Humor for Speakers

Adapt Jokes in Anticipation of Pending Events and File Them for Topical Use in the Future

by John Cantu ©

MONTHLY HUMOR CALENDAR: Every January, there are New Year's Day hangover jokes and also jokes about the January sales. Also, in January, tons and tons and tons of people go on diets in an attempt to lose tons and tons and tons of weight - it's that New Year's resolution concept.

In February you have Ground Hog's day and Valentine's Day; and later in the year you have June weddings and in July and August hot jokes will be topical, etc. So, sometimes a joke that doesn't work or isn't appropriate at the moment can be filed away to be tied into a specific holiday or month or season.

And that's what makes the amateurs wonder, "Gee how can Cantu always think of those funny lines all the time?" The professional secret: Preparation, not chance and inspiration. People drive me nuts when they brag, "Gee I do my best stuff when I'm just winging it and making it up!" Yeah, sure.

We all occasionally think of a spontaneously funny line, but I ran the San Francisco comedy club where Robin Williams developed his act. Williams does not make up all that stuff as he goes along - some he does, yes, but he also has lines and entire chunks he plugs into what is happening at the moment. I've seen him do lines in performances and interviews that he was doing back in the 70s at the Holy City Zoo. Amateurs cast their fate to the winds of chance; Professionals are prepared.

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