Archive for March, 2010

A Video That Will Make You Smile

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

Here’s a fun video.  Fredde Gredde performs a TV-Theme-Songs duet with himself with a little video-editing help.  It’s about a seven-minute clip on You Tube.

Cartoon Caption Contest Results — Snowman

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

It’s time for the top captions in our Snowman Cartoon Caption Contest featuring the artwork of Dan Rosandich.

New Cartoon Caption Contests  are announced at the start of the month (alternating months).

New Joke Contests are announced at the start of the month (alternating months).

Here are this month’s cartoon and the results:


He’s not melting, he’s just temperature challenged.
     Scott Knight, Las Vegas, Nevada


Will he melt down first — or the economy?
     Nancy Lininger, Camarillo, California


That reminds me…tonight is the grand finale of The Biggest Loser.
     Darin Thompson, Smithfield, Utah

HONORABLE MENTION (in random order)

  – What’s worse, Rudolph with a runny nose or Frosty with a hot flash?
  – Looks like he could use a chill-pill!
  – He’s like ice cream on a hot summer day, great while it lasts.
  – It’s snow joking matter.
  – Hey we can reuse the carrot!
  – Look, Sis, Frosty’s sweating just like Dad did when Mom told him about her bent fender!
  – That’s just Frosty’s way of saying he doesn’t like global warming!
  – Why is it when all the snowmen Fall, they call it Spring?
  – Naw, he won’t melt — I sprayed sunblock all over him!
  – Guess we’d have to say this is one guy who doesn’t know how to keep his cool!
  – He looks like dad does after he’s been jogging.
  – At least he’s losing weight.
  – Dad said when Frosty is completely melted it will be his turn to start shoveling snow.
  – I think he likes you.  He always melts when you’re around.
  – Frosty’s a much better forecaster than that silly groundhog.
  – He’s had his one day of fame.
  – I wonder what this guy thinks about global warming.
  – He looks the way uncle Marty does after walking up a few stairs.
  – A hair dryer, the bread knife and a tray of ice cubes …quick, we have to operate!
  – His favorite brand of skin cream is Ponds.
  – He’ll make perfect snowballs in about six minutes.
  – He is a big basketball fan, but he doesn’t like the Miami Heat.
  – Before you go, do you mind lending us a few snowballs?
  – So, this traffic cop pulls up, screams “put down the broom!”  And then starts tasering poor Frosty like crazy.
  – Wish I could make my class teacher melt like that.
  – Of course, he’ll be entitled to health care, he’s having trouble with fluid retention. 
  – What a drip!
  – No, he’s not melting, he’s sweating!

Visit cartoonist Dan Rosandich who has an extensive and in-depth archive of categorized cartoons and cartoon pictures available for licensing at negotiable fees.

Consistency is the Key

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

I commented to a member of my Toastmasters club that we had several people who had become very consistent participating in the Observational Humor part of the meeting.  He said, “Well I’m not consistently good.” 

Actually when thinking of consistent members, I had included him on the list.  The key to getting better is consistency of effort…not consistency of results.  Consistency of effort leads to growth which leads to consistency of results.

I would compare practicing Observational Humor to going to the gym.  At the gym I might see one of those Incredible-Hulk guys bench pressing 250 pounds.  If I’m only pressing 70 pounds I may feel like the 90 pound weakling at the beach (well, maybe a 175 pound weakling).  But if the Hulk guy only shows up once a month to show off…and if I go five times a week…I’ll show more growth.  The change in my strength will be more noticeable.  The key is consistency of effort because that results in growth.

I’ve noticed that some of the funniest people in our club who rarely contribute to Observational Humor don’t show the same progress as the more humor-challenged members who make an effort to contribute every week.

A saying in the comedy world is that performers need a good place to be bad.  You learn what’s funny by guessing and testing…and not being funny.  And little by little you become a better judge of what other people will find funny.  From a performance point of view, that’s much more important than what YOU find funny.

And let’s not confuse consistency with quantity.  You can qualify for consistency of effort by coming up with one joke or five jokes.  The important thing is that the creative process engages you for the entire meeting.  It forces you to put on your humor hat and to be an active listener for the whole program.  It’s the journey and not the destination.

Be committed to effort and growth will follow.

Observational Humor — Case Study #52

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Here’s an Observational Humor monologue presented at an Ed Tate storytelling workshop presented at a PowerHouse Pros Toastmasters meeting.  Ed is an awesome storyteller and is the Toastmasters 2000 World Champion of Public Speaking.

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

1.  Ed pointed out that most of history’s great speeches had no humor.  Although humor is important…humor is optional.

2.  Ed told a story where one of the punchlines was “until they put on the handcuffs.”

3.  Ed told a story where a guy he called “Ordinary Joe” got arrested.  “If they arrested Ordinary Joe…a black guy doesn’t have a chance.”  Ed is black.  In discussing the story structure, he pointed out that most people probably assumed that Joe was white, “even though I never said he was white.”

4.  Ed pointed out that larger movements of the mouth, while speaking, automatically result in larger gestures.

5.  When Darren LaCroix introduced Ed he told a story about Ed being an avid learner and asking so many questions at a program that the presenter was becoming annoyed.  Ed started writing his questions and passing them to Darren so that Darren could ask the questions.

6.  At the start of the meeting, Bryant announced that PowerHouse Pros is the largest Toastmasters club in District 33.

7.  We had about 50 guests at the meeting that night.

8.  The unpublished agenda called for Bryant to recognize the club President at the start of the meeting.  He forgot to do that and during the meeting he asked me to do it at the end of my monologue.

9.  Ed told a story about a movie on a plane being terminated before coming to the who-dunnit part of the movie.


Humor is optional.  Thank you very much.  (I started to leave the speaking platform.)
(A quick call back provided a good opener.)

Last week I was delivering a humor monologue.  It was going great…until they put on the handcuffs.
(Another call back slipped into an unexpected place.)

Ed Tate is a funny guy.  In fact I was sitting in the back of the room thinking…if they laugh at him…a white guy doesn’t have a chance.
(The humor is triggered by a reversal.)

You’ll notice that I didn’t say Ed was black.
(Another reversal.  A big laugh.)

I learned two things which may come in handy tonight.
1.  How to be funny…move your mouth.
2.  If the audience isn’t liking my jokes…I’ll write them down and give them to Darren LaCroix.

(First line, I dropped Ed’s punchline onto my own setup.  Second line I used the “drop myself into their story” technique.)

Bryant told you that we are the largest Toastmasters Club in District 33.  Actually, that’s not true.  The truth is that we have so many guests that nobody has figured out that we only have three members.
(The situation where guests out-number members provides a great set up for the understated punchline.  There is a touch of self-deprecation.  Also working is the principle of “tension” when I state “that’s not true.”  What someone lied to us?  Release of tension results in laughter.  However, within the structure of a monolgue, tension is a minor factor, because the audience expectation is that most setup lines are fabricated or said in jest, and the result is that no tension is built.)

Bryant Pergerson was supposed to recognize our club President at the start of the meeting but was unable to do that.  The problem is that we’ve had so many new members join in the past two months…that nobody can recognize the President.  Is Erin Pavlina in the room?
(The previous joke about guests provided a setup for me to recognize the President using humor.  The joke also plays with the double meaning of “recognize.”)

In closing, I caught a news flash on TV just before coming to the meeting.  Remember, six months ago, the two pilots that overflew Minneapolis by 150 miles?  The investigation just uncovered why.  The pilots were waiting to find out who-dunnit.
(This joke didn’t fit into the logical flow of the monologue, so I chose to use it as a closer.  It worked well.)

The Value of Humor — The Oscars

Monday, March 8th, 2010

We are reminded of the power of humor when we watch the Oscars program.  Or when we watch the Super Bowl.  Typically, 85% of Super Bowl commercials are based on humor.

The Oscars are almost always hosted by a stand-up comic.  The program last night opened with Neil Patrick Harris presenting a comedy song-and-dance routine.  The hosts of the program, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin opened with a comedy monologue customized with references to the top films and the celebrities in the audience.  They used self-deprecating humor poking fun at themselves and each other.  Baldwin said to Martin, “They don’t just give Oscars to stand-up comedians…like anyone needs to tell you that!”

And of course there were examples of Observational Humor.  After Geoffrey Fletcher’s emotional acceptance speech, with comments about not knowing what to say, Steve Martin quipped, “I wrote that speech for him.”

Since the pros in the advertising and entertainment business keep reminding us of the value of humor, they are giving us a not-so-subtle hint that humor is of great value to us when we speak.  Not that we need to be a stand-up comic, but that we need to sharpen our humor skills to the point where we can at least season our talks with just a sprinkle of humor. 

Look at your humor skill level and ask:  How can I get to the next level?  How can I be just a little funnier?  Fresh humor skills will give you a new platform from which you can jump to even higher levels of mastery.

More Quirky Medications

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Our Quirky Medications contest featured many great lines from our readers.  Let’s look at a few of the techniques that people used for coming up with humorous twists.

Similar Sounds:  Aussiecotton – Softens and protects any condition “Down Under”

Add A Letter:  Frolic acid – Makes you feel young again

Keeping The Cadence:  Suethefed – Legal relief for people fed up with the Federal Reserve Bank

Looking For Common Qualities:  Lyrica-Allegro-Concerto with Cymbalta – Taken by orchestra members before a performance to keep them upbeat

Playing With Names:  Gerrytol – Mr Fleischmann’s medicine (another one of our frequent submitters and winners, Gerald Fleischmann)

Linking Phrases:  Halls of Montezuma – Marines use this for sore throat

Using Stereotypical Patterns:  Blowtox PM – Eliminates the urge to be a late-night wind-bag

Marty Bernstein is a name you might recognize.  He is a frequent contributor to our contests and is often recognized in the top three. 

His submissions for the February contest, Quirky Medications, were either lost in the shuffle, lost when our site was down for maintenance, or lost in the Bermuda Triangle.

Marty is one of the contributors who rarely submits just three entries.  He ususally submits dozens.  That’s one of the keys to creativity.  Part of success is a numbers game.  The more you write, the more likely one of your creations will be a gem.  Your best line is rarely the first line you write.  In fact it probably isn’t in the first ten lines you write.  Just when you think you can’t come up with anything else…write ten more lines.

Let’s look into the sharp and prolific mind of one of our creative writers, Marty Bernstein.  Look at how he came up with multiple lines for Rolaids and Tylenol.  Here are the lines he submitted, or tried to submit, for the February contest:

  – Suethefed  – Legal relief for people fed up with the Federal Reserve Bank
  – Vicks Capo Rub – For your next dispute with a rival boss 
  – Nia-C-span  –  Vitamin that helps you understand politics
  – Avotart  –  Relieves the blues
  – Heevadart  –  Used as a complement to acupuncture
  – Brotox  –  Wrinkle cream for men
  – Spinderal  –  Relieves vertigo
  – Lyrica-Allegro-Concerto with Cymbalta  –  Taken by orchestra members before a performance to keep them upbeat
  – Premarrian  –  Relieves wedding day stress
  – Mercedes Benztyl  –  Soothes muscles sore from waxing your car
  – Nystatins  –  East coast heart disease treatment
  – Aspen-icillin  –  Antibiotic for ski injuries
  – Stroke-a-cola  –  Stops bleeding in the brain
  – Gaspirin  –  Take when out of breath
  – Drollaids  –  Improves your sense of humor
  – Bowlaids  – Two tablets and you throw nothing but strikes
  – Cadvil – Removes scoundrels and rogues from your love life
  – Abracadabravir – Removes your fear of magic
  – Cleptobismol  –  Stops thieves and upset stomach
  – Gerrytol  –  Mr Fleschmann’s medicine
  – Proxycontin  –  Ease the pain of voting for corporate officers
  – Stairoids – Helps arthritics up and down steps
  – Bonivaschmoniva  –  Placebo for women without osteoporosis
  – Norcolepsaway  –  Cures Scandinavian sleep disorders
  – Adderalup  –  A favorite to help CPAs concentrate.
  – Spinactin  –  Used in Hollywood by actors with an itch for an Oscar
  – Waldomet  – Take this and you’ll not only find Waldo, you’ll meet him
  – Oilbutterol  –  Reduces cholesterol (but we don’t know how)
  – Addedpex  –  For bigger chest muscles
  – AdapAbiline  –  Helps you accustom to your new home town in Texas
  – Essence of alphabet soup  –  Cures irritable vowel syndrome (irritable vowel syndrome: winner of September 2009 joke contest)
  – Scoldeeze  – Relieves discomfort after your boss chews you out
  – Mr Beano  –  Relieves discomfort after watching English comedians
  – Dr Schoolls  –  Foot care products that help you through podiatry college
  – Theraflute  –  Taken for sore lips after playing wind instruments
  – Halls of Montezuma  –  Marines use this for sore throat
  – Little vitamins A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K,L,M,N,O,P,Q,R,S,T,U,V,W,X,Y,Z.   –  Take after reading too many Dr. Seuss books
  – And, the Tylenol jokes:
  – Crylenol  –  dries tears
  – Dielenol  –  eases the pain, but…
  – Guylenol  –  Relieves the pain of softball, football and basketball injuries
  – Frylenol  –  Relieves burns
  – Maitailenol  –  Hangover cure
  – Prylenol  –  Cures nosy people
  – Rilelenol  –  Cures road rage
  – Vielenol  –  Ease the stress of competition
  – Whylenol  –  Helps you solve life’s mysteries

Thanks to Marty for a lesson in creativity.  Remember that the value is in the process.  It’s not about winning a contest.

March Cartoon Caption Contest

Monday, March 1st, 2010

As winter draws to a close we have an appropriate cartoon for our March contest.  We feature the art of professional cartoonist Dan Rosandich.

New Cartoon Caption Contests are announced at the start of the month (alternating months).

New Joke Contests are announced at the start of the month (alternating months).

Here is the cartoon:

Write as many captions as you can.  Then select your best three captions and submit them.  Deciding which lines are your best lines is a great discipline for discovering if what you think is funny is also found to be funny to others.  You can submit more than three lines, the extra lines will be eligible for honorable mention.  Only your first three lines will be judged by our panel of judges for first, second and third place.

Submit your top entries  to by March 14, 2010.

Visit cartoonist Dan Rosandich who has an extensive and in depth archive of categorized cartoons and cartoon pictures available for licensing at negotiable fees.