Archive for December, 2012

Speaking and Humor Workshop — Las Vegas

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Presentation Skills and Humor Workshop — January 26 in Las Vegas.

Mark your calendars! Get dialed in to improve your communication and presentation skills with Scott Pritchard, John Kinde, and Ryan Avery, The 2012 World Champion of Public Speaking.  They will be hosting a speech writing and delivery workshop in Las Vegas on Saturday, January 26, 2013 from 9am to 5pm, at the Luxor Hotel.

  – Scott Pritchard:  Professional speaker, trophy winner at the
World Championship of Public Speaking in 2011.  Performs every
weekend on the Las Vegas Strip.
  – Ryan Avery:  2012 World Champion of Public Speaking.
  – John Kinde:  Accredited Speaker, eight-time district contest
winner, motivational humorist.

To guarantee your seat, call Scott Pritchard at (702) 808-2844
or email at

New Joke Contest — Haiku

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Our contest theme for January is a change-of-pace.  It was suggested by Kaye Newton, Raymond Terrace, Australia.  Haiku is a short-form Japanese poem.  It has more complexity and nuance than we’re going to honor here, our apologies to any Haiku masters reading this. 

For the purposes of our contest, we’re going to define it as a three line (three phrase) poem of a set number of syllables (beats) per line.
   Line one:  Five syllables.
   Line two:  Seven syllables.
   Line three:  Five syllables.
   Hence, a total of 17 syllables.

Kaye provided a sample Haiku (non-humorous)

by Soli Deo Gloria (Oklahoma)

Cold wind of autumn
Spitting rain and blowing leaves –
How good is hot tea.

So…here’s what we’re looking for:
  – Three lines
  – A syllable pattern of 5-7-5
  – A humorous twist on the last line

  – And before you submit it, title your poem.

Here’s my effort at Haiku writing:

A Bad Day

For Eve or a geek
What will ruin a good day
Is one bad apple

A Day Brightener

We cleanse when we laugh
Laughing is like detergent
It’s cheer for the soul

We may not produce anything that would win a true Haiku contest, but we’ll have fun playing with humor.  It’s good practice with word choice and rhythm.  And if we’re lucky, our effort may result in a smile.

Try to write at least one Haiku.  More if possible.  Your first three submissions will be eligible for Top Three Recognition by our judges.  Additional entries will be eligible for Honorable Mention.  Select your top three lines and send your submissions by January 15, 2013 to our contest address at:

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

New Year’s Humor Resolutions

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Our readers are serious about humor.  They are motivated to add humor to their daily routine and to have more fun in life.  As we enter a new year, many of us reflect on goals and resolutions which will take our humor skills to a higher level.  I’ve listed some possible humor resolutions which might work for you.  Pick one or two of these ideas to add to your resolutions for 2013.  Or make up one of your own.  Building skills in humor is like skill building in most other areas.  Skills are acquired and strengthened by things you do on purpose to build those skills.  So as you set your goals for the coming year, remember to add some self-development targets in the area of humor:

 – In every speech you give, include one funny story or relevant joke somewhere in the talk.
 – Search and order at least one book on humor skills, or one book which you find funny, or one recording or video with a focus on humor that works for you.
 – At least once each week, go to breakfast, lunch, or dinner with someone who makes you laugh.
 – Open each speech with one Observational Humor line.
 – Enter the Humor Power Tips joke contest every month.
 – Join a Toastmasters club, if you’re not already a member.
 – Join an improv troupe.  It’s fun and challenging.  It’s like going to the humor gym to workout and strengthen your skills.
 – Once a month, play games with a child.  You don’t have a child?  Borrow one!  Volunteer to be a babysitter for a friend.  You’ll watch their child for a few hours if they’ll spend the afternoon going to a funny movie.  It’s a win-win trade.  Each of you will get a break from the daily routine and you’ll both add a little humor to you life.

A Humor Specialty Club

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

Power House Pros is a Humor Specialty Toastmasters Club where an ordinary meeting is an extra-ordinary meeting.  The goal of the club is to help people add humor to their presentations. 

To create a humor-specialty club, you need to tap into the expertise of local humor experts.  We’re lucky to live in Las Vegas, the home of many talented performers.  Here are some of the programs we have featured in the last three months of 2012.

  – Humor Advice for My Younger Self by Dawn Elizabeth
  – To Wit–How to Think Quick on Your Feet by S Frank Stringham
  – A Square Yard of Humor by Al Jensen
  – Anatomy of a Humorous Speech by John Kinde
  – Be a Clown by Mary Coon
  – Learn Humor the Hard Way by Ryan Mulligan
  – How to Write and Deliver a Tall Tale by Linda Evans
  – The Roast of Ryan Mulligan
  – Six Observational Humor sessions
  – Exciting club-member speeches, table topics, and evaluations
  – Loads of laughter

And in the first three monthsof 2013 we will have the following programs:
  – From Standup to Standout by George Gilbert
  – Humor and Authenticity by Eric Culverson
  – Humor Tips from 40 Years of Toastmasters by Bobby Williams
  – Public Speaking Tips from the World of Stand-Up Comedy by Scott Pritchard
  – Use of Characters and Voices in Your Speech by JD Smith
  – Improve Your Speaking With Improv Comedy Skills by the Las Vegas Improvisation Players
  – Encore Presentations on New Topics by those who have already presented
  – And exciting new presenters

People can become a funnier speaker by attending Power House Pros.  Our expert, humor presenters include a trophy winner from the International Competition stage, Regional trophy winners, District Winners and two Accredited Speakers.  It’s a great opportunity if you live in Las Vegas.  If you live elsewhere, you can start your own humor specialty club.   

If you’re visiting Las Vegas, our next meeting is on Monday, January 7, 2013.  The program is “From Stand-up to Stand Out” featuring George Gilbert, Accredited Speaker.  Learn the lessons George discovered growing up in a show-business family.  George will show you how to put humor in your presentations.  You’ll find value in this program:  Educational, inspirational and entertaining.  Monday evening, January 7.

How to Add Humor to a club meeting.

Add Observational Humor to a club meeting.

Joke Contest Results — Creative Business

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

It’s time for the results of our December Joke Contest.  The theme for the contest is Creative Business.  The challenge was to combine two unlikely businesses under the same roof and come up with a name for the new business. 

New Joke Contests are announced on the first of the month.

Here are the top lines for the December contest.


Security Devices.  Bird Habitats.  Specialty Cheese:  Locks Nests Muenster.
     Scott Tredwell, Advance, North Carolina


Relocation Specialists and a Department Store:  Moving Target.
     Tom Nee, Oak Lawn, Illinois


Attorney and Personal Organizer:  Law & Order
     Melanie White, Rowlett, Texas

HONORABLE MENTION (in random order)

  – Hi-tech Company and Furniture Manufacturer:  The Rattan Apple.
  – Duck Farming and Cheap Medical Clinic:  T.J. Quacks.
  – Farm Building Construction and Baby Nursery Decorating:  Barns and Mobiles.
  – Oil Drum Storage for Small Spaces:  Stacker Barrel.
  – Law Firm and Bird Sanctuary:  Legal Eagles.
  – Moving Company and Publicity Agents:  U-Haul  of  Fame.
  – Recycle Services and Old Light Bulbs:  Blew Light Special.
  – Gentlemen’s Club and T-Shirt Shop: Tease T’s.
  – Jewish Deli Drive-thru:  Lox in a Box.
  – Church, Mexican beer, Charity, and Health insurance a la Dr. Seuss:  One Cross – Two Cross – Red Cross – Blue Cross.
  – Charitable Giving and Appliances:  Generous Electric.
  – Optometry, Gas, and Tax Filing: Eye Shell Returns.
  – Mattresses and anesthetics: Sleep Numb-er.
  – Hardware and Knife Sharpening:  Hone Depot.
  – Deep Discounts and Milk Shakes:  Frostco.
  – Printers and Laxatives: Epson Salts.
  – Gasoline and Honey: Esso Bee.
  – Night Guards and Blackjack Dealers: Sentry 21.
  – Piracy and Bedding: Booty Rest.
  – Banking and Air Travel: Chase Virgin.
  – Motel and Shoe Store: Ramada Zapata.
  – Mexican Food and Accounts Receivable:  Taco Bills.
  – Speed Dating and Electronics Store: Best Guy.
  – Coffins Made to Order and Tobacco Sales:  Coughing Coffins.
  – Hairdresser and Travel Agent:  Hair n There.
  – Tree Trimming and Dog Grooming:  Tall Tails.
  – Shoe Repair and House of Worship:  Sole Savers.
  – A Leaning Tower and a Pizza Shop: A  Pisa Pizza.
  – Butter Manufacturer and Tanning Salon:  Churn & Burn.
  – Health Food Store and Hearing Aid Manufacturer:  Soy What?
  – Bail Bondsman and Novelty Shop:  ConFound It.
  – Writer Supplies and Specialty Truck Parts: Monsters Ink.
  – Plant Nursery and Restaurant:  Garden of Eating.
  – Oats Farmer and Insurance Seller:  Quaker State Farm.
  – Oats Farmer and Computer Manufacture:  Quaker Technology.
  – Snack Manufacturer and Baby Accessories: Twinkies & Binkies.
  – Contracted Conveyance.  Animal Skin Stuffing. 
  – Skin Doctor:  Taxidermatologist.
  – Armament Manufacturer.  Wrecker Service:  Missile Tows.
  – Farm Equipment, Bandages and Advice to the Lovelorn:  Deere Johnson & Johnson.
  – Internet Writing and Magic School: Blogwartz.
  – General Department Store and Rifle Range: Target Practice. 
  – Internet Shopping and Hair Supplies: Amazon.comb.
  – Appliances and Silicon Implants:  Breast Buy.
  – Linens and Extraordinary Deeds:  Bed Bath and Beyond Belief.
  – Computers and Shellfish:  Crab Apple.
  – Insurance and Shopping Centers: Mallstate.
  – Pharmaceuticals and Magician Supplies: Abbott Out of a Hat.
  – Dolls and Fast Food:  Barby’s.
  – On-line Store and Meat Products:
  – Environmentally Friendly Products and Computers:  Green Apple.
  – Beds and Computers:  Napple.
  – Wedding Venues and computers:  ChApple.
  – Autos and Puppets: Audi Doody.
  – Autos and Cowboy Dialects:  Audi Pardner.
  – Cars and Sand:  Saudi.
  – Chicken and Buffalo:  Tyson’s Bisons.
  – Skyscrapers and Ice Rinks:  Empire Skate Building.
  – Convenience Store and Casino:  7 Come 11.
  – Donuts and High-end Grocer:  Hole Foods.
  – Movies and Browsers:  20th Century Firefox.
  – Autos and Plays:  Alfa Romeo and Juliet.
  – Scalp Implants and Air Travel:  American Hairlines.
  – Three Wheel Vehicles, Home Goods and Surgery: Trikeatomy.
  – Home Goods and Outdoor Gear:  Hikea.
  – Computers and Transporters: IBMeUp.
  – Surfer Music and Autos: Help Me, Honda.
  – Condiments and Money Saving Deals:  Grey Groupon.
  – Accountants and Humorous Movies:  Ernst & Young Frankenstein.
  – Mints, Computers and Personal Trainers:  Delltoids.
  – Motor Bicycles and Plumbing Services:  Roto Scooter.
  – Computers and Autos:  IBMW.     
  – Bank Deposit Services for BP, Shell, etc:  Oil Wells Fargo.
  – Practical Jokes and Checking Accounts:  Prank of America.
  – Credit Cards and Artistic Endeavors:  American Express Yourself.
  – Diet Programs and Trash Hauling:  Waist Management.
  – Upscale Clothing and Self-esteem Counseling:  Prada Myself.
  – Bakery and Luxury Autos:  Sweet Rolls-Royce.
  – Telecom Services and Fairy Tales:  Sprints Charming.
  – Butcher and Body Shop:  Chop Shop.
  – Burger King and Dairy Queen:  Royal Foods.
  – Lawyer and Dog Groomer: Legal Beagle.
  – Tax Prep and Butcher:  H&R Chopping Block.
  – Expert Plumbing and News:  Roto Rueters.

Lessons from a Five-Year-Old

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Here is a wonderful video link sent to me by Karen Lewison.  It features a five-year-old piano prodigy.  There are lessons to be learned:

  – A performance is more than notes.  A speech is more than words.
  – Performing and speaking from the heart is the essence of a great performance. 
  – It’s more than the hands.  It’s more than the voice.  A great performance involves the whole body.
  – Being in fun is critical.  When you’re giving a talk, have more fun than the audience and your energy will draw them in.
  – Even someone who appears to have natural talent has worked hard to achieve their level of success. 
  – Overnight success comes after months or years of dedicated effort.
  – Never underestimate the power of a smile.
  – It’s never work when you love what you’re doing.
  – Let the superb quality of other people’s work inspire you to higher levels of performance.

Here is the link.

Observational Humor — Case Study #91

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Here’s another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting.  Remember that the purpose of developing a monologue isn’t to become a stand-up comic.  The skill of creating in-the-moment jokes enables you to be totally present when you give an important speech.  You develop the capability to create just one or two strong, fresh jokes to open your planned talk, giving an appearance of spontaneity to your prepared speech.  The jokes provided in this monologue are not intended to make you laugh.  To really appreciate the humor “you had to be there.”  And you weren’t.  They are provided as examples of how to create Observational Humor lines, which is a valuable skill to have.

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

1.  Professional Speaker Melanie said that she charges $1000 for the first fifteen minutes.

2.  Melanie said she spends so much time at home  practing her speeches that her dog has started to move his lips when she’s practicing.

3.  She joked about a talk having “new speech smell.”

4.  A speaker told us about a new product on the market:  Disposable underwear.  As your trip progresses your suitcase becomes lighter as you throw away dirty clothes instead of repacking them for the trip home.

5.  A speaker who is a retired Air Force pilot talked about the challenge of learning to fly.  He said he took a station wagon out to the desert and practiced “flying” by rehearsing his checklist procedures in the car.

6.  At the start of each club meeting, guests give a brief self-introduction by telling us who they are and why they came to the meeting.  Many of the guests told us that they were former members of the club.

7.  Greg evaluated a speaker and jokingly suggested that she wear a sexier dress.


Here’s a tip to save you money if you’re planning a convention.  Melanie told us that the first fifteen minutes of a speech cost $1000.  So book a one-hour speech and then ask the speaker to cut the first fifteen minutes.
(An absurd approach to saving money.  A solid laugh and good opener.) 

Or hire Melanie’s dog…who has all her speeches memorized.
(A good call back from Melanie’s speech.  Good response from the audience.)

That line has new joke smell.
(I’m not sure what that means.  But it was funny.)

Here’s another tip to save money.  Don’t waste money on disposable underwear.  The fact is, ALL underwear is disposable.
(One of the biggest laughs of the monologue.  I had some toppers to follow the joke, but knew they weren’t as funny as the opening line.  When the opening line got such a big laugh, I decided to drop the subsequent lines. I knew the follow-on lines would appear weak by comparison.)

This just in…Recently declassified information:  In the Vietnam war, we won some engagements againist the Viet Cong by attacking them with Station Wagons.
(A good call back.  The trigger is absurdity.  Good laugh.)

To our guests this evening…we’re hoping you haven’t noticed that nearly everyone here tonight is a FORMER member of this club.
(The joke uses exaggeration.  A few people were former members who were drawn to the meeting which featured a special guest speaker.  The line was triggered by the self-imposed question: Wouldn’t it be funny if nearly everyone here was a former member of the club?  And what would that say about our membership turnover rate?  The line got a very big laugh.)

You might have noticed that Greg slipped out in the middle of the meeting.  He went home to change into a sexy dress.
(I threw Greg’s line back at him.  A good laugh and a strong closer.)

New Joke Contest — Creative Business

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

This month’s contest is Creative Business.  It involves finding strange business combinations, putting them under one roof, and then finding a name for the new business.

Here are some techniques which make it easier to create funny connections.


An actual business:  This technique requires you to be observant as you go about your daily routine.  Years ago, I saw a sign hanging in the window of a business.  It read: Lawn Mower Repair and Taxes.  It gave me everything I needed to create a punchline, the name of the business.

Services Offered:  Taxes and Lawn Mower Repair
New Business Name:  No Mow Taxes


Premise:  This technique was illustrated in Allen Klein’s recent newsletter The Mid-Month Mirth Memo (  It uses a PREMISE as a vehicle for producing humor lines.  Allen had a series of jokes based on the premise of  “a Starbucks in a funeral home.”  Using the premise technique it becomes easier to complete the joke by writing funny business names.

Services Offered:  Starbucks in a funeral home.
New Business Name:  The Grim Roaster


Twist On an Existing Name:  This technique puts the creative process in reverse.  It starts with finding a well-known existing business.  You then twist the name to come up with a new business.  And then you look for the business services offered by the new company.  You essentially are coming in the back door with the punchline created first (new company name) and then searching for the set-up (services offered).

Services:  Pet neutering.  Tire rotating.  Grilled cheese sandwiches.
New Business Name:  Spay Mart

Services:  Skin Care and Plant nursery.
New Business Name:  Palmolive Garden

Services Offered:  Church and Convenience Store
New Business Name:  Heaven Eleven

Services Offered:  Consignment store and pharmacy
New Business Name:  Good Pill Store

Your challenge is to write as many funny lines as you can.  The select your best three lines an submit them to by December 15, 2012.  You may submit more than three lines.  The extra lines will be considered for Honorable Mention.