New Contest — Complex or Insignificant

September 1st, 2015

The time for September’s joke contest has arrived.

Here is the Theme for this month’s joke contest:  How-To Book Titles — The Complex or The Insignificant. 

Your challenge is to create a book title for an imaginary How-To book on the subject of something big and complex or something small and insignificant.

Here are three complex subjects and three insignificant ones.

How to visit Mars and Safely Return On a Fixed Income.
Mastering The Do-It-Yourself Kidney Transplant.
A Seven Figure Bank Account Without Working or Saving.

Rain Watching For Fun and Profit.
They Laughed Until I Changed a Roll of Toilet Paper.
How To Remove a Soda Straw’s Protective Sleeve.

Start your humor engines. Write as many book titles as you can and
then submit the best ones to
Your first three submissions should be your best lines. The will be
reviewed by the panel of judges for the Top Three recognition.
Submissions after your first three will be eligible for honorable mention.
Make your submissions by September 15, 2015.

Joke Contest Results — The Big But

August 31st, 2015

It’s time for the results of the August joke contest.

The theme of the contest is THE BIG BUT.

The challenge to the write is to write a line where the word BUT changes the meaning of the end of the sentence in a funny way.

Joke contests are announced on the first of the month.

The next joke contest will be announced tomorrow.


She looked like a keeper, but needed a finder.
Cindy Tebo, St Louis, Missouri


The restaurant sign said “all you can eat” but I had to stop after fifteen plates.
Sandy Kampner, Evergreen Park, Illinios


The doctor is on time today, but he will see you as soon as possible.
David Novick, Dayton, Ohio

HONORABLE MENTION (in random order)

The Caesar Salad looked like a picture from a gourmet magazine, but
tasted like a magazine too.

Our plane arrived in Tokyo 8 hours late, but our luggage arrived right
on time, in Dublin.

I was going to write a comprehensive book of jokes but I found out that every joke has already been written.

I took a picture of my grandson’s giant Lego castle but he knocked it
down before I could post the photo on line.

I thought that my boss was giving me a thumbs up, but it wasn’t his

The sign said Take One but I paid anyway in case someone was

The traffic light said Turn on Red but I waited because I just don’t trust
traffic lights.

My mechanic fixed my window washer but now the rest of the car
doesn’t work.

I couldn’t believe that I won the lottery but when I looked closely I

The realtor showed three houses to the young professional couple…but all three were within the couple’s price range.

The mechanic spent an hour working on the engine…but he said he made all of the necessary repairs.

He pleaded innocent to all of the charges…but he had a watertight alibi.

He said he only had a few drinks at the party…but he assured us that he would be OK to drive.

She followed her original plan of training for the marathon…but she is
sure she will be able to finish.

His account of the fishing trip was exaggerated…but at times he
stretched the truth

He said the tightness in his pitching arm was minimal…but he assured
the manager that he would be able to pitch tomorrow.

She thought she was a good driver but the grass had no lines.

She thought she was a good doctor but she needed patients.

The bus came in on time, but Sue missed it because it was always late.

A politician’s pre-election promise is a joke, but it takes a humourist to
execute it.

Yeah right is a double positive, but when spoken backflips to a negative, right?

Lessons from a Pro

August 29th, 2015

Interview with a Rock Icon: Teamwork in the Music Industry.  A three-part article by Terry Wall, featuring wisdom from Jorma Kaukonen, best known as lead guitarist for the Jefferson Airplane.

The article/interview will provide food-for-thought. It will stimulate your thinking in new ways and refresh what you already know.

Even phrases which you might have already heard can stimulate your
thinking. For example, Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance,
a saying which I know from the military training world, is sage advice
for speakers, musicians, and business leaders. And gets me thinking of
the flip side of the statement: Proper Preparation Promotes Polished
Performance. While saying the same thing, it approaches the advice
from another angle, stimulating your creativity and thinking. And it
reminds me that that I’m not at peace with a presentation or program
until I’m fully prepared. Dreaming about not being prepared for an
event is a nightmare.

One of my favorite quotes from the interview is: “It’s what I don’t do
that’s more important than what I do.” This is the profound message
that power often comes from “what you don’t do.” For example, the
improv principle “Yes And” is a creative stepping-stone for a team. The
power of the Yes-And technique is what you DON’T do. You don’t deny
other people’s ideas. You don’t block their suggestions. You don’t stop
the creative process by sticking a big BUT into the brain-storm process.

The article also gets you thinking about the supportive process or
background support which is so important in music. I’m familiar with
the importance of support in Barbershop harmony singing. The baritone singer gets all the strange notes. These are the notes which, when heard alone, don’t sound anything like music. But when blended with the other three parts, the magic happens. Someone needs to pick up and sing the left-over notes needed to make the quartet’s chords ring. That’s the job of the baritone.

The interview shares the importance of letting someone else have the
spotlight to make the whole process shine. In comedy the straight-man provides backup support by delivering the set-up and lets the comic harvest the laughs. Let someone else be the hero and the team is the star.

Check out the article/interview. It will get you thinking of examples
from your own life, improving your performance, empowering your
leadership, and strengthening your teamwork.

Interview With a Rock Icon

Observational Humor — Case Study # 138

August 21st, 2015

Here is another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a Toastmasters meeting. The principles used to create the humor are the same ones you would use to present a single joke at any meeting you might attend.

Observational Humor is usually the kind of humor where “you had to be there” for it to be funny. So, I’m preparing you for the monologue by giving you the set-up for the jokes.

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

1. Bobby said that he was getting old, but not as old as John Kinde.

2. It was a very hot day in Las Vegas. Some members, including me,
were wearing shorts.

3. Beverly jokingly said she prepared for the meeting by having a beer.

4. I had a soda bottle with me.

5. Ryan gave a speech and demonstrated Dual-Tasking. He pretended
to be brushing his teeth while doing a squatting exercise.

6. A speaker said she had burn scars on her arms.

7. We had a full-roast at our meeting six weeks ago. John Kinde was

8. One of the table topics presented was, “If your house was on fire,
what would you take with you?”

9. One of the table topics was, “Taking a trip to the Sun.”

10. One of the table topics was, “would you rather be a dog with a cat
head, or be a cat with a dog head”.

11.  A speaker joked about a member who only opened his mouth when he had something to say.

12. One of the Table Topics was, “Would you rather eat a spider or a


(I made my entrance using a walker.) I am a professional Bobby
Williams impersonator.
(Bobby setup this joke by calling me old. Good opener.)

Have you noticed…all the young people are wearing shorts?
(Joke based on the truth. Only the younger people were wearing shorts. Except for me, an older person wearing shorts. I am implying that I am a young person.)

(I entered carrying my soda bottle.)
Beverly drinks beer before the meeting. I drink beer during the meeting.
(I could have made this even more absurd saying: I drink beer while I’m speaking.)

What am I doing? Observational Humor (said while squatting).

Our club had a roast last month. Who was roasted? The person with the burn scars (pointing at my arms).

If I wake up and my house is burning, I’m going to do a Table Topic
(Reference to an impromptu speech. The trigger, absurdity and a

I’m going to vacation on the Sun. It’s cooler than Las Vegas.
(Exaggerating the heat of Las Vegas by comparing it with the sun.)

I never open my mouth unless I have something funny to say.
(Twist of a call-back.)

Question of the day. Would you rather eat a spider with a worm
head…or eat a worm with a spider head.
(Call-back and twist of two impromptu speech topics.)

It Was So Humid…

August 6th, 2015

Talking to friends on two separate phone calls last month, I heard complaints about the high humidity.  The perfect opportunity for  a humor writing exercise:

It was so Humid….

It was so humid I took out the boat and water skied once around the block.

It was so humid when I went to check the mail box I did the back stroke.

It was so humid when I took a shower I didn’t need to turn on the water.

It was so humid I dried off when I got out of the pool and then again
before I went into the house.

It was so humid when I got thirsty I just took a deep breath and

It was so humid before I went to bed I threw a cup of Tide in the bed and in the morning my sheets were washed and rinsed.

It was so humid that my frost-free freezer gave me all the free frost I

It was so humid we had a huge rain storm and nobody but the cats and dogs even noticed.

It was so humid when the fish get hungry, they crawl out of the bowl and get their own lunch.

It was so humid I didn’t have to lick my stamps, I just waved them in the air.

New Contest — The Big But

August 1st, 2015

Here is our new August joke contest.

New contests are announced on the first of the month.

Our next contest is on September 1, 2015.

This month’s theme is The Big But.  The jokes will explore how a misplaced BUT can mix up the intended meaning of a sentence.

Here are three examples:

She looked like a super model…but she had a nice personality.

The dish looked like a picture from a gourmet magazine…but it tasted amazingly good.

The plane arrived eight hours late…but all our luggage was stolen.

See what twists you can weave into a sentence by putting a BUT into the mix. Send us your most creative lines by August 15, 2015. Your first three entries will be eligible for Top-Three selection. Extra lines will be eligible for Honorable Mention.  Submit your lines to

Joke Contest Results — Sounds Like

July 27th, 2015

It’s time for the results of our July joke contest.

The feedback from our readers was that it was one of our most difficult contests.

The theme of the contest was:  Sounds Like

New contests are announced on the first of the month.

Look for the next contest on August 1, 2015

Here are the top entries.


The sound of my son’s set of drums falling over a cliff:  Bah dump bump.

Marty Bernstein, Oak Park, Illinios


The sound of cashing my paycheck:  Clinkety clink.

Sandy Kampner, Evergreen Park, Illinois


A costume malfunction on TV: Sounds like a million eyebrows raising in unison.

Gerald Fleishmann, Fountain Valley, California

HONORABLE MENTION (in random order)

Upon encountering a snake under my house…the sound I make exiting: Thump, thump, thump, thump.

My first expression upon falling into an open septic tank: Oh crap…

Siblings: Stop touching me! Poke, poke, poke.

Reporting from California, the sound of rain: Oops…forgot what it sounds like!

The sound after my wife’s big announcement:  You’re WHAT!

The sound of me after a weekend bender: I know I work around here somewhere.

Sound of my teen learning to drive: Screech screech screech BUMP.

The sound of going on the wagon: Glug, glug, as you pour your best booze down the drain.

The sound after hearing Honey I’m pregnant:  A pregnant pause.

The sound of mowing a lawn that hasn’t been mowed lately:  Where’s Fluffy?

Love at first sight. That sound you hear is common sense leaving your body.

As I get out of bed in the morning, my back snaps, crackles, and pops.  Sounds like what I’m having for breakfast.

The hushed buzzing sound in the air are all the secrets from people who promised they’d keep it a secret.

That rumbling sound underground is all our ancestors turning over in their graves.

The gymnast’s son checking out his dad’s bed. Sproing, sproing, sproing.

The silence sounds of a wise husband even though he is right.

The sound of my palm hitting my forehead when after ten minutes I finally find my sunglasses on top of my head: Thwack!

Huckabee trashing Jeb: Bushwhack.

Operating Sonar while playing a college drinking game: Ping-pong.

Shooting the hair that covers your forehead: Bang-bang.

American Pharoah declining to run at Saratoga:  Neigh.

Hillary taking the tough questions: The Sounds of Silence.

Hillary opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Flip-flop.

Smoking pot while operating Sonar: Ping-bong.

The sound of my brain writing jokes: ha, ha ha, eh, ugh, oh no! hee hee, hahahahaha…yeah, that one!

Top Ten List

July 22nd, 2015

I miss David Letterman and his Top Ten Lists. If he were still making his nightly appearances, we would probably see something funnier than this:

Ten Things We’re Waiting for Trump to Say

“I didn’t say anything about John McCain. The creature on my head is a ventriloquist.”

“What I said was that McCain liked to serve greek sandwiches and that doesn’t make him a Gyro.”

“I called John McCain to tell him I was joking. He said that he prefers
jokes that weren’t shot down.”

“I may not have been in the military, but I have experience in combat.
Rosie scratched me with her fingernails and I pulled some of her hair

“I admit, I shot myself in he foot. I’m hoping that makes me a hero.
That was a joke. The hero part was just a joke.”

“I’d consider being a Vice Presidential nominee in 2016, if Palin doesn’t
take the slot.”

“I auditioned for Last Comic Standing. At the end of the pilot episode
the producer said: You’re Fired!”

“I had a humor writer on my staff. I’ve revised the job description to
include the word FUNNY.”

“My first choice for running mate would be Rosie…if only she’d kiss my
ring…which I carry in my back pocket.”

“I am the professional wrestler of politics.”

“They’re making a documentary about my campaign. Mission
Impossible…Trump for President. Should you accept this mission, your
party will self-destruct in 60 seconds.”

Political Humor

July 19th, 2015

Trump in the spotlight. His statement about McCain: “He was a hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Trump’s problems were
- that he let his feud with McCain get the best of him,
- that he was trying too hard to be funny,
- that he was speaking before thinking,
- that he was ignoring the fact that when you get shot down, it’s less a case of wrong-place at the wrong-time, and it’s more a case of having volunteered to be in a place of danger.
- that he shot himself in the foot, which does not make him a hero.

Advice to politicians:
- Think before you speak.
- Don’t be a humor terrorist. Bombing will get you nowhere.
- Avoid the humor penalty box. Issuing an apology one hour later is not good politics.
- When you’re rich and famous, your opponents will be waiting in line to attack you.
- The harder you try to be funny, the less funny you’ll be. That’s a rule of the improv stage.
- Unless you have the gift of instantaneous humor, plan your spontaneous humor remarks in advance, written by a staff of humor experts more talented than you. Late-night talk-show hosts don’t wing it when giving their monologues. They are among the most talented humor experts in the country, and they rely on a team of professional writers to make them look good.
- Look for opportunities to poke fun at yoursself. Self-deprecating humor rarely needs an apology. Reagan had a reputation for good humor. Many of his memorable lines were self-deprecating. In a debate with Mondale he made fun of his age: “I will not make age an issue in this campaign. I will not exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” When he was shot, his words to Nancy at the hotpital were: “Honey I fogot to duck.” Jokingly taking responsibility for getting hit. And to the doctors: “I hope you are all Republicans.” One of the most powerful leaders in the world, joking that the doctors had the power.
- Winging it may be fun and exciting, but it’s probably not the path to the White House.

PowerHouse Pros Roast

July 15th, 2015

Our PowerHouse Pros Toastmasters Roast was about two weeks ago. The edited video is now ready! Special thanks to Philip Dahlheimer for his video expertise in shooting and editing the program. The final edited program  runs one hour.   So bring you popcorn.

Carolyn Pelletier was a wonderful Roast Master. And our Roasters hit the mark: George Gilbert, Bill Parker, Melanie Hope, Ryan Mulligan, Jens Norgaard, Karen Lewison, Bobby Williams, Al Jensen, Beverly Rideout, Greg Bruce, Linda Evans, and Scott Pritchard.  It’s an honor to have such a great group of friends.   Thank you for a fun and memorable evening.

Click here to watch the Roast.