Archive for February, 2014

Joke Contest Results — Faint Praise

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

It’s time for the results of our February Joke Contest.  Our top lines were selected by our panel of judges (speakers and improv players).

Our Joke Contests are announced on the first of the month.   You will find our next contest in our Newsletter and on our Blog on March 1.

Here are our top lines from our contest – Faint Praise.  Thanks to David Novick, from Dayton Ohio, for inspiring this month’s Joke Contest theme.


Bob’s Basement Dry Waterproofing:  The transformation was unbelievable.  Before, I had a wet basement, now it’s a swimming pool.

Terry Wall, Washington Township, New Jersey


Their body work on my car was amazing, when I got it back, I couldn’t tell it was a car.

Gerald Fleischmann, Fountain Valley, California


The antacid tablet was so good at getting rid of my indigestion that I completely forgot I was having a heart attack.

Candace Allen, Crofton Maryland

HONORABLE MENTION (In random order)

– Our new apartment complex is only 12 miles from downtown, a mere 90 minutes in rush hour traffic.

– There’s always a line at Sammy’s Subs and Suds, and a couple of ambulances, too.

– Joe is a snazzy dresser, if you like 70’s plaid.

– Of all the times I’ve ever heard this song, his new arrangement was the most recent.

– As handy man companies go, he’s better than the bottom 10 percent of them.

– They are a great bunch of football players, now all they need to do is to be a team.

– The half-time show performers at the Superbowl are so much better than they sounded.

– Herbie doesn’t say much for a counselor, but when he does, he doesn’t say much.

– I was filled with mixed emotions from his lecture, the principal one of which was total boredom.

– The We’ll Fix You Auto Repair Shop is so focused on quality that if we don’t find the problem immediately, we’ll have you bring your car back a second time, a third time, a fourth time, a fifth time.

– Joe’s Movers move your furniture fast, and give you an excuse to repaint your walls.

– I love calling your customer service line.  I can nap while on hold.

– He’s handsome in pitch darkness.

– Our wedding photographer sent us the most beautiful set of pictures…from someone else’s wedding.

Observational Humor — Case Study #113

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

Here’s another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting.  I’ll share the set-up, the joke, and some brief comments on what made the jokes work.

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

1.  Bill Brown was a guest attending the meeting.

2.  Linda Bown is a new member.

3.  I sometimes use a cane.  Sometimes a walker.  Someone commented on my walker’s cup holder.  It was holding a small bottle of water.

4.  After being introduced, a speaker said, “Thank You for the clap.”

5.  The person introducing Bill Lusk gave him high praise.  Bill said, “It’s great having a one-person fan club.”

6.  A speaker said he was encouraged to come to Las Vegas.  His response was, “I’m married.  I’ve seen a naked woman.”

7.  A speaker told a story of how her father met her mother.  He asked a woman on a date and she set him up with her sister.


I’ll open tonight with a Limerick.
It’s great to see Bill Brown.
And new member Linda Bown.
With Toastmasters like these
We have the keys
To be the best club in town.
(When I create limericks I’m not looking for perfection in the number of syllables per line, as long as it’s close.  I do insist on the AABBA rhyme pattern.  The opening limerick was not intended to be funny.  It was a way of saying thank you to our new members and their contribution to the meeting.)

I’m saving my money for a cup (I picked up the water bottle and replaced it).
(I felt that the set-up was not strong enough to support the joke by itself.  I needed to add the physical action of bringing attention to the cup holder to strengthen the joke set-up.)

Thank you for my second clap of the year.
(A call back with a different twist than the original joke.  The set-up implied an alternate word meaning, refering to a disease.  My joke implied that I was a collector of individual claps, even keeping count of them.  The truth is, people laugh at jokes for different reasons.  Having lots of reasons is good for the laughter.)

I’m striving to be like Bill Lusk.  I’m waiting for my fan club’s first member.
(A call-back with self-deprecation.  Both the set-up and my joke relied on selfdeprecation.)

I’ve never been marriedI didn’t need to get married because I’ve seen a woman naked.
(A call back taking another angle than taken by the original joke.  The set-up implied that people come to Las Vegas for the dancers.  My joke implied that people marry for physical reasons.  Again, there were probably differing reasons for audience members laughing.  That’s all good, as it generates more laughter.)

And I’ll close with a Limerick:
Pelletier’s life I won’t debate.
His choices I’d highly rate.
He did it right.
Love at first sight.
Taking someone’s sister on a date.
(Good close.  Big laugh.  I used Limerick vehicle as format bookends to tie the monologue together.  I was scheduled for double duty at the meeting.  In addition to the Observational Humor monologue, I also gave a speaker evaluation.  With my focus split, I came up with fewer monologue jokes than usual.  I used the Limericks to fill out the monologue since they were easy to create.)

Speaker Workshop in Las Vegas

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Transform your speaking.  Give your presentations a professional touch.
  – Crafting a keynote speech
  – Using humor
  – Powerful story telling
  – Mini-coaching
  – and Much More

Pesented by Patricia Fripp, Darren LaCroix, Craig Valentine, and Ed Tate.  At the Palms hotel in Las Vegas.  The weekend of February 22-23, 2014. 

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from the best.  Visit their website for more information.

Jay Leno’s Final Tonight Show

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Jay Leno signed off from The Tonight Show Thursday night with laughter and touching moments.  His monologue opened with a softer touch than the previous night. On both Wednesday and Thursday nights, he received lengthy standing ovations as the show opened.  His response on Wednesday night was a poke at the audience:  “Where were you when I was negotiating my contract?”  His opening remark on his final night was more gentle, poking fun at himself and frequent target, the network: “I don’t like goodbyes.  NBC does.  But I don’t.” 

The script for his farewell show was a gentle-roast format.  Leno mentioned early in the program that he didn’t know what was coming.  That set the stage for three vehicles to carry the humor: A monologue by Billy Crystal, a slide show, and a song parody.  That format was a better choice than having Leno do it himself.   Delivering the same dose of humor himself about his 22-year tenure would have worn thin the permission factor required for self-deprecation.  Instead, Crystal provided the bookends, having been a guest on Leno’s first show and now a guest on the final show.  Then the slide show provided a number of celebrities, who were unable to be at the show in person, to zap Leno long distance.  Later, a Sound-of-Music parody brought visits from celebrities who had been hiding back stage, with Oprah taking the final spot.  Each celebrity sang a brief one-liner.  Good humor.  Nice pace.  And Leno was placed in a guest-of-honor position.

His heart-felt closing comments were brief and even more poignant thanks to the contrast provided by the guest humor during the evening.

After Leno did his touching thank-you comments, Garth Brooks closed the show on a high note.  It was a wonderful show that will be long remembered.  Jay Leno will be missed.  Best wishes to Jimmy Fallon, the new Tonight Show host.

New Joke Contest — Faint Praise

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

It’s time for the February Joke Contest.  Thanks to David Novick for suggesting this month’s contest theme…Faint Praise

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

Here is your challenge for this month’s contest.   Write a line which starts in a style that appears to be a testimonial for a product or service, then end it with something that may not be so flattering.  Here are six examples: 

  – Jerry’s new science-fiction novel has an exciting ending, especially if you skip the middle.

  – Your new Encyclopedia of Quotations makes an excellent doorstop.

  – My new car gets such great mileage that I can now afford to bring it in for all the safety recall notices.

  – Pluto’s Mayonise left a pleasant after-taste immediately after leaving the Emergency Room.

  – The professionals at Groan’s Money Mart make borrowing money I can’t afford a pleasant experience.

  – Slinger’s Casino is a wonderful place to visit my money.

Create an imaginary business or product.  Then write a testimonial with a “faint praise” twist at the end.  Write multiple lines and then pick your best ones to submit.  Your first three entries will be eligible for top-three recognition.  Additional lines will may be recognized for Honorable Mention.  Submit your entries by February 15, 2014 to