Humor and Finding Your Perfect Match

Recently, someone I know created a web site to meet Ms Right. In

his site he shared in great detail who he was and what he was

looking for. A great idea and nicely written with lots of humor.

After reading it, the humor side of my brain started asking

questions.

If I were designing my own personal web site, would it be

appropriate to include Google Ads.

Reasons for listing Google Ads.

1. If readers were bored with my biography, they would have convenient places

to go.

2. If readers loved what they saw and they sent their friends to

the site to check me out, their friends could shop for wedding

gifts while they were there.

3. If the site got no responses, at least I’d make a few bucks on

the side.

Reasons for not listing Google Ads.

1. The ads might be more interesting than my biography.

2. They might run ads for someone else’s personal web site.

3. They might run ads for divorce attorneys.

That got me thinking about seven years ago when I was creating my

own internet personal ads looking for the right person. Did you

know that when you tell people you’re looking for someone with

three eyes, people with only two eyes will respond to your ad

anyway?

I also discovered that a generic ad, maybe 25-50 words, usually

received no response. So I experimented with a long-form ad, over 1000 words. And would you believe that I included lots of

humor? Every time I posted the longer ad, I received around 50

replies. I’m not sure whether they were attracted to me or to my

writing!

In my ads I included an Online Personals Dictionary with dozens of convenient translations of typical ad phrases into real-world

language. This was a tongue-in-cheek “public service” to help

people understand what personal ads were really saying. Here are a few samples:

In shape = Round is a shape.

Swimmers build = A whale swims.

Honest = Will immediately stop chatting with you once you tell them your age.

Open minded = Brains fell out years ago.

Good looking = Able to look at things really well.

Handsome = A quote from his mother.

Educated = Will treat you like an idiot.

Masculine = Looks like a caveman.

Age is relative = Looks like your uncle.

Athletic = Watches sports on TV.

Visits gym = Loves looking at self in the mirror.

Likes quiet evenings at home, candlelit dinners and walks in the

rain = Not an original thought in his head.

Long-term relationship = More than two weeks in length.

Love at first sight = When two lonesome, non-selective people meet for the first time.

In the ad, throughout my self-description, I would drop in an

occasional bit of humor: “I’ve never robbed a bank. Neither have you. Convenience store OK.”

The response was overwhelmingly positive. I only received one

negative reply in three posting of the longer, humorous ads. One

person suggested I was bitter. The writer was probably very much

in need of a laugh. The response told me it was definitely not a

match for me. The ad was doing its job.

The good news is that I met the love of my life through an online

ad. I now have a terrific relationship and we laugh together every day.

Comedy Writing – Readers Love It When Humor Hits Close to Home

Comedy writing is about being able to tell a story or express an opinion that your audience can relate to. The more emotional the connection, the funnier it gets, especially if alcohol is involved. The challenge is writing humorous pieces that hits a chord with your readers. The best way is to come up with a premise that holds truth, or some of it at least, to your target audience.

A premise is basically a statement that will be your basis of trust. For example, marriage is like long term prostitution. Married men, who are the sole breadwinners, will enthusiastically say, “Hell yeah!” to this bold statement. Women will probably take offense. Of course, it is a bit of an exaggeration but it does have an emotional impact, be it negative or positive. It also grabs attention, which is half the battle in comedy writing. The premise needs to get your readers’ attention, kinda like hailing a taxi cab during rush hour. Once you get inside, you can take them for a ride.

A good premise can be based on but not limited to the following:

1. Pain. Everybody can relate to pain because we’ve all felt it. You can talk about heartbreaks, lousy jobs, shattered dreams, being obese, or any type of agony. Just stay away from terminal diseases.

3. Experience. Stories can be funny but you have to structure them in a way where there are actual punch lines. So the key is to talk about something that really happened to you but add a bit of exaggeration and misdirection to make it funny so you get your reader to be in stitches saying, “That is so funny because it is so true! It happened to me too!”

4. Stating the obvious. Sometimes just telling something the way it is can be funny. Everybody’s thinking it but nobody has the guts to say it. Like if you write about Michelle Obama looking like a Ferengi from Star Trek, that would be hilarious. Or maybe it’s just you who thinks that. You’d be surprised at how afraid people are to point out the obvious.

So to reiterate, when writing comedy material, come up with an observation or premise that is authentic and spice it up with how you feel about it. Then expound on that idea and explore the different facets that make it funny. The rest will follow.

Add Humor to Your Speech Without Telling Jokes

How often have you heard someone start a speech with a joke? Too often probably. Speakers with limited experience tend to tell jokes just to get a laugh in the hope the audience will warm up to them. The jokes are often irrelevant to the topic of their speech.

Experienced speakers know there are better ways to add humor to a speech or presentation, including:.

Using funny stories and anecdotes–not jokes–in your speech

Everyone has had bad experiences that become funny with the passage of time. They make great stories Remember that today’s tragedy is tomorrow’s funny anecdote.

If you don’t feel comfortable talking about yourself, borrow stories from other people. It’s acceptable to as long as you credit the source.

Collecting Stories from your audience

“Jollytologist” Allen Klein tells how he’d often ask his audiences “How do you spell relief?” “L-A-U-G-H” was his answer. Then during one of his presentations, an audience member cried out, “D-I-V-O-R-C-E.” It was hysterical. Klein now relates the story as part of many of his presentations.

Creating a fun atmosphere in the room before you speak

Since I’m a former news anchor and sportscaster, I sometimes arranged for the person introducing me to show some of my worst on-air bloopers in video clips (there was plenty of material to draw from). The bloopers always got people laughing, and also let them know I wasn’t afraid to laugh at myself a little–a great way to connect with them right from the start.

Self-denigrating humor

In the 70’s, President Gerald Ford was skewered regularly on Saturday Night Live about his lack of grace. Ford struck back by making fun of himself better than the SNL writers ever could.

He told his audiences about the night he met his wife Betty, and how he wanted to dance with her “in the worst way.” Then he’d say, “And Betty later told me I did just that–dance in the worst way.”

Ford also said he had to become the center on his college football team because center was the only position where he didn’t have to move my feet.

If someone as important as a former president can poke fun at himself, the rest of us can too. Self-denigrating humor is a powerful tool.

Using interesting props in your speech

I’d sometimes bring along “IFB” to use as a as a prop. An IFB (which stands for “interruptible feedback) is an ear piece TV reporters use when they’re doing live reports from the scene of a news story. The IFB allows them to hear what the people back in the studio are saying to them as they’re being introduced, and also allows them to hear questions the anchors might ask.

I would sometimes show a blooper clip of what can happen when something goes wrong with an IFB. The clip showed a female reporter stuttering and stammering during a live report. She sounded absolutely smashed. She wasn’t.

It turns out someone had unintentionally pressed the wrong button back in the control room, and the reporter was hearing her own words in her IFB about half a second after she spoke, which, take my word for it, is extremely distracting. For about 15 seconds, she battled and tried to be as professional as she could, but the harder she tried, the funnier she sounded. She finally ripped the IFB from her ear and continued her report.

The clip always got the audience howling.

Borrowing humor

The Internet is a great place to find one liners and funny quotes. Personally, I borrowed often from Yogi Berra (“When you come to a fork in the road, take it…”), Will Rogers (“when Democrats want to form a firing squad, they get into a circle…”) and many others.

Buying humor from people who sell it

There are professionals who will write funny stuff for you, and they’re generally not expensive. You can also check your local comedy club and hire someone who’s probably pretty good at writing one liners. Or do a search for “humor writers” or “humorists” on the Internet.

Steve Allen once said, “People would rather be entertained than educated.” But if you can entertain and educate at the same time, you have the makings of a great speech–without ever telling a single joke.