Archive for November, 2014

The Many Vehicles of Pippin

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Last night, I attended the performance of Pippin at The Smith Center in Las Vegas. The subtitle for the musical could have been Son of Charlemagne meets Cirque du Soleil. I attended with my occasional show buddy, Patricia Fripp. Enjoying the show with a friend gave us the opportunity to share our feelings of, “What was that all about?”  We talked about the show “over coffee,” or more accurately, over a seafood dinner.

As the curtain dropped, it left the audience to explore hidden meanings. It was the sort of musical which is perfect for a theater-appreciation class. Was it about the meaning of life, coming of age, breaking the rules, happiness, or other philosophical questions left disguised as the lights went out?

What impressed me about Pippin was the variety of vehicles that were used to carry the message and entertainment:

– Acting
– Dancing
– Singing
– Humor
– Gymnastics
– Acrobatics
– Juggling
– Magic
– Metaphors

Especially impressive were the talents of the lead actor playing Pippin, Kyle Dean Massey. A gifted actor, singer, dancer, and athlete with a Chippendale body.

If the production comes touring in your city, enjoy the show. And discuss it with friends over coffee after the performance.

Observational Humor — Case Study #128

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Here is another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting.  It was a small audience, only nine people, but good Observational Humor plays big even with a small audience. First, we’ll take a look at the set-up for the jokes. Then we will examine the jokes and look at what made the jokes funny.

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

1. A speaker shared two ways of waking up in the morning: – GOOD MORNING God. – GOOD GOD it’s morning.

2. A speaker meant to say BETTER but said GOODER.

3. A speaker said we had TONS of reasons to stay in Toastmasters.

4. A frequent guest, Giget Swanson, was referred to as a repeat offender.

5. Giget announced that she was starting a new club.

6. A speaker accidentally referred to Giget as Ginger.

7. The word of the day was Dipsomaniac.

8. A speaker told the joke about a child digging thru a pile of manure saying “I know there’s a pony in here somewhere.”

9. A speaker talked about The Path to Inner Peace.

10. Bobby joked about hanging around an old friend. “And the nice thing was that he was still living.”

11. Carolyn arrived at the meeting late.

12. We had a guest named Gene.

13. Member Ryan Mulligan was present.

14. During a speaker evaluation, Jens recommended that the speaker focus on speaking more loudly.

15. A speaker joked if you had an average income, you would be richer than half the country.


Good God it’s Kinde. (A call back and self-deprecation.)

They considered having someone else to do the Observational Humor, but I was the gooder choice. (A call back to a mis-use of a word.)

This is a special club. Great guests. Great members. A ton of people here. (Turning TON into a running gag.)

A frequent guest is Giget. She was defined as a repeat offender. (This was mainly a set up. But it got a laugh as a call back.)

She’s starting a new club. That’s part of what is required of you when you are a repeat offender. She is part of the witness protection program, where her name is Ginger. (Strong call back of mis-use of name. Ginger was an unexpected topper. Big laugh.)

Gidget is a great cook. She invited me for dinner and I was so excited because she is a dipsomaniac…someone who never needs Dipso Bismol. (Just saying the word of the day got a good laugh, and made the Dipso Bismol a topper. Playing with sound-alike words: Pepto and Dipso.)

I went over to her house. We sat there eating dinner, watching Jeopardy. You haven’t lived until you’ve had a Swanson’s TV Dinner. (Very big laugh. An unexpected connection.)

And what I like about Giget, when she comes to the meeting she is always saying “I know there’s a pony in here somewhere.” (Good call back of phrase. Also, it is an implied punch line. Self-deprecation of club, implied that one has to dig to find something of value at the meeting.)

As a cook, I know whenever I go to her house it’s a path to dinner peas. (A spoonerism. I wasn’t sure that this joke would work. The new words come fast, and then they’re gone. But the twist on words got a good laugh.)

And she’s comfortable in this club because as a cook she likes being around hams and turkeys. (Remember self-deprecation jokes can poke fun at you, or a group to which you belong.)

So it’s great having Giget here. It adds a lot to the meeting. We have lots of wonderful people. (Transition.)

Bobby Williams. A good guy and he’s still living. (Understatement and a call-back.)

And we have the late Carolyn Peletier. (As President of the club, it was noticed by everyone that Carolyn was late getting to the meeting.)

And we’re blessed with good genes. (Played with double meaning of name of guest. A good, positive joke honors the guest.)

And if you make a mistake we’ve got a Mulligan. (A joke revisited. A mulligan is a “do over” in golf.)

And Jens, our model of loudness. (Took an earlier suggestion and linked it to a quality posessed by the maker of the suggestion. Jens has a really full and strong voice.)

As a final motivational thought, I’d like to give you this. If you are an average humor presenter you’re funnier than half the speakers here. (Good swapping of words to make a humorous point. Using a truth to get a laugh.)

Joke Contest Results — Twisted Cliches

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

The November Joke Contest was popular and attracted lots of great entries. Our panel of judges have selected a TOP FIVE this month.

The theme of the contests is Twisted Cliches. The challenge was to change a cliche by adding one letter, subtracting one letter, or changing one letter. Just one letter.

The next joke contest will be announded on December 1.

Here are the Top-Five entries and the Honorable Mentions.


On what it takes to be a fisherman:
All things come to those who bait.
Gerald Fleischmann, Fountain Valley, California, USA


On dieting:
Win one for the zipper.
Tom Nee, Oak Lawn, Illinois, USA


On fighting temptations during a diet program:
Cross that fridge when you come to it.
Surekha Shetty, Bangalore, India


On Homer Simpson’s advice:
Do as I say, not as I doh.
Marty Bernstein, Oak Park, Illinois, USA


At a snail’s funeral:
Another snail in the coffin.
Balakumar Shanmugam, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

HONORABLE MENTION (In random order)

— On Prince Charles watching a storm:
Lightning never strikes twice in the same palace.
— On a cloudy day:
Nothing ventured, nothing rained.
— On the surgeon’s motto:
Better late than sever.
— On selfish people:
Good things come to those who want.
— On professional golfers:
Money doesn’t grow on tees.

— On the bully’s motto:
The end justifies the meanys.
— On real estate disputes:
Possession is nine tenths of the lawn.
— On office procedures:
Nothing is certain but death and faxes.
— On talking funny:
Truth is stranger than diction.
— On new flavors:
Spice, the final frontier.

— On shopping centers:
The love of money is the root of mall evil.
— On major league baseball:
You can catch more flies with money than with vinegar.
— On law officers:
Honesty is the best police.
— On a sniper’s scope:
A sight for sure eyes.
— On discovering spilt milk:
Look before you lap.

— On proper attire for exercising your pets:
Walk a mole in his shoes
— On Mother’s Day:
Daughter is the best medicine.
— On writers collaborating on plays:
The whole nine Bards.
— On cold weather:
Home is where the heat is.
— On strong coffee:
It’s never too latte.

— On cleaning up your kid’s rooms:
Let the punishment fit the grime.
— On rich presents:
Love is bling.
— On your first house:
Home wasn’t built in a day.
— On travel:
There’s no place like Rome.
— On keeping dad in a good mood:
A watched pop never boils.

— On keeping pets.
Don’t press your duck.
— On wrestling:
You always hurl the one you love.
— On tipping for bad service:
Better buck next time.
— On phone-center automated responses:
If these calls could talk.
— On bungee jumping safety:
Hook before you leap.

— Still illegal in 49 states:
No good weed goes unpunished.
— On a beer pong contest.
Let’s get a keg up on the competition.
— On bagle shop marketing.
We think outside the lox.
— On knowing the fine art market:
A fool and his Monet are soon parted.
— On falling through the cracks:
Don’t push your duck.

— On trying to lose weight:
No good feed goes unpunished.
— On getting a job:
A rolling stone gathers no boss.
— On a warning to Zombies:
No good dead goes unpunished.
— On an antique gallery:
Time will sell.
— On an antique gallery:
As good as old.

— On a breakup letter:
Grin and tear it.
— On a costume designer:
The gift of the garb.
— On a headline for an accident report:
Fall head over wheels.
— On advice for compulsive credit card users:
Pay your cards right.
— On frequent job hopping:
In one year and out the other.

— Tagline for a surgical weight loss clinic:
Make a quick tuck
— On a couple patching up, after a fight:
A make-up call.
— On getting better at repartees:
Wise to the occasion.
— On a mantra of a fugitive:
Stick to one’s runs.
— On getting hitched with a rich, over-weight partner:
Marry a lot of weight.

— On a hairline escape in a deadly accident:
The miss of death.
— Advice for a bachelor in his advancing years:
Get a wife.
— On how famous authors congregate:
Bards of a feather flock together.
— On the effect of acid rain:
When it rains, it sours.
— On sowing and reaping:
What you seed is what you get.

— On the European Space Agency:
Easy comet, easy go.
— On sitting near the heater:
The early bird gets the warm.
— On why graffiti needs stationary objects:
A rolling stone gathers no mots.
— On full employment:
A thing of beauty is a job forever.
— On Italian domesticity:
A Roman’s place is in the home.

— On taking dares:
Boys will bet boys.
— On boys in the bay:
Boys will be buoys.
— On cooking fowl:
Chickens come home to roast.
— On the advantages of calisthenics:
All’s well that bends well.
— On expecting torture at sunrise:
At the rack of dawn.
— On deciding how to travel:
My plane or yours?

— On cleaning your ears:
Take the easy wax out
— On sober boating:
Take the wine out of your sails.
— Profitability of Pharmaceuticals:
There’s gold in them there pills.
— On inflation:
The dimes, they are a-changing.
— On the virtues of alcohol:
To praise the bar.

— On assessing a sheep:
You’re right on the mutton.
— On a tsunami:
A rising tide lofts all boats.
— On being unable to bathe:
It’s stink or swim
— On showing affection for a tree:
Giving a pat on the bark
— On peanut butter:
Stick to your gums

— On flowers with a fishy oder:
Stop and smelt the roses.
— On the benefits of over eating:
Survival of the fattest.
— On award-winning cheekiness:
Sassed with flying colors.
— On diminishing the effect of labor:
Peel back the union.
— On not getting enough affection:
Being kiss poor.

— On making a good written impression:
Put your best font forward.
— On heeding the courier:
Don’t shoo the messenger.
— On behavior near fermentation vats:
Don’t spit into the wine.
— On praising an Alaskan city:
East or West, Nome is best.
— On singing with Satan:
Give the devil his duet.

— On civil engineering:
I think, therefore I dam.
— On advice to vegans:
If you can’t stand the meat, get out of the kitchen.
— On the human condition:
Live and yearn.
— On being shortchanged:
A faker’s dozen.
— On parenting in the good old days:
Beat around the tush.

— Bookshop Sign:
Buy the book.
— Cooking class:
Herb your enthusiasm
— Should have dressed warmer:
Fools cold.
— On living in California:
Be it ever so rumble there’s no place like home.
— On buying a combine today:
It’ll cost you a farm and a leg.

— On the little engine that could:
For trying out loud.
— On Santa ready to deliver toys:
Bags all packed and ready to ho.
— On entering the tree farm business:
Baptism by fir.
— On buying a romance novel:
You can’t judge a book by it’s lover.
— On working so much you get a split personality:
All work and no play makes Jack a duel boy.

— On problems at the shoe factory:
All heel breaks loose.
— No patience for idiots:
At my twits end.
— On driving a manual transmission car:
Shift happens.
– On being excited about tomorrow:
Going mananas.
— On refusing to smile at something funny:
Going against the grin.

— On a church being robbed:
Crime doesn’t pray.
— On the roofers creed:
Getting back up on the house.
— On someone suggesting a bad wine:
A cork and bull story.
— On line-drying clothes with little poems on them:
Airing ditty laundry.
— On a shopping center hit by a tornado:
Mall bent out of shape.

— On a mechanic ready to listen to your transmission problem:
I’m all gears.
— On available poets:
A bard in hand is worth two in the bush.
— On the busy month for the tanning industry:
Beware the hides of March.
— On discussing argumentative secret agents:
A Bond of contention
— On a rich but naive pony:
A foal and his money are soon parted.

— On grocery workers promoted to helping checkers:
Bagging rights.
— On Alice Kramden’s opinion of her husband:
My better Ralf.
— On sleeping anywhere you want:
All over the nap.
— On heavy metal band singers:
Another day, another hollar.
— On Marcel Marceau’s best buddy:
Any friend of yours is a friend of mime.

— On modern music derived from the Bible:
As ye sow, so shall ye rap.
— On a fumble at the snap:
At the drop of a hut.
— On throwing away old fruit:
At the end of my ripe.
— On complaining about electronic transmissions:
A fax to grind.
— On someone new to Humor Power Contests:
A babe in the words.

— On a scuba partner who always corrects you:
A back seat diver.
— On a Victorian lady choosing her first paramour:
Back to squire one.
— On getting over being embarrassed:
Beat around the blushes.
— On sledding down sand hills:
Been there, dune that.
— On sleeping on the job at the sausage factory:
Catch 40 links.

— On someone skilled at math:
Easy as pi.
— On being cool:
Have an ice day.
— On a dog who growls in code:
His bark is Morse than his bite.
— On cartoon dialogue:
Holy POW.
— On a consultant giving advice:
If I told you, I’d have to bill you.

— On the futility of chastity:
Chaste makes waste.
— Note to the kitchen staff on how to sabotage the important dinner:
To many cooks, spoil the broth.
— Using a kitten as a gyroscope:
There’s more than one way to spin a cat.
— On being in debt and drinking excessively:
Neither a borrower nor a bender be.
— On the benefits of dieting:
What doesn’t fill you makes you stronger.

— On Chicago baseball fans deciding to support the Cubs:
Think outside the Sox.
— On living in Florida:
Time flies when you’re having sun.
— On Marcel Marceau enjoying work as a trapeze artist:
Mime flies when you’re having fun.
— On news headline about Marcel Marceau career as a nurse: Mime
heals all wounds.
— Coal executive talking about the deepest extraction point:
That’s the bottom mine.

— On Microsoft Windows:
Crash is King.
— Advice to someone who lost his left eye:
Always look on the right side.
— On making fun of the judiciary:
Justice is blond.
— On using an iCoffee brewer:
There is no i in Tea.
— On having tasted love:
Love is bland.

— On being good at time management:
Have the fast laugh.
— Reflections on the inventing of penicilin.
The good mold days.
— On a baby who hates bad weather:
When it rains it pouts.
— On a spicy Mexican dish:
Fire in the mole.
— On driving on a road under repair:
Tire in the hole.

— On calling 911:
Fire in the home.
— On a passionate actor:
Fire in the role.
— On asking a pessimist what he’s thinking about:
A penny for sour thoughts.
— On asking a well-traveled friend what to go see:
A penny for tour thoughts.

New Joke Contest — Slightly Twisted Cliches

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

The theme for our November joke contest is:   SLIGHTLY TWISTED CLICHES.

Twist a well-known phrase by leaving out one letter, or changing one letter, or adding one letter.   Not two letters.   Just one.

For example, a cliche:

A fool and his honey are soon parted.

All that glitters is not sold.

A jog is man’s best friend.

For lack of a shoe a hose was lost.

Write as many lines as you can.  And then write ten more.  Pick your best three and submit them for our TOP THREE recognition. You can submit more than three lines and the additional lines will be eligible for Honorable Mention recognition.

Submit your entries to by November 15, 2014

The next joke contest will be announced on December 1, 2014.