Archive for July, 2009

Cartoon Caption Contest — Report Card

Friday, July 31st, 2009

It’s time for our August Cartoon Caption Contest.  We feature the art of professional cartoonist Dan Rosandich.

New Cartoon Caption Contests are announced at the start of the month.

New Joke Contests are announced mid-month.

Here is this month’s cartoon:

Write several captions.  Go for quantity first.  Then go for quality by editing your initial work.  Submit your best lines to by August 15, 2009.

Visit the web site of Dan Rosandich for information on how he can design custom cartoons for your next special project, book, newsletter, brochure, holiday card, T-shirt and more.

Humor Toastmasters Club

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

In this post we’re featuring the Wit Pleasure Advanced Toastmasters Club in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  Palmo Carpino, Club Sponsor and Mentor, Immediate Past President.

This information is provided to give you ideas on adding humor elements to an existing club or starting a new one.
Monologue or Current Events
Toast or Roast
Cartoon Caption
StandUp Performance
Improv Master
Observational Humor
Ha Counter
Club Information:
Meets every third Monday of the month at 7:30 pm.
Phone: 403-284-0427
Web site:
If you have a unique humor club or improv troupe, send some details about your group to

Cartoon Caption Contest Results — Cell Phone

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

It’s time for the July Cartoon Caption Contest results.  Our contests feature the art of professional cartoonist Dan Rosandich.

New Cartoon Caption Contests are announced on the first of the month.

New Joke Contests are announced mid-month.

Here are this month’s top captions:


Technology is worthless!  I can’t believe I still have to manually press the buttons!

     Eric Johnson, Gastonia, North Carolina, USA

Just great!  Customer Service says I should go online, and their site tells me to check with Customer Service!

     Gerald Fleischmann, Fountain Valley, California, USA


Thanks to your new ringtone, I can’t get “It’s A Small World” out of my head.
     Tom Nee, Oak Lawn, IL, USA

HONORABLE MENTION (in random order)

  – I’ve been on hold so long I forgot why I called.
  – I personalized a song for every call. That is my annoying ex-wife’s.
  – I sure hope that’s Decaf!
  – I don’t care that little Billy is going to his concert tonight…I’ll get fired if this ringtone goes off in the office.
  – They’re making me name that tune before they’ll transfer me to the help desk. 
  – I feel like I’m on a reality TV show called “So You Think You Can Hold?”
  – This is a Samsung phone. I wish Sam would stop singing!

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 #39

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Here’s another Observational Humor monologue.  The principles and lessons-learned apply to any speaking situation where you might want to use some fresh humor.

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

1.  Club member Darren LaCroix had posted a YouTube video featuring a recent club meeting.

2.  David is one of our newer members, early 20s and good looking.  He attended the meeting wearing a tie for the first time (that I can remember).

3.  A member was assigned an impromptu speech topic telling us why Angelina Jolie would make a good Zamboni driver (machine used at an ice rink).

4.  A guest said that she had won the Miss Teen Las Vegas contest many years ago.

5.  A speaker announced that she was competing in the Miss Teen USA Contest on Thursday.

6.  Aimmee Riley gave a speech and talked about her book Tears of Hope.  Several members commented that when they read her book they couldn’t put it down.

7.  Aimmee said that at one point in her life her Visa had expired.

8.  Our speaker who was competing in the Miss Teen USA contest said that she wanted to develop a program for children at a homeless shelter but that she was required to have a Masters in Business.

9.  A speaker wanted to list FOUR things but mistakenly held up FIVE fingers.

10.  A speech evaluator gave a suggestion on how a speaker could improve the rhythm of her speech.  He gave an example of the pacing:  “Something Something Something…well…Something Something Something.”


How many of you watched Darren LaCroix’s ten-minute YouTube video featuring our club’s recent meeting?  (More than half the room raised their hand.) You may have pictured Darren driving down Interstate 15 holding the video camera:  “Hi, this is Darren LaCroix on my way to the… Honk-Honk…hey buddy, watch where you’re driving…On my way to the PowerHouse Pros Toastmasters meeting.”  I want you to know that he wasn’t holding the video camera while driving 65 MPH on the freeway.  He would never do anything so dangerous.  The truth is…I was shooting the video…while lying on the hood of his car.
(This was a planned piece of Observational Humor I brought to the meeting.  It was timely and provided me with a good opener to the monologue.  I received a good laugh from the Act-Out bit, “Hey Buddy.”  And the switch at the end set me up as the target of the joke.)

Just when you thought he couldn’t get any cuter…in walks David with a tie.  I know a hot Zamboni driver who would like to meet you.
(I wasn’t sure the first line would work.  For it to get a laugh, the audience needed to be thinking the same thing I was.  And based on the response they apparently were.  It got a very big laugh.  It really needed a closing line and the topper provided a good closer to the joke.)

Years ago I won the Nevada Teen Mr Universe Contest.  It’s been a long time.  I eventually topped the scales at 400 lbs (I’m slender at 175 and 6’3″).  Then one day I stepped into a sauna…and started reading Aimmee’s book. 
(Playing with an absurdity, I’d be one of the last people you’d expect to be a former Mr Universe winner.  And I’ve never been heavy…but for the sake of the joke I have license to say that I was because it sets up the “book” line.  The final punchline suggests that I couldn’t put the book down and lost all my weight in the sauna finishing the book.)

I’ve decided to enter the Miss Teen America contest this Thursday.  I know that I could be at a dis-advantage since my VISA has expired.  So has my MasterCard.  But I think I actually have an advantage over the other competitors…I have my Masters in Business.
(Again playing with the absurd.  I would never enter the Miss Teen America Contest…again.  And connecting three different observations:  The contest, the VISA, and the MBA.  Humor is about the connections.)

I’ll close with one humor tip (holding up two fingers).  Here’s a great structure for using humor.  Joke Joke Joke…well…Joke Joke Joke.
(Closed with two good laughs.)

Joke Contest — Unlikely Quotes

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

The theme for this month’s joke contest is Unlikely Quotes.

New Joke Contests are announced mid-month.

New Cartoon Caption Contests are announced on the first of the month.

Your challenge this month is to create an unlikely quote which might result from a professional person placed in the wrong job position.  The professional could be a specific celebrity or a general category of professional people.  The format would be:  QUOTE followed by THE PRO and THE JOB POSITION.

Here are some examples:

“I can’t hear you!”  A drill sergeant working at a hearing aid store.

“Abra cadaver.”  A magician working at a funeral home.

“I’ll shoot you as soon as you smile.”  A sniper working at a photo studio.

Write several lines.  Edit and improve them.  Select your best ones.  Then submit them to by July 31, 2009.

Joke Contest — Retirement Gifts

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Our Joke Writing Contest theme last month was:  Retirement Gifts.

New Joke contests are announced mid-month.

New Cartoon Caption Contests are announced on the first of the month.

Here are the Retirement Gifts top lines:


Rush Limbaugh:  A bucket of fried chicken — all right wings.
     Marty Bernstein, Oak Park, Illinois, USA


Rod Blagojevich:  The key to the city — the exit gate.
     Nancy Lininger, Camarillo, California, USA


David Letterman:  A saw sharpener.
     Kaye Newton, Raymond Terrace, NSW, Australia

HONORABLE MENTION (in random order)

  – Donald Trump: A large box of Lego building blocks.
  – Albert Einstein: A jigsaw puzzle.
  – Napoleon:  Stilts and mittens.
  – The Rolling Stones:  Moss.
  – William Shatner:  A discounted stateroom on the USS Enterprise.

My Toastmasters Club

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Darren LaCroix, the 2001 Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking, is a member of my PowerHouse Pros Toastmasters Club.  We’re fortunate to be members of a club with many outstanding speakers.

Darren captured a recent club meeting on video and posted 10 minutes of highlights on YouTube.  He included one joke from my Observational Humor monologue where I define the “sandwich technique” for speech evaluation.  The sound isn’t perfect but if you turn up the audio it can be easily heard.

If you’re ever in Las Vegas, visit our club on Monday night.  We usually have about six guests at a typical meeting and we’d love for you to be one of them!

Observational Humor — Case Study #38

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Here is an Observational Humor Monologue presented at a Fripp Speaking and Presentation Skills School.  Patricia Fripp is a world-class speaking coach.  The next Fripp Speaking School is November 14-15 in Las Vegas.  Being coached by Fripp, or watching her coach others, is something you can’t afford to miss.

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

1.  I appear to be, to most people who don’t know me, a very serious, non-funny guy.

2.  Fripp preaches eliminating the vague word STUFF from our speeches.  She fines people one dollar for using the word.

3.  Mid-way through the workshop Fripp accidently used the word STUFF.  A big laugh.

4.  Fripp often coaches clients in their hotel room.  She jokes about being locked with people in a hotel room.  Guy Burns suggested that he was in a hotel room attaching a microphone to Fripp’s panty hose.  That’s the gist of the set-up, not exactly the way it unfolded.

5.  I’ve known Fripp for more than 20 years and shared a story from an NSA chapter meeting in Los Angeles.

6.  Fripp told a story about a woman who met her in a restroom and asked, “Are you British?”  And then continued, “You’re Patricia Fripp” and continued to quote points from a Fripp speech one year earlier.

7.  Fripp pointed out that if a person sitting in a chair were to stand while keeping their head up, the person would have more power and elegance than if people were to see the top of their head because they dropped their head while standing.

8.  Fripp suggested not wearing a new dress shirt when giving a speech because the stiff fabric could make you itch.

9.  The principle of RECIPROCITY was discussed.  People will treat you the way you treat them.  If you’re nice to them, they will feel obligated to be nice to you.

10.  A statistic was provided suggesting that taller people are more likely to be elected President.

11.  Illustrating the principle of “asking for more than you think you’ll get,” Fripp suggested that a child, if he wanted a pony, should ask for a baby brother.


If you had met me 30 years ago, you would have said to yourself, “I can’t believe this guy could possibly be funny.”  When you saw me this morning, you probably thought…the same thing.
(Self-deprecation, poking fun at my apparent serious demeanor.  I’m saying what people were probably thinking.)

I’m now going to share some humorous observations…and stuff.  There is no penalty for my use of that word…because I’m only quoting Fripp.
(With the word “stuff” it appears that the joke is complete.  The topper line sneaks up on the audience.)

I wish you could have been there…17 years ago on a Saturday at an NSA chapter meeting in Los Angeles.  At the end of the meeting I was helping Fripp pack her audio and video albums.  Fripp and I were the only two people in the meeting room as she was ready to leave for the airport.  She wanted to change into a comfortable travel outfit and decided to do it right there, in the meeting room.  She looked at me and said, “Don’t look down!”  And off came her skirt.  Well, you know what happens when someone says, “Don’t think of a pink elephant.”  You may be surprised to know that her panty hose was miked! 
(A true story except that I was a good boy and didn’t look down…and I made up the panty hose part.  The opener “I wish you could have been there,” was one of Fripp’s recommended speech openers.  Using it got a laugh.)

Last week I was at the MGM and accidentally walked into the ladies room.  I was looking in the mirror combing my hair when a woman walked up behind me:  “Excuse me, but…are you British?”  I don’t know why she asked me that.  Maybe it was because she couldn’t see the top of my head.  I replied, “No I’m not.”  Then she asked me, “Do you know Patricia Fripp?”  I don’t know why she asked me that.  Maybe she noticed the mike on my panty hose.
(This sequence received several laughs.
  – It uses a running gag with the miked panty hose.
  – Walking into the ladies room, by itself, gets a laugh.
  – When I introduce the “Excuse me, but…” line, I briefly paused to let the audience fill in the next line.  Most people would probably think that the words to follow would be “Do you realize you’re in the ladies room?”  One audience member voiced what she thought my punchline would be:  “Are you John Kinde?”  A good line.  But “Are you British?” is more of a surprise and a stronger line.
  – “Couldn’t see the top of my head” is a silly line that really makes no sense, but is a fun and unexpected callback that received a strong laugh.)

I’ll close with four tips for success with public speaking and humor.
1.  When you speak, always wear clean underwear…But never wear NEW underwear.

(“Clean underwear” is a cliche joke, and disguises the real punchline because it seems that the joke is complete.  The main punchline becomes a topper.)
2.  To ensure that people laugh at your jokes during a speech…when you meet audience members before you give your speech, no matter what they say to you, laugh at them.  That activates the principle of reciprocity.
(An absurd twist of the reciprocity principle.)
3.  At any convention, the tallest speaker is always the funniest.  So tip number three…Be Tall.
(An absurd statistic and suggestion.  Probably works well because I am tall, six-foot-three, and implying that I’m funny simply because I’m tall.)
4.  To get a woman to laugh on a first date, ask for more than you expect to get.  Don’t ask her to laugh.  Ask her for a baby boy.
(A very big laugh.  A strong and unexpected call back.)

Cartoon Caption Contest — Cell Phone

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Here is the July Cartoon Caption Contest.  It features the art of professional cartoonist Dan Rosandich.

New Cartoon Caption Contests are announced at the start of each month.

New Joke Contests are announced mid-month.

Trying something new this month, we will not provide sample captions.  The cartoon features everyday objects and a common relationship.  Let’s see where it takes you.

Here is this month’s cartoon.

Your challenge:  Write captions for the cartoon.  Initially go for quantity.  Then edit, refine, and tighten the lines you’ve created.  Next, select your best lines and submit them to by July 15.

Visit the web site of Dan Rosandich for more information on how he can create custom cartoons for your next special project, book, web site, newsletter, coffee mug, holiday card, T-Shirt, and more.