Archive for March, 2014

Florida Vs Las Vegas

Friday, March 28th, 2014

23 Reasons Florida (Yes, Florida) Is Quite Possibly The Best State in
America (Huffington Post)

23 Reasons Las Vegas (Yes, Las Vegas) Is Quite Possibly the Best City
in America

(This will make more sense if you read the Huffington Post article first.)

1. Everyone loves Las Vegas weather. You can relax in the sauna, or
you can come inside and enjoy the air conditioning.
2. Las Vegas may be the only American city whose first Postmaster was
a woman.
3. In Las Vegas you can spend a three day weekend and never know for
sure if it’s day or night.
4. There are abandoned mine shafts where former mob bosses live.
5. Have dinner at the Stratosphere Tower and watch spacecraft fly by
your window.
6. Las Vegas serves 60,000 pounds of shrimp every day. Or would you
rather have a Publix Sub?
7. If you want the Miami Heat, go to Florida. But go to Las Vegas if
you want heat without the humidity.
8. Las Vegas has more visitors than any other adult amusement
destination in the country.
9. Las Vegas is the best place in the country to get a free $50 beer.
10. In Las Vegas, you can get oranges, cherries and plums for only a
nickel.
11. Rainstorms rarely last more than two minutes a year in Las Vegas.
But watch for flash flooding.
12. If you want to make a new Croatian-Somalian friend, Las Vegas is
the place.
13. Thank Florida the next time you’re on a commercial flight to Las
Vegas.
14. If you want to get crabs and get stoned, vacation in another state.
15. In Las Vegas you won’t need sunscreen. It’s too hot to go outside.
16. In Las Vegas the wild life will blow your mind.
17. The Elvis Peanut Butter and Banana sandwich is a Las Vegas
Iconic Classic.
18. In Las Vegas our Limes, Kiwis, and Berries are calorie free, even if
the spin is not.
19. If you can’t go to Venice, go to Las Vegas and ride a gondola at The
Venetian.
20. When in Las Vegas, visit Japanese culture at the Morikami
Museum in Florida. It’s closer than flying to Japan.
21. You can find sharks teeth at the Mandalay Bay Aquarium. They
are still in the shark’s mouth.
22. Casual dress is popular in Las Vegas. And you’ll find a man-in-a-T
is a very gentle creature.
23. In Las Vegas you’ll be so busy winning money, you won’t have time
to read the newspaper.

Observational Humor — Case Study #115

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Here’s another Observational Humor monologue.   We will look at the set-up, the joke, and what makes the joke work.

Observational Humor case studies are provided to help us become better at recognizing, writing, and delivering a joke when speaking from the platform.  The best kind of humor is that which is designed specifically for the audience.  Often it is a one-time-use joke which, if told later, may get weak laughter and the excuse, “You had to be there.”  When you create Observational Humor you and the audience ARE there, and the joke is often stronger than you would have expected.

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

1.  The grammarian opened his report with “John Kinde didn’t have anything,” meaning he didn’t have any errors or suggestions to report.

2.  Guest Billie Wilson was surprised to be called on to introduce herself as a guest at the meeting.  It was her first time to visit a TM club.

3.  Bobby Williams joked about how I always introduce him as the funniest person in District 33.  He said it was hard to be a funny speaker following such an introduction.  Then he suggested that I was the funniest person in the District.

4.  A speaker was praised for his use of colorful language, meaning his vibrant, descriptive language.

5.  I presented the Educational moment on the subject of copyright law. JD Smith added a lot of valuable information.  The segment was supposed to be two minutes in length and ran overtime.

6.  Jon is a new member.

7.  To locate the restrooms, the emcee suggested we should ask someone over the age of 60.

8.  A speaker was critiqued for not speaking clearly.  She said “gonna” instead of “going to.”

9.  Another speaker was critiqued for using the expression “try to.”  The evaluator said, “You never TRY you just DO.”

10. A speaker told about an armed robbery of two people, one younger and one older.  The younger person being robbed was told to get on the ground and put his hands behind his head.  The robbers knew that the younger man would have been capable of hurting them.

11.  Bill Lusk has a full head of hair at age 80.  He was introduced as having good hair genes.

12.  I was dressed in blue jeans and a denim shirt.

13.  Bill told us that he inherited a Porsche when he was young.  He eventually became a race car driver.

14.  Bill said that he and his car “became one.”

15.  My first car was a VW Bug.  It was a sporty car which I took to the drag strip.

16.  Bill said that when he completes a race, he feels like a young man.

17.  Bill was giving an inpirational speech and closed with “your life can be as full as mine.”

18.  Bobby used the expression “there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for John Kinde.”

19.  Bobby used the expression “for what it’s worth” three times.

THE MONOLOGUE

I don’t have anything.  (I start to leave the speaking platform).
(A call back.  A good opener, one which I’ve used before.  Used as a current call-back, it freshens the joke.)

To start our humor session, Billie Wilson will now present some humorous observations.  Just kidding!
(This joke had pros and cons.  A trigger was the techniaque of building tension.  Putting a guest on the spot could be a negative.  You need to remove the pressure in a timely manner, not waiting too long to deliver the Just-Kidding line.)

The only thing worse than to be introduced as the funniest person in the district…is to be introduced as the person who is funnier than the funniest person in the district.
(The truth is funny.  And it added a layer to the onion by exaggerating the original humorous line that Bobby had delivered.)

It made me want to use some colorful language.
(Played with the double meening of the word colorful.)

I have a correction to the timer’s report.  It was noted that I spoke earlier for six and a half minutes.  The correct time for the Educational Moment was that I spoke for two minutes.  And JD Smith spoke for four and a half minutes.
(The first sentence builds tension.  The final punchline runs the danger of appearing that I was belittling JD’s excellent contributions.  I had the line written into the monologue, and I think it would have received a big laugh, but I chose not to deliver it.)

Jon (pointing to him), John (pointing to me), and John (pointing to the restrooms).

I’m gonna try some Observational Humor.
(Often, when I hear advice of something NOT to do, I look for a place to do it.)

Before I start I’m going to have Ryan and Jon get down on the floor and put their hands behind their heads.  They could both hurt me.
(The first joke got a good laugh.  The topper got a weak laugh.  I feel it was a good line, but got smothered in my delivery.)

I’m proud to say I have a lot in common with Bill Lusk. 
(Sets the scene for a series of jokes.)

Hair Genes.  Blue Jeans.
(Play with rhyme.  Simple joke.  Very good laugh.)

When he was young he got a Porsche.  When I was young I got a VW Bug.
(Just a set-up.  Not intended to be a joke, although could appear as one as I go from BIG to LITTLE.)

My VW Bug and I became two.
(Silly, perhaps whimsical.  Excellent laugh.)

My bug had headers, a tachometer, and mag wheels.
I raced it at the Ontario Motor Speedway.  Bill, you probably raced there. (Bill replied, “No that race track was closed before I got down there.”)

Now that REALLY makes me feel old!
(A funny line which came to me in the moment.  The truth is funny.)

When I was done racing, I felt like I was 60 years old.
(A reversal.)

Your life can be as full as mine.  And I am full of it.
(Self-deprecation.)

There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for Bobby Williams.  And for what it’s worth, I’d like to thank Bobby for nothing.
(A call-back on Bobby’s remarks.  Good and funny closer.)

Humor Contest Results — It Was So Windy

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

It’s time for the March Joke Contest. The theme comes from the popular “How Windy Was It” Johnny Carson routine. We had the challenge to come up with lines for:

– How hungry were you?
– How hot were you
– How rich were you?
– How funny were you?

Here are the top lines submitted by our readers:

BEST LINES

– I’m so hungry, I’ll swallow anything that political pundits are saying.
Tom Nee, Oak Lawn, Illinois

– I’m so hot, I can’t eat humble pie until it’s cold.
Kaye Newton, Raymond Terrace, New South Wales, Australia

– I’m so rich, I go cow tipping with hundred dollar bills.
Ethan Nguyen, Las Vegas, Nevada

– I’m so funny, when I view the Mona Lisa, she smirks.
Gerald Fleischmann, Fountain Valley, California

RUNNER-UP LINES

– I’m so hungry, I could eat a vegetarian.
Les Harden, Brisbane, Australia

– I’m so hot, I can’t get within three feet of my curtains.
Ardelle Bellman, Las Vegas, Nevada

– I’m so rich, when the old woman in a shoe asked for help to get a bigger place, I bought her Italy.
Marty Bernstein, Oak Park, Illinois

– I’m so un-funny, my joke got Horrible Mention.
Pete Ward

HONORABLE MENTION

– I’m so hot, I moonlight as sunshine.
– I’m so rich, I vacation in Silicon Valley to see how poor people live.
– I’m so rich, my Hip Hop CDs come with a rapper.
– I’m so rich, I make my stock brokers look like broke stalkers.
– I’m so hungry, I could eat a vegetarian.
– I’m so funny, I made John Kinde smile. Of course he was standing on his head.
– I’m so hot, I am Victoria’s Secret.
– I’m so hungry, my stomach growls at 66 decibels.
– I’m so funny, my wife laughs at all my old jokes every time I tell them.
– I’m so funny, bloggers ask for my joke contest ideas.
– I’m so funny, I drive a clown car.
– I’m so rich, I had the Bentley windshield ground to my glasses prescription.
– I’m so hot, I’m required by law to carry ice cubes at all times.
– I’m so hot, my dates wear fireproof suits.
– I’m so rich, my wife had to divorce me twice.
– I’m so hungry, when I walk into a fast food restaurant, its stock price rises.
– I’m so rich, if I’m losing at the casino, I buy the casino.
– I’m so funny, people laugh at me even before I get to the punchline.
– I’m so hungry, when they see me coming, “all you can eat” restaurants hang “out of business” signs on their door.
– I’m so hot, they call me Mr. Habañero.
– I’m so rich, I hired someone to write the rest of this joke for me.
– I’m so rich, I raise people’s cholesterol just walking past them.
– I’m so funny, the judges of these contests are jealous.
– I’m so funny, my wife laughed at one of my jokes.
– I’m so funny, all the other contestants hired me to write their jokes.

Observational Humor — Case Study #117

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

We had another excellent meeting. Two guests. Four speakers preparing for their Area Contests. We’ll look at Observational Humor, starting with the set-ups, the jokes, and a brief examination of what made the jokes funny.

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

1. It was one of the most windy nights we’ve seen in a long time. The wind was so strong it kept blowing the front door open.

2. The awards for Toastmaster of the Year and Spark Plug of the Year for the club were presented. Members were recognized for contributions to the club, including being a “Cheer Leader” for Toastmasters.

3. Before the meeting started, Bobby joked that he loved seeing guests because he likes seeing people he doesn’t owe money to.

4. Our Gramarian looks for filler words: So, Ah, and other meaningless filler words. She said that Ethan had a BUT and a WELL.

5. We have been having younger members join our club. They are talented and bring good energy to the meetings.

6. Guest Nick said he was born and raised in Las Vegas.

7. A speaker told about visiting a sperm bank and seeing their donor books categorized by descriptions of the donors: Height, Ethnicity, Education, etc.

THE MONOLOGUE

We have an announcement. If you drove to the meeting tonight…your car is now in Kansas.
(We were having the biggest wind storm I had seen in years. The first
thought I had was “You’re not in Kansas anymore.” I used that line to
arrive at the line I actually used.)

Give me a T. Give me an O. Give me a M-A-S-T-E-R. What does it
spell? Toastmaster! Yea!
(I played the role of an un-talented cheer leader. I was well cast in that role.)

After the presentation of Toastmaster of the Year and Sparkplug of the Year earlier this evening, I realized I need to be more of a cheer leader.
(The line got a bigger laugh than I expected.)

Bobby says he loves seeing guests at the meeting because he likes to see people to whom he doesn’t owe money. What Bobby doesn’t know is that Dustin and Nick are both undercover agents for the IRS.
(I asked myself, how could Bobby owe the guests money?)

I’m not sure, but I think the gramarian said that Ethan had “a butt in the well.”

(I twisted a call back using a sound-alike phrase.)

I’ve noticed that recently our new members and our guests are young, talented and good looking. They are making us old-timers look bad. In fact one of our new members referred to us as “you older speakers.”
(The truth is funny. The new members ARE young, talented, good
looking.)

All I have to say is that one day, you younger speakers are going to look like me.
(Self deprecation. Very big laugh.)

Nick said something that surprised me. You said that you were born here. (Nick agreed.) That amazes me, because I didn’t think the building was that old.
(I took a literal statement to the extreme. I thought that Nick would
confirm that he had said HERE, but he obviously he didn’t mean THIS
BUILDING. A big laugh.)

Often times, a guest will tell me that they’ve seen me before. That mightbe because I’m in the National Speakers Association Directory. Or it might be because of my web site. Or it might be because I’m in the donor books for TALL, for SCANDANAVIAN,  
and for SENSE OF HUMOR.
(A call back. Good job tying me into the donor books. I was using the “drop myself into their story” technique.  Good laugh.)

Observational Humor — Case Study # 114

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Here is another look at an Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting.  We’ll look at what set up the jokes, then we’ll look at the jokes themselves, and finally we’ll take a brief look at what made the jokes work.

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

1.  An evaluator commented on a speaker’s high-energy entrance to open his speech.

2.  A member giving an impromptu speech said his favorite kind of humor was that which “slaps you in the face.”

3.  Three people had to leave the meeting early.  One was a guest speaker, and two were people who had come to hear the guest speaker.  To accommodate their schedules they had requested that the guest speaker present early in the program.  The agenda showed the guest speaker as the third speaker, and he was moved to the number one speaking slot.

4.  A speaker gave us three tips for being funny.

5.  A speaker said that a coach gave him three tips for dealing with a heckler and then charged him $40.

6.  A speaker told us not to bluff when playing video poker.

7.  A speaker told a story about being asked to be someone’s bowling partner.

8.  A speaker told about a skilled stand-up comic who was Asian, Gay and very funny.  He connected with the audience because he was authentic.

9.  A speaker talked about doing comedy and dying on stage.

THE MONOLOGUE

(I was introduced and made my usual slow-motion entrance using my walker)  Another high-energy entrance.
(Self-deprecation.  Also a good way to set aside the issue of my slower than normal pace.)

And another monologue of humor that slaps you in the face.
(SelfdeprecationAnd good call-back which worked with my contrasting style.)

You probably noticed that three people left the meeting early.  All three of them specifically asked if I could speak last.
(A reversalAnd another selfdeprecation line.)

My secret to being funny:
1.  Think funny
2.  Look funny
3.  Smell funny
(Playing with alternate word meaningFunny doesn’t always mean generating-laughter.)

And the secret to handling hecklersPay them $40.
(A twist.  Using the $40 to pay the heckler for his silence.)

We were told that to handle hecklers:
Comment on what they are wearing.
Comment on who they’re with.
Comment on what they said.

It was just my luck.  Last weekend I had a heckler:
He was naked.
He was alone.
 And he didn’t speak English.
(I used the dropmyselfintotheirstory technique and used an absurd triplett.)

Another tip.  Don’t bluff when you’re taking a breathalyzer.
(A call back.  I asked myself the question, where else would be a dumb place to bluff? Although I didn’t do it, this would have been a good place to use a triplett, three places where it would be stupid to bluff.)

I was at a night club Saturday night.  I saw a hot babe.  She came over, and whispered in my ear:  Will you be my bowling partner?
(Absurd.  Good call back.)

We were told that to make the big-time we should:
Be Asian
Be Funny
And be gay.
(sigh) If only I were Asian.
(Absurd response to the advice.)

I’ve never died while on stage.  But to be on the safe side, it would be a good idea to stop talking.
(Suggesting that the longer I talk, the less funny I’ll be.)

Using Humor On a Sales Call

Friday, March 7th, 2014

How do you use humor on sales calls?

1. I prefer fresh humor over off-the-shelf jokes in most cases. With that said, passing on jokes you’ve heard or read might be the right thing for you. If you’re a great joke teller, recycled jokes might be right up your alley. It’s just not at the top of my personal list of ways to make connections.

2. Storytelling is a great vehicle if you have the skill. It’s different from telling jokes you’ve heard. When I say storytelling, I mean sharing of happenings in your life. This could also include using borrowed stories, but your own original tales will usually have more impact. A story is usually longer than a standard set-up/joke sequence of humor.

3. In sales calls you have the question of “the chicken or the egg.”  Although humor is a great relationship builder, I am a fan of “the relationship comes first.” My concern is establishing the “permission factor” which paves the way for jokes to be positively received. There is the chance that an aggressive joke teller may come across as a clown and not a professional. The amount of humor and the type of humor which you can sucessfully use is best measured by the nature and depth of your relationship with the client.

4. As in speaking, a great form of humor is self-deprecation. It usually works well to poke fun at yourself. If you can master the art of self-deprecation, it opens the door for other types of humor.

5. What is the humor style of the client? If they never use humor, they may not be as open to humor as a client who is always making funny remarks. The process of matching humor to the client is the technique of mirroring. It’s similar to observing the pace and energy of the client and matching your communication style to be received on the same style wave length.

6. Less is more. Be cautious about going humor overload. A little spice goes a long way. Once you learn what works, you can adjust your style.

7. Use other vehicles to share the fun. I remember a paper salesman who called on my father’s printing business 50 years ago. He was fun and interesting. He used the vehicle of magic to break the ice and create relationships. What hobbies and skills do you have which may provide you with unique vehicles to connect with your clients?

8. Have a short sales-call critique form where you can list things that worked and didn’t work in the area of humor. Maybe something funny was said by you or the client that is a “new joke” which you can re-use at the next sales call. This critique form will jog your memory and save your funny moments to help you enrich the quality of future calls.

9. The best answer to the question of “how to use humor on a sales call,” is answered by your own experience. Trial and error. What works for you? Experiment and learn by doing. Harvest funny moments. Learn from your mistakes. You’ll develop a style that will set you apart from your competitors.

New Joke Contest — It Was So Windy Today

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

The joke theme for this month is inspired by the Johnny Carson joke bit:  “It was windy today.” The audience replies, “How windy was it?” Carson responds with a series of jokes. “It was so windy that (punch line).”

For this month’s joke contest we’re providing four “joke starters.”  You can write punchlines for just one starter, or more than one, if you feel inspired.

The starters are:
I’m so hungry…
I’m so funny…
I’m so hot…
I’m so rich…

Here are some examples:

I’m so hungry…I could eat something that was good for me.

I’m so funny…I almost made John Kinde smile.

I’m so hot…I have a license to carry a concealed fire extinguisher.

I’m so rich…my total annual income taxes could pay the interest on the national debt for one second.

Write as many lines as you can. Then select your three best lines for consideration by our judges for Top Three Recognition. Additional lines will be eligible for Honorable Mention. Submit your lines by sending them to
HumorPowerTips@HumorPower.com by March 15, 2014.