Archive for June, 2009

Cartoon Caption Contest Results

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Our panel of ten judges (speakers and improv comedy players) have cast their ballots for the June Cartoon Caption Contest — Layoff Notice.  Our contests feature the artwork of professional cartoonist Dan Rosandich.

Our next Cartoon Caption Contest is announced July 1.

New Joke Contests are announced mid-month.

Here are this month’s top lines.


I guess I’ll have to do all my web surfing at home now.

     Sandy Kampner, Evergreen Park, Illinois, USA


After 20 years I finally got noticed.
     Tom Nee, Oak Lawn, Illinois, USA

I think I’ll start my own business, but I can’t decide between selling real estate or opening a car dealership.
     Gary Bachman, Hagerstown, Maryland, USA

HONORABLE MENTION (in random order)

  – I can understand laying off office personnel, but we’re the only two brain surgeons the hospital has!
  – You, me, a torch, gasoline, right here, 8 tonight, you in?
  – Can I hang with you until I get a job, my family sorta thinks I’m the boss where I work.
  – Can’t believe I now bought these pens to make me look more professional!
  – We’re partners, how could we do this to each other.
  – I’d be afraid to give it to Bubba too.
  – We are really lucky!  We collect more in Unemployment than we would be paid under the new contract.
  – My name is misspelled here…So it may not be me.
  – Only 998 more of these and the CEO gets a bonus.
   – I need a box for all my Employee of the Month awards.
   – Sure I don’t have long blond hair and a nice body, but why me?
  – I was expecting The Golden Parachute…but all I got was A Lead Balloon.
  – Mine is addressed To Whom It May Concern.
  – I should have known after they took my name off my parking space.
  – Accidently e-mail the formula for Coca Cola to all our competitors and look what happens.
  – Who knew the boss would track on-line Sudoku.
  – I would have been happier if my WIFE had given me a lay off notice.
  – Oh sorry, I didn’t realize I left your annual review in the Xerox.
  – If only we had the cover letter, we’d know whom this fax was supposed to go to.
  – Don’t worry. The guy who made my toupee said we can go into business with him.
  – What really hurts is our company manufactures legal stationery for business use, and I  designed this Form!
  – For Lent, I vowed to lay off all vices.  Now the company is laying off all the Vices.
  – Well, as they say, “When one door closes, another opens.”  Just so long as it doesn’t open onto an empty elevator shaft.
  – No sweat, really…I’ve got enough money to retire on, provided I die within three months!
  – Not so much a death sentence, it’s our get out of jail free card.
  – Since we work for a top major league baseball team, I was expecting that we’d get a playoff notice!
  – I’d retire but I’m lousy at golf, fishing and living on nothing.
  – I knew it would come to this…but I hoped it would be after I retired.
  – I had a full head of hair like yours when I started working for this company.
  – I’m blowing the whistle, are you in or out?

Visit the website of Dan Rosandich to see how he can create custom cartoons for your special project, book, newsletter, website, T-Shirt and more.

Observational Humor — Case Study #37

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Here is a brief bit Observational Humor I used as an opening remark at the Las Vegas Chapter of the National Speakers Association.  Patricia Fripp was the featured speaker presenting a full-day program.  Her program included individual coaching of audience members presenting speech openings. 

I typically open my speeches with Observational Humor, so my “speech opening” was a short segment of humor.

The Set Up (what happened and what was said before I delivered the observational remarks).

1.  RJ DiDonato is our Chapter President Elect.

2.  Fripp mentioned that she was 5′ 1″ tall.

3.  During her program Fripp mentioned that one of her DVDs had a technical issue that made her look wider than she really is.

4.  The night before the meeting, chapter board members joined Fripp for dinner.  She ordered a scallop dinner.

My Speech Opening

“Would you find it interesting to know how we find our speakers for Chapter programs?  Last evening, RJ and I were driving to the Bahama Breeze restaurant for dinner.  As we approached the restaurant, we noticed a woman, about five-foot-one, standing on the corner of Flamingo and Paradise.  The first thing we noticed was that, for some reason, standing on the corner made her look wider than she really was.  The second thing we noticed was that she was holding a cardboard sign:  ‘Will speak for scallops.’  So we picked her up.  And that’s how we find speakers for our programs.  Would you find it interesting to learn how to create fresh, observational humor that you could use as an opener for one of your speeches?”


1.  I made reference to the woman’s height to make it immediately clear I was talking about Fripp, without saying her name.

2.  The scallop dinner was an inside joke, since most attendees were not at the dinner and the menu selections were not mentioned at the program.  I felt that it was OK since I was using the classic format of “holding a cardboard sign” (people anticipate a punchline) and also because scallops is a funny word.  The line received a very good laugh.

3.  The transition into my “speech” used a question in the same format as my opening.  This book-ended my opener and led me smoothly into the body of my “speech.”

4.  The “standing on the corner made her look wider than she really was” line received the biggest laugh.

5.  The sequence would have been funnier if I had used THREE things we noticed about the woman on the corner (triplets and the rhythm of humor).  I didn’t have a third item that I felt was strong enough, so I went with just two “things we noticed.”

6.  Fripp’s Speaking School is next week, June 29-30, in Las Vegas.  It’s a great investment.  Highly recommended.

Joke Contest — Retirement Gifts

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

This month’s Joke Contest was suggested by Sol Morrison, Santa Barbara, California.  The theme is Retirement Gifts.

New Joke Contests are announced mid-month.

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

Your writing challenge is to come up with ideal retirement gifts for famous people.  Here are some examples:

Bernie Madoff:  A cell phone…so he can make calls from his cell.
Mary Kay:  A pink walker.
Bill Gates:  An Apple computer.

Exercise your creativity and let us know what the ideal retirement gift would be for celebrities, politicians, fictional characters, historical figures, etc.  Evaluate your lines and then send your best ones to by June 30, 2009.

The Chemistry of Humor

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

What are the factors that make for good audience response when delivering humor?

1.  A good joke.  Obviously a good piece of humor with the right structure, setup and punchline is important…but not the only factor.  In fact, good humor is often not the most important factor.  And let’s add good delivery.  Also important, but not the most important factor.

2.  The customization of the material.  When the humor is tailored for the group the laughs are likely to be big.  This includes inside jokes.  This includes observational humor.  This includes involving the audience members in the humor or bringing them on the platform with you.

3.  The size of the audience is a big factor.  Over 100 is great.  More than 50 is good.  Less than 20 starts to border on too small.  But even 10 people can react enthusiastically if the humor is on target and customized.

4.  The reputation of the speaker is a factor.  Does the audience know the speaker as either a funny or a not-funny speaker.  Either case can be a plus for the speaker.  It’s when the audience doesn’t know anything about the speaker that can have a negative impact on the response.

5.  The relationship of the audience members…to each other.  An audience that knows and likes each other is a good thing for humor.  Laughter is a social experience.  People are not likely to laugh as loud when surrounded by strangers or people they don’t like.

6.  The relationship of the audience members…to the speaker.  It helps a lot if they like the speaker.

7.  The mood of the day.  What’s in the news today?  What else is on the program agenda?  In other words, what is the collective mood of the audience as you begin speaking.

As you can see, good laughter is more than just a good joke delivered well.  The right chemistry of people and circumstances is important.  When the mix is good, the laughter comes.

Joke Contest Results — The Car Business

Friday, June 5th, 2009

It’s time for the results of The Car Business joke writing contest.

New Joke Contests are announced mid-month.  Look for the next one on June 15.

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

Here are this month’s top lines.


If women made cars, men would never know if the car was really turned on, or if it was faking it.

     Donna Kopf, Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA


If the federal government made cars, they would come with a parachute in case of a bailout.

     Marty Bernstein, Oak Park, Illinois, USA


If Toastmasters made cars, the DTM model would never stop at red lights.
     Rich Hopkins, Spokane, Washington, USA

HONORABLE MENTION (In random order)

  – If American Airlines made cars, they’d charge extra for the baggage compartment.
  – If the credit card industry made cars, they’d run on hidden charges.
  – If the House of Representatives made cars, they’d run on hot air.
  – If Westinghouse made cars, they would be Wewwy wewwy comfortable because they would be made especially for Westing aftew a Wong day.
  – If Amana made cars, they would always be in Radar Range.
  – If Sony made cars, they would be instantly obsolete.
  – If AARP made cars, the Turn Signal would always be on.
  – If Fox news channel made cars, they would only turn to the Right.
  – If Playboy made cars, the headlights and Trunk would look magnificent.
  – If Universal Studios Made cars, they would all cost a fortune and about one out of four would be a great ride.
  – If Hershey made cars, you would want the model with nuts so that it will not fall apart.
  – If Tostitos made cars, they would be outstanding in dips.
  – If Nestle Quick made cars, you would constantly get speeding tickets because you can’t drive it slow if it’s Quick.
  – If Congress made cars, they would take years to build, be way overpriced and no matter what you bought you would buy something different every 2 years. And the new one would be worse than the old one.
  – If  Armour Meat company made cars, who would love them?  Fat dudes, Skinny Dudes, Dudes who climb on Rocks.  Tough Dudes, Sissy Dudes even Dudes with Chicken Pox.
  – If Commonwealth Edison made cars, they would include a 300 mile long extention cord in the trunk.
  – IF AARP made cars, they would have to be re-tired more often.
  – If K-Mart made cars, they would be on sale in aisle nine for the next 15 minutes only.
  – If McDonalds made cars, you could supersize from a Beetle to a Hummer for just a few thousand dollars more.
  – If Microsoft made cars they would be updated every two years, but would still be prone to crashing.
  – If slot machine companies made cars, every third vehicle would be a lemon.
  – If Caterpillar made cars, they would be indestructible and would travel at 5 mph.
  – If Chris-Craft Powerboat Company made cars, the steering wheel would be a solid oak ring with way cool hand carved spokes, and a bell instead of a horn.
  – If the Flintstones were making cars, at least we’d all be a lot fitter!
  – If I made cars I wouldn’t be sitting here designing bad jokes!
  – If the U.S. Government made cars they would still be in committee.
  – If Toastmasters made cars, their test drive would be only last 4-6 minutes.
  – If Weyerhauser Lumber Company made cars, we’d all be driving Woodies again.
  – If bartenders made cars, they’d always be gassed.
  – If therapists made cars, they’d go only when they were good and ready to go.
  – If dogs made cars, they’d go slow enough to be caught.
  – If the government made cars…wait, they do!
  – If musicians made cars, they would always be in tune.
  – If golfers made cars, they would go putt putt putt.
  – If a toy company made cars, batteries would not be included.
  – If IKEA made cars, some assembly would be required. 
  – If dogs made cars, there would be no windscreen.
  – If bankers made cars, the mpg could be variable or fixed for 2 years.
  – If Stock Exchanges made cars, there would be no more crash tests.
  – If tredmill made cars, they would run all the time, but not get very far.
  – If IKEA made cars, you could take it apart and put if back together using nothing but an allen wrench.
  – If Waldo made cars, it would take you about an hour to find it.
  – If NASCAR made cars, they would only turn left.
  – If transformers made cars, they’d probably take over the world.
  – If T-Mobile made cars, you could only ride with your favorite five friends.  But if Verizon made cars, you could ride with anyone you want.
  – If Playdough made cars, your toddler would probably eat its car seat.
  – If Jiffy Pop made cars, they would run on hot air.
  – If Microsoft made cars, they would have computer controlled windows.
  – If hamburger joints made cars, they would be patty wagons.
  – If newspapers made cars, the paper boy would park them in the bushes.
  – If golf club manufacturers made cars, they would come with a driver.
  – The NBA, NFL and MLB created a company that makes sports cars.
  – If cosmetic companies made cars, they would be compacts.
  – If Lego made cars, they would only go around the block.
  – If Frisbee made cars, they would all have disc brakes.
  – Simon and Garfunkel cars would only cross bridges over troubled waters.
  – If senior citizens made cars Oldsmobile would still be in business.
  – If Microsoft made cars, the windows would have to be changed frequently.
  – If rock musicians made cars, they’d use plenty of heavy metal.
  – If cops made cars, they’d eliminate the hoods.
  – If TV producers made cars, they’d include plenty of commercial brakes. 
  – If cars were made by Everyready Batteries, you’d never have to worry about oil prices again.
  – If Epson, HP or Cannon made cars, they’d have non-refillable, replaceable
gas tanks and cost thousands of dollars per gallon.
  – If American Airlines made cars, they’d have insufficient legroom.
  – If Jack Daniels made cars, the ride would be smooth…oh so smooth.
  – If Used Car Salesmen made cars, the odometers would zero after every trip.
  – It the Medical Profession made cars, you’d buy gas on a prescription.
  – If the Movie Moguls made cars, most trips would have a happy ending.
  – If Dogs made cars, you’d spin them around three times before parking them for the night.
  – If Steven Spielberg made cars, every trip would be a great adventure.
  – If Treckkies made cars, they’d go where no car had gone before.
  – If Green Peace made cars, they’d be environmentally sound, peaceful and not available to whalers.
  – If committees made cars, we’d still be riding stagecoaches.
  – If Toastmasters made cars, they’d still be talking about the first one.
  – If the computer industry made cars, any idiot could claim to be a mechanic.
  – If Pessimists made cars, the tanks would be half empty.
  – If Rednecks were the only ones making cars, we’d all drive pickups.
  – Look for the Starbuck’s Perk-Mobile:  Steam-Powered, Regular and Decaffeinated Models.  Look for the Perking Lots outside each store.

Creative Humor Writing — Cartoon Caption Contest

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Wow.  It’s June already.  And it’s time for another Cartoon Caption Contest featuring the artwork of professional cartoonist Dan Rosandich.

We announce new Cartoon Caption Contests on the first of the month.

And new Joke Contests are announced mid-month.

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

The boss asked you to give me something?  What a coincidence!

Sure you’ve been here for 25 years.  But I’ve WORKED here for 25 years!

The boss asked me if I was ready for a “Fancy Life Too?”  How was I to know that was an anagram for “Layoff Notice?”

Grab your notepad and come up with some captions.  Pick your best ones and send them to by June 14, 2009.

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