Creating Humor On a Theme

It was so cold in the meeting room…
How cold was it?
A question like that would open the door for a series of “cold in here” jokes for Johnny Carson:  It was so cold in here that penguins have been sneaking in to spend the night.

Creating jokes on a theme gives you a structure on which you can build a series of jokes.  It provides a vehicle to carry or deliver those jokes.

We recently moved our Toastmasters club meeting to a new, temporary location.  With winter approaching, and apparently lacking a working heater in the new meeting room, the temperature of the room was very cold.  The meeting last week was energized by a brisk 56 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius).  Everyone was bundled in warm coats.  The door was wide open for “cold” jokes.

As the meeting opened, the club President noted that it was cold in the room, but that it was a DRY cold.  That was a good opening joke to disarm the issue of how cold it was in the room.  It was a twist on the cliche often used in a desert climate, during the summer:  It’s hot, but it’s a DRY heat. Throughout the meeting, members made three or four humorous references to the cold room.

At the end of the meeting, the cold was a clear target for Observational Humor.  Here are some of the jokes from my monologue:

  – I arrived early for the meeting tonight, in fact I was the first one here.  They hadn’t even removed the sides of beef hanging from the ceiling.
(That joke set the scene for a series of cold jokes without saying “it’s cold in here.”  I let the audience “realize” the set-up on their own, which is a stronger way to present humor using the superiority theory.)

  – Since our club is well-known for it’s humor, I’d suggest that future  agendas include the request of BYOH…Bring your Observational Humor.  OR…Bring your own heat!

(A speaker quoted a statistic that 66 percent of Americans are concerned with their financial future.)
  – This just in:  66 percent of Americans are concerned with their financial future.  The other 34 percent are concerned with staying warm.
(A good call back and switching it to a COLD reference.)

  – I’m glad it’s a DRY cold in here.  If it weren’t…it would be snowing.
(Piggybacked on the President’s DRY joke at the opening of the meeting.)

(David came prepared for the meeting.  He was wearing gloves.)
  – If it had been warmer in the room, I would have been expecting David to remove one glove and break into a Michael Jackson medley.
(This was a joke made possible by the cold room and the attire worn by David.  When doing jokes on a theme, look for things said and done because of that theme.  And then look for the humorous connections.)

Your goal in most speaking situations is not to build a humor monologue, but to create one good, funny line which might be used to open your comments.  Your initial goal is to come up with several lines, and you then have the freedom to select the line you feel is the strongest.  Quality comes from quantity.