Archive for July, 2013

Humor Event in Las Vegas

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Inside the Mind of a Humor Practitioner

Power House Pros is hosting Marty Bernstein from Oak Park, Illinois.  He is the most frequent winner of Humor Power’s 120 online humor contests which draw entries worldwide. 

Marty will be making a special humor presentation Monday evening, August 5, at 6:15 pm.  Here’s what you’ll hear:

  –  He will present the routine he did for a pun competition in Austin, Texas. Also he’ll do the routine he’s preparing for next year.

  –  He will talk about his process for writing jokes and all the influences in his life which bring him to the place where he can consistently do well in the Humor Power contests.  Some of these influences include being born with the right genes, being exposed to word play very young, the great love he has for what he does.

  – He’ll share how he analyzes each contest for the ability to be more specific and less generic.  And he will tell exactly what he does when he sees each new contest.

This is a rare opportunity to hear from a humor practitioner who comes from half-way across the country.  There is no charge for the meeting.  Don’t miss it.

The event:  Monday, August 5, at 6:15 pm.  Location is Pololu Robotics and Electronics, 920 Pilot Road, Las Vegas 89119.  From Sunset Road, go South on Paradise.  Just past the railroad tracks, turn right (West) on Pilot Road.  As Pilot Road curves to the left, building 920 is on the right side of the road.  You can see the meeting room thru the glass entry doors.

Excellent Humor Blog

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

Here is an excellent humor blog by Bala and Mark published in the Netherlands.  It’s called the Indian Humor Blog.  Don’t confuse it with the Netherlands Humor Blog which is published in India.

One reason I like their blog is the list of favorite humorists: Seinfeld, George Carlin, Dave Barry, Erma Bombeck, and John Kinde!

The cool thing is that their blog features a section on Observational Humor monologues.  If you like our observational humor, you’ll also enjoy their monologues.  They also list the set-up for the humor, followed by the jokes.

Check it out.

Playing With Words

Friday, July 26th, 2013

A good source of humor is anagrams.  An anagram is where you take a word or phrase and mix up all the letters to form a different word or phrase.  An example, using a simple three-letter word:

  – Eat
  – Ate
  – ETA

Playing with words just for the fun of it, here are some anagrams I came up with:

  – If I bluster.
  – Lie.  Rust.  Fib.

  – A bathroom revulsion.
  – Behavioral room nuts.

  – Obstacle pit.
  – Poetic blast.

Here are some tips when creating anagrams:

1.  Anagram Finder is available on the internet.  It does a lot of the work for you, but the final creative work is really up to you if you want to uncover the humor.

2.  Finding anagrams using people’s names is a good source of humor, especially if the names are people known to the audience.   Not every name will give you a useable humor gem.

3.  If your list of anagram possibilities is long, use the “advanced” function to narrow it down.  Sometimes I narrow the search for only two-word results.  Or I eliminate words that are part of the original word combination.  If I’m searching TABLE TOPICS, I might eliminate “table” and “topics” just to give me a shorter list.  And from a creative standpoint, I don’t want original root words in the new combination.

4.  If my list of possibilities is really long, in the thousands, sometimes I’ll break the original phrase into two parts, do separate searches, and then I piece together the final anagram. 

5.  For an entertaining anagram, you’re looking for a new combination of words which has a good, hidden meaning.

6.  Sometimes you’ll go beyond the results list and come up with your own combination.  For example on FILIBUSTER I saw the word BLUSTER and using the remaining letters I came up with IF I BLUSTER.  The word BLUSTER provided a great anchor word for a humor connection to FILIBUSTER.

You’ll find that Anagrams are fun and are a good source of humor.

Chicago Tribune Cartoon Caption Contest

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Tom Nee, a regular contributor to our joke contests is a finalist in the Chicago Tribune cartoon caption contest this week.  Check it out and Vote!

Contest Results — IQ Pressure Points

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

It’s time for the results of our July Joke Contest.  The theme is “IQ Pressure Points.”  Things that raise and lower your IQ.

The top lines were selected by our panel of eight judges (speakers and improv players).

New Joke Contests are announced at the start of the month.  The next contest will be announced on August 1.

Here are the top lines for the July contest:


Believing that “experts” know what they are talking about reduces your IQ by 50 points and your checking account by $100.
     Marty Bernstein, Oak Park, Illinois


Being “smarter than a 5th grader” has no effect on your IQ.
     C. Allen, Crofton, Maryland


Blaring your car radio with the windows down lowers your IQ by 40 points.
     Pat Foley, Homer Glen, Illinois

HONORABLE MENTION (In random order)

  – Eating liver raises your IQ by 10 points.  Saying you like liver lowers your IQ by 10 points.
  – Working the production line at a Viagra can raise your IQ by 20 percent.  If it lasts more than 4 hours, call your doctor.
  – Running up a down escalator makes you lose 15% of your IQ.
  – Trying to buy a round square from new employees in the hardware store makes them lose 50% of their IQ.
  – Saying your dog ate your term paper lowers your IQ by 15 points, and your grade by four letters.

  – Eating a really good chocolate bar will raise your IQ by 10 points.  Eating two is no change.  Eating three lowers your IQ by 20 points.
  – When a man puts on clean underwear, his IQ goes up 5 points.
  – Lying in a bed of live catnip lowers a cat’s IQ 20 points.
  – Spilling hot coffee in your lap while driving lowers your IQ by 20 points.
  – Wearing mismatched socks lowers your IQ by 10 points.

  – A man buying intimate apparel for anyone lowers his IQ 30%.
  – When a wife asks “Does this make me look fat?” any answer lowers your IQ 40%.
  – Forgetting your wife’s birthday lowers your IQ 90%
  – Buying a Men’s magazine lowers your IQ 30%.
  – Listening to a telemarketer lowers your IQ 30%.

  – Standing outside in the cold without a jacket to look cool lowers your IQ
below zero.
  – Walking in the rain while carrying an unopened umbrella lowers your IQ by 20 points.
  – Buying your wife a present without her approval–Look, honey, a five foot ceramic giraffe–lowers your IQ 30%.
  – Watching an all-night Joanie Loves Chachi marathon lowers your IQ 40 points.
  – Signing up for a correspondence course in chain saw juggling lowers your IQ 40%.

  – When a couple gets married the groom’s IQ is lowered 20% and the bride’s IQ is raised 20%.
  – Buying a rider mower and using it before reading the instructions lowers your IQ 20% and gives you a ride in an ambulance.
  – Agreeing to do something illegal with friends because “we won’t get caught” lowers your IQ 80%.
  – Listening to a politician, any politician, lowers your IQ 40%
  – Buying a power tool you don’t need lowers your IQ 25%, unless it comes in a cool metal box.

  – Agreeing to let your neighbor fix something for you because “I saw it on  TV” lowers your IQ 35%.
  – Pulling a friend’s finger when he asks lowers your IQ 30%.
  – Buying lemonade from kids at a roadside stand raises your IQ 10 points.
  – Being abruptly cut off while driving on the Interstate lowers your IQ 10 points, getting angry lowers it another 10 points, and becoming enraged lowers it to below the speed limit
  – Discussing a difficult personal problem with a group of her closest female friends raises a woman’s IQ 10 points for the first hour; 5 points for the second hour; and 2 points for the third hour.  Continuing the discussion for the fourth hour lowers her IQ 2 points; for the fifth hour, 5 points; and for the sixth hour 10 points.

  – Asking for directions lowers a man’s IQ 20 points but raises a woman’s IQ 10 points.
  – Thinking that sucking helium will raise your IQ 5 points, lowers it 10.
  – Listening to Nevada Public Radio raises your IQ 88.9 points.
  – Writing a haiku on IQ is cute but does zilch.
  – Watching reality TV lowers your IQ 10 points, writing reality TV lowers your IQ 30 points, and starring on reality TV lowers your IQ 50 points.

  – Being corrected on your spelling by your mom lowers your IQ 10 points, being corrected by your computer lowers it 20 points, and being corrected by your grandson lowers it 30 points.
  – Reading/surfing/listening to news raises your IQ 10 points. Believing the news lowers your IQ 50 points.
 – Drinking hard liquor will reduce your IQ by 80 points. I have proof.
  – Wanting to play contact sports lowers your IQ 10 points. Playing contact sports removes the rest of your IQ points.

  – Taking a math class raises IQ by  3(2x/y2) / (3x – 4y) points.
  – Taking a hike in the desert with no water lowers your IQ, electrolytes, and your chances of seeing tomorrow.
  – Running this contest raises John Kinde’s IQ points by the number of entrants times the number of posted jokes.
  – Crossing Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon on a rope reduces your IQ to zero.  Reaching the other side safely restores your IQ.

  – Believing politicians operate for the public good reduces your IQ points in direct proportion to the amount of bribes s/he takes.
  – Driving at the speed limit in the left lane eliminates the IQ of the drivers behind you.
  – Sitting up all night writing jokes–I don’t know if it raises or lowers my IQ but it sure makes my IQ tired.
  – Working as a magician’s assistant can cut your IQ in half.

  – Doing addition will increase your IQ by sum points.
  – Listening to MSNBC will ??crease your IQ by ?? points.
Listening to Fox News will ??crease your IQ by ?? points.
Replace the ?? based on your own opinions.
  – Drinking 5 light beers with your burger and fries lowers your IQ 10 points.
  – Spending your whole paycheck at the race track, casino, or buying lottery tickets lowers your IQ 15 points.
  – Telling “clean” jokes raises your IQ 10 points and telling “dirty” jokes lowers your IQ 20 points.

  – Texting on your phone while driving lowers your IQ 10 points, and reduces your life expectancy 10 years.
  – Drinking a bottle of scotch on a flight to control your fear of flying lowers your IQ by 30 points.
  – Doing the YMCA to the blaring beat of the music at a Phillies game lowers your IQ 20 points.  30 points if you’ve been drinking.  50 points if you’re on the Jumbotron.  60 points if you’re also over 40.

Observational Humor — Case Study #101

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Monologue #101.  We’ll take a look at the set-up for the jokes.  And then present each joke and take a look at the triggers that made the joke work.

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

1.  Bill gave a passionate speech about being a race car driver. 

2.  A speaker said, “you’ll enjoy the program tonight or I’ll give you your money back.”   Funny, because the program was free.

3.  I have won four District Humor Contests.

4.  Scott said he still loved his first wife.  He had been married to his Ex for two years.

5.  Scott joked about being booked to do a comedy appearance in Primm, Nevada, which is a small town about 40 miles from Las Vegas.

6.  A speaker said, there is no such thing as a stupid question…Only speakers who think their questions are stupid.

7.  Ronny told of a practical joke where someone told him to hold his hand up to his face to see if his hand was bigger than his face.  When he did, they hit his hand and he slapped himself. 


I have something in common with Bill.  I consider myself a good racer.  in fact, I compare myself to Ben Hur.  When Bill heard that, he said:  “Just a minute.  I knew Ben Hur.  Ben Hur was a friend of mine.  And you’re no Ben Hur.” 
(A call back to the Lloyd Bentsen reply to Dan Quayle in the 1988 Vice Presidential Debate.  Implies that Bill is old.  Also self-deprecation, suggesting that I’ve overstated my credentials.  Very big laugh.)

I guarantee you’ll like my humor or I’ll refund DOUBLE your money.
(A call back to the money-back guarantee comment, exaggerating it.  Good laugh.)

I’ve won four District Humor Contests.  I don’t say that to impress you.  I tell you that because I’m impressed.
(A simple call back.  Very big laugh.)

My first wife was very special.  To be with me, she left her husband of two years.
(Implies that my first wife was Scott’s ex.  None of that was true of course, but the laugh was very big.)

People have always said to me, “John, you’re pretty good.  But you’ll never speak in Primm.”
(A call back linked to my not being good enough to speak in Primm.  A typical joke relying on a local funny-sounding town to trigger the joke.)

There are no stupid jokes, only speakers who tell cement jokes.
(Very good laugh.  After I told it, I wondered if it was received well by the target of the joke.  If I had it to do over, I’d probably delete this joke from the monologue.)

Ronny, if your hand is bigger than a fig leaf…
(I placed my hand in fig-leaf position.  Huge laugh.  The funniest line of the monologue.  Perfect as a closer.)

Observational Humor — Case Study #100

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

Here’s another Observational Humor monologue.  This is monologue #100.  I’ve probably opened speeches with Observational Humor or delivered Observational Humor monologues more than 1000 times.  There is no substitute for experience.  Speakers who practice the skill just keep getting better.  I’ve been practicing Observational Humor for over 30 years.  And I’m better today than I was last year.  It’s a learned skill.  You can learn it too.

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

1.  Jim and Melanie were recently married.  Melanie’s last name is Hope.  Someone referred to Jim Hope…but Jim and Melanie both kept their own last names.

2.  Steve talked about stamp collecting, a hobby that sticks with you…because of the glue. 

3.  Someone said Steve rode in on an imaginary horse which nobody saw.

4.  Daniel gave a very funny Observational Humor monologue.

5.  Someone referred to the phrase Jump For Joy.

6.  Bobby gave an evaluation which followed one I gave.  He opened his with:  “I’m going to use notes because John Kinde did.”

7.  Steve gave a talk on storytelling which was titled:  The History of History.

8.  Steve talked about how it’s OK to stretch the truth when telling a story or making a joke.

9.  A speaker said he really liked a couple of poems he shared…because he wrote them.

10.  A speaker told a story of a bride breaking her nose when she bumped into the groom’s forehead.

11.  A speaker presented a spoof limerick which intentionally didn’t rhyme.


Madam President, Fellow Toastmasters, and Mr Hope.
(A call back.  Good laugh.)

Steve rode in on a horse which then vanished.  Which explains where the glue came from.
(This joke was triggered by connecting two unrelated things that came up during the meeting.  Very big laugh.)

Since when did Daniel become so funny?
(Triggers.  The truth.  What everybody was thinking.  Implies growth and is a compliment.  Good laugh.)

(I did a little jump.)  That was a North Dakota Norwegian jumping for joy.
(Plays with my laid back personality.  Not everyone in North Dakota is just like me.  But members of my family are.  A little bit of self deprecation goes a long way.  Very good laugh.)

For the benefit of our guests, Power House Pros is a very formal club.  But this is casual Monday.
(Our membership  is dressed from suit and tie to TShirts and shorts.)

I’m using notes tonight…because Bobby did.
(I had not planned on using this line, but it came to me as I was presenting my monologue and I included it.  Very big laugh.)

Scott Pritchard will be speaking next week on The Humor of Humor.
(Call back of Steve’s program title, the History of History.  Good laugh.)

The three laws of humor.
1.  Accuracy is secondary to the laughs.
2.  When it comes to humor, do what you have to do.
3.  MY jokes are funny because I wrote them.
(Number three triggered a very big laugh.  Self aggrandizement at work.)

A club had a goal to be funny.
We did it just for the fun of it.
We’d go for the joke.
Which is secondary to everything.
And at the end of the meeting our nose feels like it’s broken on a groom’s forehead knocking him silly.
(The limerick got moderate laughs.  I expected more.)

The Poetry is secondary to the humor.
(The topper “poetry is secondary to the humor” received a very big laugh.  Sometimes the topper is just what is needed to release hidden tension. Possible tension could have resulted from not getting the original joke…the limerick.  Or not wanting to laugh because not a lot of others were laughing.  Or the joke may have been too long to justify a punch moment.)

New Joke Contest — IQ Pressure Points

Monday, July 1st, 2013

I heard a joke last month.  It went something like…Being next to a beautiful woman lowers a man’s IQ 20 points.  My thought was, “This could be a theme for a joke contest.”  The format would be:  BLANK ACTIVITY/BEHAVIOR LOWERS/RAISES IQ XX POINTS.  Here are three examples:

  – Wearing a baseball cap backwards lowers your IQ 20 points.
  – Wearing a thong bikini to the beach when you’re over 50 lowers your IQ 10 points if you’re a woman, and 30 points if you’re a man.
  – Entering this contest will lower your IQ 10 points.

See how many lines you can create.  Then submit your three best lines by July 14, 2013.  Email them to  Your top three lines will be judged for Top Three recognition by our panel of judges.  You can submit more than three lines.  The additional lines will be eligible for Honorable Mention.

Our next joke contest will be announced August 1, 2013.