Archive for February, 2009

Cartoon Caption Contest Results

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

It’s time for the results of our February Cartoon Caption Contest featuring the art of professional cartoonist Dan Rosandich.

A new caption contest will be announced on March 1.

New Joke Writing Contests are announced mid-month.

Here are this month’s top captions:

** FIRST PLACE **

Dad tried to talk to me about the birds and the bees but it turned out I knew more than he did.
     Gary Bachman, Hagerstown, Maryland, USA

** SECOND PLACE **

You won’t believe what Dad told be about where babies come from.
      Tom Nee, Oak Lawn, Illinois, USA

** THIRD PLACE **

If those kids aren’t going to listen to me I’m going to go try this speech on my wife.
     Andrew Jones, Laie, Hawaii, USA

HONORABLE MENTION (in random order)

  – Dad says a good old newspaper works better than the internet in the bathroom, because that’s one place that shouldn’t be a paperless environment.
  – Yeah, Dad still reads a newspaper AND listens to music on cassette tapes!
  – I told him his epidermis was showing and he got up and walked away.
  – I said:  Don’t believe what you read in the papers dad.  He said:  They wouldn’t print it if it wasn’t true.
  – Mom gave me an increase in my allowance. Dad thought such a raise required bipartisan support.
  – My Dad is always lost–he even needs a GPS for the riding mower.
  – Amazing what Dad will fall for when Mum isn’t around.
  – Thank god my Mom has control of the House… or I would have never gotten my stimulus or err… my allowance.
  – My Uncle Bob asked me if you’d like to see his road kill collection.
  – Wow–dad has really gone downhill since Richard Simmons went off the air.

Visit Dan Rosandich’s cartoon web site for information on how he can create custom cartoons for your book, blog, newsletter, web site, T-shirt, and more!

Observational Humor — Case Study #32

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

It’s time for another Observational Humor monologue.

THE SET-UP (what happened at the meeting before the monologue was presented)

1.  After the prepared speech segment of the meeting, the Emcee of the meeting introduced the impromptu segment by saying, “Now it’s time for the fun part of the meeting.”  Then she realized that she might have been suggesting that the speeches were not fun and corrected herself, “All parts of the meeting are fun.”

2.  While critiquing a speech delivered by Frank, the evaluator mentioned that he was bigger than life, not quiet, meek and feeble.

3.  A speaker demonstrated how over-gesturing can look unnatural.

4.  Frank took the stage before he started his speech and as though he were dancing with the Emcee, he leaned her backwards in a dance move referred to as a DIP.

5.  Frank later in the meeting noted that tonight was Roast-Frank-night, as he was the butt of many jokes.

6.  Bryant gave a speech titled A Day At The Beach.  He used BEACH as an acronym to explain good delivery techniques.

7.  One of the techniques he suggested was maintaining eye contact with someone until they nod in agreement.

8.  A speaker shared a memorable day when she had connected with someone who told her that she reminded him of his mother:  “And we both cried.”

THE MONOLOGUE

NOW we’ve arrived at the FUN part!
(A callback to the correction made by the Emcee.)

And it’s presented by your quiet, meek and feeble Observational Humor Master.
(Self deprecation.)

(while gesturing wildly) Does anyone have any Observational Humor to share?

In keeping with the theme of the meeting:  Did you notice that Frank did a dance move with the person who introduced him?  That move was called a DIP.  Which explains why every time we hear someone mention the word DIP…we think of Frank.
(Picks up on the roast-meeting-theme suggested by Frank.  Then plays with the double meaning of the word DIP.)

Here’s a tip for great eye contact.  Maintain your eye contact with someone until you notice they’re nodding off.
(Note that adding the word OFF does a nice job of changing the meaning of the word NODDING to an almost opposite meaning.)

At the next meeting Bryant will be giving a speech on controlling nervousness.  He’ll suggest imagining the audience naked.  It’s called A Day At The Nude Beach.
(Uses the cliche suggestion of “naked audience” to twist the title of Bryant’s speech.)

How many people have been to a nude beach before (five hands raised)?  I was at one in San Diego.  A man came up to me and told me that I reminded him of his mother.  And we both cried.
(Strong closer.  MOTHER was a punch word for the joke.  “And We Both Cried” was a totally unexpected topper.  Big laugh.)

New Joke Contest — Creative Humor Writing

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

Our contest theme for February is Quirky Breakfast Foods.

We announce new Joke Contests in the middle of the month.

And our Cartoon Caption Contests are announced on the first of the month.

Here are some possible lines for this month’s theme:

Quirky Breakfast Foods

Snap Crackle Pop:  The breakfast of Chiropractors.

Chex Mate:  Castle your king for a royal breakfast.

Eggs Benedict:  A Vatican favorite.

See how many lines you can create.  Select your best ones and submit them to HumorPowerTips@HumorPower.com by February 28, 2009.

Creative Humor Writing — Joke Contest Results

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

It’s time for the results of the Unlikely New Year’s Resolutions Contest.

We announce a new joke contest Mid-Month.

And our new Cartoon Caption Contest is announced on the first of the month.

Here are the top entries from this month’s contest:

** FIRST PLACE **

Marcel Marceau:  Join Toastmasters International.
     Gary Bachman, Hagerstown, Maryland, USA

**SECOND PLACE **

Charles Darwin:  Jog more, play more tennis, join a Gym…whatever it takes to get myself really fit.
     Sol Morrison, Santa Barbara, California, USA

** THIRD PLACE **

Majority of the population:  Vow to love the job they are lucky to have.
     Jim Spero, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
 
HONORABLE MENTION (in random order)

  – President Obama.   More “Me” time in the new year.
  – Stevie Wonder:  Obtain his driver’s license.
  – Dick Cheney:  Teach a course on gun safety.
  – Pope Benedict:  Join an online dating service.
  – Pope Benedict:  Enter my egg-dish recipe in a contest.
  – Energizer Bunny:  Keep going and going and going on Duracell batteries.
  – Count Dracula:  Get more sun.
  – Hugh Hefner:  Take a vow of chastity.
  – Narcissus:  Volunteer to help others.
  – Adam and Eve:  Spend more time with friends.
  – Warren Buffett:  Win the lottery.
  – King Kong:  Remember that blondes are NOT more FUN.
  – George Bush:  Get a job. Consider automotive industry.
  – Samson:  Strengthen my relationship with an awesome Buzz Cut. 
  – Mickey Mouse:  Ask the head of Disney Studios for two more fingers.
  – Barack Obama:  Change my name to Barack Osama
  – Oprah Winfrey combines her NY Resolution with her April fools trick:  Promote books that really suck.
  – CEO’s:  Resolve to cut our pay in half for the good of society.
  – Satan:  Spend more time on Earth. (But by the end of January He gets mugged and bails below.)
  – Congress votes to move April fool’s day to Jan 3rd to give people an easier way to explain there lack of will power.
  – John McCain: Not to giggle everyday in the senate when he is so glad that he did not win and get blamed for the country’s problems.
  – Paul McCartney: To have an iron-clad pre-nup written.
  – Santa Claus:  Relax knowing that next year’s haul will be half of this year’s due to economic conditions.
  – John McCain:  Say “the fundamentals of the economy are sound” more often in conversations.
  – CEO of Lehman Brothers:  Apologize to the shareholders and to the public.
  – Osama:  To give myself up.
  – Mick Jagger: I should just be satisfied.
  – Bill Gates:  Ask Steve Jobs how to build software without bugs.
  – Lone Ranger: Ask Tonto what ‘keemosabee’ means, and this time, don’t laugh.
  – Captain Kirk:  Ask Spock what his first name is, and this time, write it down.
  – Ronald McDonald:  Try to cheer up a little.
  – Bozo the Clown:  Don’t be such a bozo.
  – Alfred E. Newman:  It’s okay for me to worry a little.
  – Osama bin Laden:  Develop a kinder, gentler form of terrorism, and buy some air freshener for the cave.
  – Barack Obama:  Encourage Americans to grow and put up fruits and vegetables:  “Yes, we CAN!”
  – Barack Obama:  Turn Guantanamo into a spa for rich Republicans.
  – Al Gore:  Use the internet to stop global warming.
  – Oprah Winfrey:  To finally release my exercise video.
  – Rod Blagojevich:  Move into a big house with lots of rooms and secure locks on all the doors.
  – Caroline Kennedy:  Run for Mayor of Poughkeepsie.
  – John McCain:  Run for president in 2012.
  – Bernie Madoff:  Find investors for a new fund.
  – Noah:  Put the porcupines and the skunks at opposite ends of the Ark.

Observational Humor — Case Study #31

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

Here’s another Observational Humor monologue presented at a Toastmasters meeting.  Everyone can learn skills from studying a Toastmasters monologue.  Just as you can learn by watching a Jay Leno or David Letterman monologue, even though you don’t want to be a talk show host.  You can also learn from watching what successful politicians do, even though you’ll never run for office.  And you could learn from examining what stand-up comics do, even though you’ll never perform in a comedy club.  It’s all relevant.  Being a Toastmaster has little to do with learning good techniques from an Observational Humor Case Study.

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

1.  The General Evaluator (who evaluates the overall conduct of the meeting) complimented the club on the smooth flow of the meeting and the “snappy transitions.”

2. The theme was the Christmas Season.  The emcee of the meeting joked about bringing in camels and wise men.  He suggested we should relax with a “cup of cheer.”

3.  The Crystal Cathedral in Southern California stages two large productions each year:  The Glory of Christmas and The Glory of Easter.

4.  It was mentioned twice that a Timer would be timing all parts of the meeting.

5.  A reference to New Year’s Resolutions:  The emcee asked, “It’s 2009.  Do you know where your life is?”

6.  Anita went to the front of the room to deliver an impromptu speech.  Her husband Jim reminded her to shake the hand of the emcee.  Then Anita took a long pause before speaking, when Jim said:  “Now you talk.”  A big laugh.

7.  Frank gave a speech and mentioned that he was from a very large family.  He also recited a clever holiday poem which did not rhyme.  Frank is a bigger than life guy in every way.

8.  Bryant talked about being ticklish and that his wife was especially ticklish.  Pam, his wife, heckled him from the audience.  Bryant held up his index finger, “Don’t make me go there!”

9.  Speakers John and Clayton did a great job delivering two very long poems.

10.  Steve and Erin Pavlina attend alternate meetings while the other stays home with the kids.  A couple of weeks earlier I suggested that maybe Erin doesn’t really exist and that on alternate meeting dates Steve comes dressed as Erin.  Then at last week’s club holiday party, they both showed up together at the party.

11. Steve Pavlina mentioned his new book, “Personal Development for Smart People.

12.  Our club has a special meeting on the second Monday of the month to orient new club members.  We call it the Power-Up meeting.

13.  A speaker said he’d step out of is comfort zone by going out in public in a pink wig.

THE MONOLOGUE

Mr Snappy Transition…that’s me.
(Self deprecation.  A reference to my low-key style.)

Welcome to the Glory of Toastmasters.
(Linking the emcee’s remarks to South West USA pop culture.)

Last night, I was sitting at home…ready to do my laundry…with a cup of Cheer.
(Playing with alternate word meaning.)

We’ll be timing our Observational Humor remarks tonight.  They’ll be between 10 seconds and 10 minutes…plus or minus 30 seconds.
(We have no time limits for Observational Humor remarks.  This was a funny way of saying that.)

This is 2009…do you know where your wife is.
(Playing with rhyme and similar sounding words.  This line was delivered primarily as a set-up for the next line.)

That is an especially important question for Jim since he always needs to know where Anita is so he can tell her what to do.
(A topper for the previous line.)

Why does it come as no surprise to me that Frank comes from a very big family?
(A good line directed at an over-the-top speaker and performer.)

(Pam made a humorous observational comment)  Pam…don’t make me go there (holding up my index finger).

What a treat, John and Clayton treated us to poetry that rhymes.
(A simple observation.  A good laugh.)

A couple of weeks ago I had suggested that when Erin Pavlina comes to the meeting it’s really Steve Pavlina in drag.  People at the holiday party who saw both Steve and Erin attending the party said:  “That blows your theory.  There IS an Erin Pavlina.”  Actually my theory still stands.  At the party, I watched very closely and noticed that I never saw Erin talking while Steve was drinking water!
(Suggesting that Steve was a ventriloquist.)

Steve inspired me to write a humor book:  Observational Humor for Smart People.  Only people from MENSA will be able to buy it.  There is a MENSA club which meets on the first and third Tuesdays.  But if you’re not a member, on the second Tuesday you can attend MENSA-UP.
(Tied together a reference from Steve’s book with our Power-Up meeting reference.)

Tomorrow I’m going to step outside my comfort zone.  I’m going to take off my wig and let people see my pink hair.
(A reversal.)

SuperBowl Ads 2009

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

Going for the buzz without getting Stung

Ads on SuperBowl 43

Bad Buzz:  The cheap joke.  A kick in the groin may be good for a laugh.  But it’s certainly not sophisticated, original or memorable.

Bad Buzz:  The cutsie joke or simple pun.  Again, the easy way out.  Not likely to be talked about at the water cooler

Mixed buzz:  The one-second commercial.  The Super Bowl ad hype is all about BIG.  The game is big.  The ad price tag is big.  The ads are entertaining in a big way.  How about a strategy of Less-is-More?  Play up the fact that you’re going to have a ONE SECOND ad.  They received free publicity and an audience anticipating watching the minimal ads.  The execution was something else.  Did they air a one-second ad?  Did I blink at the wrong time?  I had a TV in the bathroom.  Maybe Less-Got-Missed.

Mixed buzz:  The 3-D Ad.  Again, something different creates buzz.  The 3-D ad publicity was picked up by our local TV News program here in Las Vegas.  They even showed a clip from the commercial.  The glasses were available locally and they were free.  Good buzz if it had delivered.  I’ve seen good 3-D on a TV screen before, but not today.  For sure, I wouldn’t have wanted to watch 30 minutes of it.

Mixed Buzz:  A rejected ad can be both positive and negative.  This year a 30-second PETA ad was rejected for being too sexual.  PETA ads are often on-the-edge, but they’re certainly not the only ads on the airwaves featuring scantily clothed women.  Like a woman in a bikini selling cars makes more sense?  I sometimes suspect that vegetarians make people more uncomfortable than naked people.  Never-the-less, they received a ton of FREE publicity.  It’s like an R-rated movie getting free publicity from a church protest. PETA had lots of people see their ad and it didn’t cost them $3 million for a Super Bowl spot. A positive result from PETA’s viewpoint.  Personally I didn’t find the ad offensive, enticing, or effective.

Good Buzz:  As usual the Humor ads dominated the day’s commercials.  They’ll be remembered and talked about.  Typically 70-80% of the SuperBowl ads feature humor or at least try to make you smile.

Here are some of my favorite SuperBowl 2009 Ads

Monster.com

Budweiser

Budweiser

Teleflora

Hundai

CareerBuilder

Bridgestone Tires

Coca Cola

Cars.com

Priceline

Creating Humor — New Cartoon Caption Contest

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

It’s February and time for a new Cartoon Caption Contest featuring the art of cartoonist Dan Rosandich.

On the first of every month we announce a new Cartoon Caption Contest.

And mid-month we announce a new Joke Writing Contest.

Here is this month’s cartoon and some sample captions:

I convinced him that my allowance is an effective stimulus program.

Dad sat down on one end of the teeter totter and I haven’t seen Jimmy since.

He gave me the Steelers and 20 points!

Put your creativity cap on and see how many captions you can create.  Set them aside for a day or two and then revisit your captions to edit and improve the lines.  Select your best captions and submit them to HumorPowerTips@HumorPower.com by February 15, 2009.

Visit the web site of Dan Rosandich for information on how he can create custom cartoons for your next project, book, article, newsletter, T-Shirt, blog post and more.