Archive for June, 2012

Joke Contest Results — Unlikely Endorsements

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

It’s time for contest results for the June contest:  Unlikely Endorsements

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

New Cartoon Caption Contests are announced at the start of the month (alternating months).  The next Cartoon Caption Contest is July 1, 2012.

Here are the top entries selected by our panel of judges (speakers and improv players) for this month’s contest.


50 Cent for Dollar Stores
     Tom Nee, Oak Lawn, Illinois

** SECOND PLACE ** (tie)

Beyonce for Bed Bath & Beyonce
     Sandy Kampner, Evergreen Park, Illinois

Donald Trump for The Hair Club for Men
     Linda Valentine, Naples, Florida


Justin Bieber for AARP
     Craig Harrison, Berkeley, California

HONORABLE MENTION (in random order)

  – Betty White for the Naturalist Society
  – Any politician for anti-bullying
  – Martin Short for heel lifts
  – Kate Middleton for Royal Crown Cola
  – Johnny Cochran for Isotoner Gloves
  – Charlie Sheen for the Betty Ford Center
  – Mike Krzyzewski for Scripps National Spelling Bee
  – Gerald Ford for the Royal Ballet
  – Julia Child for Banquet frozen dinners
  – Jamie Dimon for the Occupy Movement
  – The Wright Brothers for Amtrak
  – Ben Franklin for F.W. Woolworth
  – The Queen of England for Redman Doublewide Trailer Homes
  – Texas Governor Rick Perry for Toastmasters International.
  – Howard Stern for Miss Manners Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior.

The Phat Pack — A Review

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Las Vegas.  What a great place to live.  The best in entertainment.  Yesterday I saw the Phat Pack’s Premier Concert to a sold-out house.  It was as good as anything Las Vegas has to offer.  First, let me point out, The Phat Pack is not a tribute to the Rat Pack.  And they’re not fat.  The show features fabulous music and excellent humor.  The members of the group (Ted Keegan, Randal Keith, Bruce Ewing and Joey Singer) come from musical theater backgrounds; Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Forever Plaid…to mention a few.  Watch for future engagements.  You won’t be disappointed.

Here are a few quick lessons-learned from the performance:

1.  Overnight success is the result of decades of preparation.

2.  The power of stories.  Each performer had a segment where they told us how they became musical-theater stars.  Entertaining, engaging and inspiring.  When you take the stage as a speaker or performer, the audience wants to know the “real you.”  Telling your story helps you bond with the audience.

3.  The power of photos.  They used a lot of family photographs,  demonstrating how much more powerful it is to SHOW the audience something than to just TELL them.  It will motivate me to schedule time to sort through the many photos I have of my childhood and early career.  It will add a deeper dimension to my talks.

4.  Great visual and verbal humor throughout the show.  To fully appreciate it, you’ll have to catch one of their shows.  Let me share something that their introducer used as he warmed up the audience:

The show was staged at one of the largest churches in Las Vegas.  The introducer told us that, at the end of the show, there would be baskets at the exits for free-will donations.  He said something like:  “If you enjoy the show, we would appreciate any donations.  If you went to a movie today, you’d probably spend eight dollars.  If one of the performers hits an impressive high note, you might think that it was worth $1.50.  An amazing low note is worth maybe $2.50.  Keep a running tab.  And at the end of the show, drop it into the basket.”  Laughter.

I share that example with you because it not only got a good laugh,  it also received a big round of applause.  The power of humor: Ask people for money and they applaud you!  Humor not only entertains, it also inspires and motivates people to do what you ask.

Watch for The Phat Pack show at a venue near you.  Don’t miss it.

Observational Humor — Case Study #83

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Here’s another Observational Humor monologue and an analysis of what makes the humor tick.

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

1.  A speaker said that he was going to make a speech that would violate our expectations.

2.  Mike Denley was assigning impromptu speech topics and forgot Emily’s first name.  He introduced her as “Ben Klink’s wife.”

3.  Ryan is our President.  When it came time to introduce our emcee for the evening, he said:  “Surprise!  It’s me!”

4.  On several occasions, Ryan has announced upcoming events giving us the wrong date.

5.  Ryan is normally casually dressed, such as short pants and T-shirt.  At this meeting he was wearing all black, long black pants, long-sleeve black shirt.

6.  A speaker told us that she didn’t like Rocky Road ice cream, and that she didn’t like coconut.

7.  A speaker talked about “What Women Want.”

8.  About once every three months, the club will have a mid-meeting break for refreshments.

9.  A speaker gave a speech titled:  Your Credibility Counts.

10.  A speaker said that “women want security.”

11.  A speaker said that men want sex and respect.  Then he joked:  “If you give me sex, I don’t need respect.”

12.  A speaker told a story about his first kiss.  He got so carried away, that his braces cut the girl’s lip.


In the interest of violating your expectations tonight, I’ll present Observational Humor that isn’t funny.  (A call-back.  Self-Deprecation.)

Everyone is wondering:  “Where is Emily Klink’s husband?
(Ben was absent from the meeting.  This was a call-back with a reversal.  Rather than introducing the wife with the husband’s name, I referred to the husband using the wife’s name.  It worked.  A good laugh.)

We had a surprise to open the meeting.  The surprise was not that Ryan was our emcee tonight.  The surprise was that Ryan had the meeting date right.
(Ryan’s forgetting the exact date of events had become a running gag at club meetings.  It provided a good set-up for a joke.  A good laugh.)

The way Ryan is dressed tonight, I feel like I should say:  “Top of the evening to you Father O’Mulligan” (in an Irish accent worthy of an Irish Spring commercial).
(Good response which was helped, in part, by my attempt at an accent.)

At next week’s meeting, we will be having a refreshment break.  We will be serving Rocky Road ice cream with coconut sprinkles.  Yummy!  A woman’s favorite.
(A good joke with two toppers which received very good laughs.)

Your credibility is an abacus.  Your credibility counts.
(A call-back of a speech title, playing with the double meaning of the word COUNTS.)

What do women want?  Well, it varies from woman to woman.  For example Ben Klink’s wife wants you to remember that her name is Emily.  It gives her a feeling of security. That was a special note for Bob Denley.
(Mike forgot Emily’s name.  I pretended to forget his name.  This is a series of joke-topper-topper.)

I’ve always heard that a woman wants a man with a good sense of humor.
And my mother has always told me that a man wants respect.  But for me, if you laugh at my jokes, I don’t care if you respect me.
(Took a sound bite from a speech and twisted it for my use as a humorist.)

I’m from North Dakota.  If your braces get caught on a woman’s lip while kissing, we call that “catch and release.”
(I made the link between braces and a fishing hook.  Good closer.)

Humor In an Improv Show

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Our improv show on May 19 was fun.  Lots of laughs and among them, the two biggest laughs of the night.  Both were the result of in-the-moment responses to what was happening in the show.

1.  The game was SURPRISE LINES (sometimes called LINES FROM THE HAT).  Written audience lines are dropped into a scene created by the players.  Players must justify the lines as a logical part of the scene.  One of the lines provided by an audience member was:  “I like big butts.”  Player Frank drew the line and delivered it during the scene.  Player Carolyn reacted:  “You promised me you weren’t going to bring that up!”  Biggest laugh of the night.  Self-deprecation with a quick-witted, immediate response.  Carolyn was listening to the other players and not script-writing in her head.  She was making what appeared to be an honest reaction to the offer made by another player.

2.  The game was CHAIN MURDER.  The audience was asked to name something they might buy at a garage sale.  Audience response:  A mattress.  The mattress became the game’s murder weapon and it also provided a set-up for a line delivered later in the show.

3.  A half-hour later, a man in the audience asked an advice question of our improv PANEL OF EXPERTS:  “How can I tell my wife that I’m pregnant?”

I stepped out and replied:  “I told you not to buy a mattress at a garage sale!” The connection of the advice question to the earlier garage sale suggestion, provided the trigger which made the joke work.  It was the second biggest laugh of the night.  Few things can beat the power of observation in the present moment.  The audience can relate because “they were there.”  And it adds as fresh touch to the humor.

New Joke Contest — Unlikely Endorsements

Friday, June 1st, 2012

The theme for this month’s Joke Contest is:  Unlikely Endorsements

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

New Cartoon Caption Contests are announced at the start of the month(alternating months).  The next caption contest is July 1, 2012.

Your challenge this month is to create Unlikely Endorsements.  We often see famous people doing commercial endorsements.  For example, celebrities often promote mortgage companies, weight loss programs, and drug products.  Your assignment is to create some unlikely commercial endorsement pairs. 

Here are some examples:

Rush Limbaugh For ACLU

Dick Cheney for NRA

Administrator of GSA for Las Vegas Convention Bureau

Write as many humor lines as you can.  Then select your best lines and submit them.  If you submit more than three, the extra lines will be eligible for honorable mention.  Only your first three will be evaluated by our panel of judges for first, second and third place.

Select and submit your best entries, and your city/state/country, by June 15, 2012, to