Archive for October, 2013

Contest Results — Incompatible Careers

Monday, October 28th, 2013

It’s time for the results of our October Joke Contest:  Incompatible Careers.  Our readers submitted moonlighting careers which would be a mis-match.
New Joke Contests are announced at the start of the month.  The next contest will be announced on November 1.

Here are the top lines from the October contest:


Five old rich guys should not moonlight as the Rolling Stones.
     Tom Nee, Oak Lawn, Illinois


A drill sergeant should not moonlight as a sensitivity therapist.
     Gerald Fleischmann, Fountain Valley, California


Sunshine should not moonlight.
     Marty Bernstein, Oak Park, Illinois

HONORABLE MENTION (In random order)

  – A major should not moonlight as a miner.
  – A Wal-Mart greeter should not moonlight as a live mannequin.
  – A tennis pro should not moonlight as a waitress.  She would have a mean serve.
  – A mime should not moonlight at a bank.  He would not be able to perform the duties of teller.
  – A car salesmen should not farm lemon groves.

  – A mail clerk should not moonlight as a documents shredder.
  – A meat tenderizer should not moonlight as a massage therapist.
  – A drug abuse assistance counselor should not moonlight as a bartender.
  – A pet shop owner should not moonlight as a cat burglar.
  – A sheep shearer should not moonlight as a hair stylist.

  – A hog caller should not moonlight as an opera singer.
  – A roller coaster operator should not moonlight as a bus driver.
  – A pro artist should not moonlight as a con artist.
  – A floorwalker should not moonlight as a street walker.
  – A funeral service manager should not moonlight as a laughter therapist.

  – A member of congress should not have any other job that has any degree of respectability.
  – A dentist should not moonlight as the Tooth Fairy.
  – A marriage counselor should not moonlight as a divorce attorney.
  – An actor playing a doctor on TV should not moonlight as a real doctor.

 – A white face Circus Clown might not be good moonlighting as a Plain Clothes Detective.

 – A mattress Tester should probably not take an extra job as a Night Watchman.

Observational Humor — Case Study #106

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

Here is another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting. We’ll look at the set-up. The joke. And what makes the joke work.

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

1. A speaker humorously used the slang “broad” when referring to a woman. Although it’s often a “non-PC” word, in the context of his speech it was in good taste and well received.

2. A speaker talked about being married two and one half times.

3. A running gag for the past five years is that Frank’s wife is my girlfriend.

4. Frank said that women want a man with a sense of humor.

5. Frank said that his wife didn’t smell good, playing with a meaning of “unable to smell things well.”

6. Frank gave a great speech on how to make drab subjects colorful, funny and interesting.

7. Melanie apologized for not wearing makeup.

8. Bill was the emcee for the program and was sharply dressed in a suit.

9. Bill is a race car driver.

10. Frank used his name and made a joke playing with the spelling, saying that the F was silent.


When I was in the military, they were concerned that I wasn’t married…so they sent me abroad. (Played with the sound-alikes: Abroad–overseas. A broad–outdated slang for a woman. I wouldn’t normally use the expression, a broad, as it could be offensive. But in this instance I felt it was acceptable. Be aware and be cautious.)

I considered that to be half a marriage. (Call back to half marriage referenced in a speech that evening.)

I had another half of marriage when I met my girlfriend, Lynnea (Frank’s wife. This worked as a running gag which had been used many times over the years.)

She was looking for a man with a sense of humor. (A call back. Implies that Frank might not be funny, which is far from the truth.)

And she smells great. (A call-back.)

Frank delivered a terrific humor skills program tonight. Would you join me at the front of the room, Frank? (Frank came and stood next to me.) Funny (pointing at Frank). Drab (pointing at me). Funny. Drab. Thanks for a great program, Frank. (Self deprecation humor. And also recognized Frank for a job well done.)

 I have to apologize…normally I’m wearing more makeup. (A call back to Melanie’s apology.)

Would Bill join me.  Melanie is planning a PR campaign for our club. It will feature me and Bill.  Before…After. (Pointing at me and then Bill).   Before…after. (Self deprecation and also a compliment for Bill’s appearance, comparing his sharp look to my overly casual attire.   I’m also using parallel construction where I first used DRAB and FUNNY with a member of the audience.   This time it was BEFORE and AFTER.  Parallel construction triggers recognition of a joke format and helps strengthen the joke.)

Bill is known for his race car driving skills. I may not be a race car driver, but they’ve named a major race after me. The Indy 500… The K is silent. (I wasn’t sure how hidden the punchline would be…hearing Indy as (k)Inde. But it worked great. Huge laugh. The audience must have made the connection.)

Observational Humor — Case Study # 105

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Here’s another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting. 

I’ll privide the set up to the joke, the punchline, and a quick look at what makes the joke tick.

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

1.  During self introductions, Bill acknowledged that he was Sherrie’s husband.  He said “I’m Sherrie’s Man-Servant.”

2.  The emcee pointed out the restrooms to the guests.  “When you get to the end of the hall,  you can go either way and you’ll find a restroom.”

3.  A woman commented on the old problem of having the toilet seat in the down position.

4.  Kitty gave an impromptu speech on getting cut off by another driver on the freeway.

5.  Suzette gave a speech where she used a bicycle as a prop. 

6.  During Suzette’s speech, Mark assisted by placing the bicycle on a table-top.

7.  Bryant Pergerson practiced his International Contest Speech.


I’m proud to say that I’m a Distinguished Graduate of Sherrie Parker’s Man-Servant School.
(A call-back to an earlier comment that got a laugh.  I took it a step further to suggest that Sherrie actually had a school.  Good laugh.)

I found it interesting that you have restrooms where you can go either way.  That’s why your club attracts so many new members.
(This joke depended on people remembering the emcee’s comment.  Apparently they did.  It got a big laugh.)

I have a question for the women.  When you use the restroom, I understand that you want the seat down, but don’t you look to see if the lid is also down?
(The truth is funny.  Exaggerating the “seat up or down” problem to “where is the lid.”)

Kitty, I’m sorry that I cut you off on the freeway.
( I used the technique of “dropping myself into her story.”  Worked well.  Good laugh.)

You may not know why Suzette is dressed in pink.  She sells Mary Kay.  She hasn’t sold enough to get a car.  But she has sold enough to get a bicycle.
(Mary Kay provided the fist punchline.  Bringing in BICYCLE was a surprise in the topper.)

Bryant, one more suggestion for your Interntional Speech.  When you give your speech, it’s important that people see you.  I’d suggest taking Mark with you and at the start of your talk, have him lift you onto a table-top.
(An absurd suggestion got a big laugh.)

The Humor Bandwagon

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

Scott McKain, a successful professional speaker, posted a funny incident which happened to him and his wife, Tammy, when passing through airport security.  The TSA agent made a comment that Tammy was Scott’s daughter.  Scott is a skilled story teller, so it was well-told and funny.  What followed on Facebook was dozens of comments by friends, who were cyber laughing, and penning jokes suggesting that he was lucky not to be mistaken for Tammy’s grandfather, suggesting that one or the other was a “trophy” spouse, and more.

There are lessons to be learned from Facebook postings like this:

1.  For starters, the story written by Scott used self-deprecation.  One of the best forms of humor is poking fun at yourself.   The foundation of good self-deprecation humor is positive self-esteem.  Self-deprecation humor is usually safe and funny.  If you can’t poke fun at yourself, who else can.  In joking about looking like your spouse’s father or mother, you open the gate to others to join in and also poke fun at YOU.

2.  In most cases, this type of joke (I looked so old) works best when it’s clearly not true.  If someone looked like they were on death’s doorstep, it wouldn’t be funny to joke about them looking like their spouse’s father or grand father.  The truth in this case is that Scott and Tammy are a Trophy Couple.  They would look right at home on the Red Carpet on Oscar night.  Most people wouldn’t know who they were, but they would know that Scott and Tammy belonged there.  So a follow-on joke about Scott looking old is acceptable because it’s understood by most people that it’s a joke and isn’t really true.

3.  In doing roast-like humor you need Permission to do the attack-style jokes that are usually presented.  Permission comes in several forms:

   – First, as we mentioned, Scott gave permission by bringing up the subject in the first place. 

   – Second, you are more likely to have permission if the subject of the jokes is WELL-KNOWN and WELL-LIKED.  Let’s face it, we don’t normally roast people we don’t like.  It’s an honor to be the target of jokes.  It normally means that people like you.

   – Third, people feel more comfortable poking fun at someone if they know that he or she has a good sense of humor.  Scott and Tammy pass the test by sharing the story, for starters, and by their reputation in the National Speakers Association, where Scott is past President.  They are well known and well liked.

4.  When using roast-style jokes, the relationship between you and the target of the joke is part of the structure that gives you permission to do the jokes.  The stronger the relationship between you and the target, the more acceptable the joke will be.  This includes the actual relationship, but more important is the perceived relationship understood by the audience.  A known, close, personal friend can take more liberties than can a casual acquaintance.

Normally, most of these factors, if not all, come into play when joining a thread of discussion and tossing in your two cents worth of jokes.  Be aware of the permission factor and be alert to the risks.  Know when you’re doing a joke “Just for you.”  That type of joke can often have more risk.  And when in doubt about your choice of humor, resist the temptation to join in on the joke-fest.  It’s easy to over-step your humor invitation.

New Joke Contest — Incompatible Careers

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

A recent ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court recently ruled that a Municipal Court Judge could not moonlight as a Stand-Up Comedian.  They ruled that the two careers are incompatible.

What other careers are incompatible?

  – A third grade teacher should not moonlight as a Pole Dancer.
   – An NFL Quarter Back should not moonlight as a Casino Odds Maker.
  – The Pope should not moonlight as an Infomercial Pitchman.

What careers do you think are incompatible?  Make a list and then select your top three.  You can submit more than three, but only your top three will be considered for recognition by our judges.  Submit your best lines by October 15, 2013 by sending them to

New Joke Contests are announced on the first of the month.  Look for our next contest on November 1.