset stomach caused by shop lifting.

Skunk Away Nasal Spray:  Opens up your sinuses and eliminates all other odors.  Now available in striped-squeeze bottles.

SeeAlice:  This psychedelic cocktail will cure ED.  Side effect: You may become an Alice Cooper junkie.

Morefiend:  Mood altering drug that turns any Dr Jekyll into Mr Hyde.

Observational Humor — Case Study #131

January 20th, 2015

Here is another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting. We’ll look at the set-up. Then we’ll examine the joke and what made the joke work.

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

1. I joked about how it was difficult to get me to smile. It became a running gag as others started to joke about it too.

2. I ran about two minutes over my 20-minute time limit. The Timer joked that DTM means Don’t Time Me.

3. I wasn’t wearing my usual denim shirt. It was cold outside and I
wore a jacket and a sweatshirt.

4. New member Sid Maestry said his name was pronounced like Pastry.

5. A speaker said we would learn something for posterity.

6. My name was mis-spelled on the agenda: KINDY.

7. Part way from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, there is a freeway exit sign
for ZZYZX Road.

8. The word-of-the-day was Esprit de l’escalier, a French phrase.

9. The Master Evaluator critiqued Jens for mis-pronouncing a member’s name.  ”If you do that again Jens, we’ll have to take you out to the parking lot and have you shot.”


(Looking at notes, then looking up) Smile!
(I flashed a big phony smile. It good response from the audience.)

Don’t time me.
(I said it slowly, while looking at the Timer. Good response.)

I’m not wearing my denim shirt tonight. I’ve been placed in the witness protection program.
(A good target of humor since I almost always wore my denim shirt. Big

And Sid Maestry is our newest member. Sounds like Pastry. Our club is finally getting its just desserts.  (Good laugh.)

We’ve had several good speeches tonight. I’m sure you’ve picked up a thing or two for your posterior.
(Playing with a sound-alike word for posterity.)

My name was mis-spelled on the agenda. It’s not Kindy…it’s Kindzzyzx.  The Zs and Xs are silent.

(This spelling mistake was made a couple of months earlier, so I
recycled the joke which had worked well before adding a new topper
about the silent letters. It got a good response, but not as big as the first time I used it.)

Humor tip for the day. Do your humor with esprit de l’escalier. It will give it that certain je ne sais quoi.
(We had pronunciation challenges with the word-of-the-day earlier in
the meeting. It provided a good target for a joke.)

Jens. I’ve been designated as the person to take you out to the parking lot.
(Playing the role of the bouncer, it got a good laugh and provided a nice closer.)

Negative Feedback

January 6th, 2015

A newsletter subscriber cancelled their subscription today. That’s not unusual. Every week I get several cancellations and usually about the same number of new subscribers. His/her note was simply the comment: “You’re NOT funny!” That’s not unusual. I’ve received comments like that before. What was unusual was that it’s been about three years since I’ve received a comment like that. It’s not that other subscribers haven’t thought the same thing in the past three years. It’s just that most people are too nice to be so blunt. Of those who cancel their subscriptions, about 90 percent make no comments. Of the 10 percent who leave a comment 99 percent of them usually say something positive or neutral, like: “Don’t have time to read all my mail,” or “changed jobs, newsletter no longer relevant.”

There have been times in the past when a negative comment may have bothered me. But now I’m comfortable with people having their own opinions. And negative feedback is offset by the many fans and followers who appreciate what I do.

Not everyone agrees with my all of my opinions. I don’t like much of modern “music” which in my opinion does not meet the definition of music. But the creators of that “music” live in extravagant mansions. Obviously, millions of people disagree with me. And the music I like, they probably hate. It would be a boring world if everyone were cookie-cutter clones of me.

It’s even more rare that I get blunt feedback after a live presentation. But 15 years ago a member of the audience shared after the program: “I didn’t think you were funny. I didn’t think one thing you said was the least bit funny.” Fortunately most of the audience laughed in all the right spots. My interaction with that audience member has become one of my signature stories.

And the comment I received today is right now becoming a blog post. When life gives you lemons…well, you know what to do.

New Joke Contest — Drugs You Can’t Live Without

January 1st, 2015

The theme of the January Joke Contest was suggested by Gerald Fleischmann: Drugs You Can’t Live Without.

Your challenge this month is to come up with a new pharmaceutical drug. You could use some of these to descibe your new product:
- Genric Name
- Trade Name
- What it’s made of
- Prescription or OTC
- Recommended dose
- Benefits
- Side effects
- Cost
- Or other relevant information

Here are some examples:

Freelandia. Enjoy the retirement you’ve always dreamed of. The miracle memory drug costs you nothing until you die. At that time your heirs pay for thedrug with the deed to your home.

BoldLangZine: Works with traditional anti-depression drugs to make you the good old fellow you used to be, which nobody can deny. Sold Over the Counter in the alcoholic beverage department. Don’t forget the party hats and noise makers.

PrimalsKreeem: This amazing cream melts your tension away. Side effect: You may be mistaken for a painting by Edvard Munch.

Scamtastic: The 21st Century cure all. Made from organic free radicals of the Nile Valley Golden Asp. Formerly sold only by salesmen from the back of their van. Now available on the internet.

DawnSurprise (balsalmic tri-phosphorus sulfide). Supercharges your elimintion system overnight.

Write as many lines as you can and then submit your three best lines for top-three recognition by our judges. Send your lines to not later than January 15, 2015. If you submit more than three lines, the extra lines will be eligible for Honorable Mention.