Devin Bisanz, September 30 2019

The Entertaining Speaker- How To Add Humour To Your Speech


Hello and Welcome,

At least three professional public speakers have told me, "I don't tell jokes!"

I'm impulsed to respond, "Ha. Ha. Ha." I have to hold myself back.

I feel like a speaker is doing a disservice if they don't have the audience laughing their faces off. That's why telling jokes is a part of my training program. If you don't have jokes then great! I supply the jokes. 

A man tells his doctor, “Doc, help me. I’m addicted to Twitter!”The doctor replies, “Sorry, I don’t follow you …”
What did one hat say to the other? You wait here. I’ll go on a head.
I asked my French friend if she likes to play video games. She said, “Wii.”

Great speakers insert jokes into stories. You can use these following four templates to add humour, or inspiration to any speech.

1. The Rule Of Three

This is the oldest joke template in history and you hear it everywhere. It's so obvious that comedians often go to four. The astute reader will pick up on the rule of three in this blog.   

The setup: take any subject and say three things about it. The first two things are believable, and the third thing is something left field, only you can think of, or extreme exaggeration.  

Let’s do it! 

Subject: Needles

Joke: I don't like needles, snakes, or diaper rash.

Pro tip: stop caring if people laugh. You're looking for a reaction. Laughter would be nice but expect anything. 

Subject: Grandma

Joke: my grandmother’s hobbies are knitting, crocheting, and involuntary manslaughter.

Subject: Public speaking

Joke: public speaking is scary, embarrassing, and harder than I make it look. 

Euwwwwwwwwwwww. 

2. The One Liner

The one-liner is usually the first thing you think about certain subjects and it's often the truth.  There is no template for one-liners but I do suggest utilizing your smartphone. Like the time I was at a wedding looking at my phone. My wife asked what I was doing so I said, “Well I couldn’t think of a wedding joke so I’m Googling one in case I have a chance to speak to the wedding party.”

My wife got interested and we picked out a one-liner. As the evening went on I had just a few seconds to greet the wedding party table so I blasted, “Is the lovely couple open to a little advice?” They shouted yes so I said, “Never go to bed angry. Stay up and fight!”


Look for spots to insert one-liners into your speeches. Google the one liner if you have to. I've been Googling one-liners for years and it always makes people laugh.

3. If… then…

This is the easiest template you can use to crack a joke. If (this happens)… then (punch line).

Example:

If I can make you laugh out loud… then you must be feeling good.

During a training session I said, "If a cow could jump over the moon…"

"Then you can trust a man!" Shouted a woman. It was funny, people liked it. 

If you walk a mile in my shoes… then you are a thief! 

IDK, I just write em as I go, and remember, IDC if it's funny. I use this template on my wife pretty much every single day and she laughs 70% of the time. Worth it?

4.  When I do/say/hear… what I really mean is…

When I say, “The glass is half full… what I really mean is, 'I’ve got $43 riding on the next lottery.'” 

Pro tip: it's all about the tone; for example, Sometimes people piss me off and I say, "It's okay, I'm only angry on the inside." And I always get a laugh, but my sister in-law tried it once and got kicked out of a corner store.

When I say, “You’re not funny…. What I really mean is, 'You’re not funny.'”

To sum it up:

These exact templates can also be used to inspire audiences; for example, when I say, "The glass is half full... what I really mean is that you have to take that leap of faith and be positive!"   

The obstacle: WHAT IF people don’t think you’re funny? Then, you can fact check on Google the names of the psychologists who studied professional comedians and discovered a unique skill that comedians possess. Comedians have the ability to take comedic risk- which means they put themselves out there and tell whatever joke comes to mind- and if the joke flops- the comedian simply checks that joke off as a miss fire, and moves on to the next joke. 

Bomb, move on, got it? 

Have a great and wonderful day!


Written by

Devin Bisanz

Previous Master of Ceremonies Tips and Tricks
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