The most frightening weapon of all time, a spoon.
I am working on my “Humorously Speaking” manual for my Toastmaster program. Some people seems to have natural talent with a good sense of humor, but humor can also be learned. You just have to remember the basic principle of humor and practice, everyone can become a decent joke master.
Telling a joke always has 5 basic parts. The first part is the set-up. It builds up the expectation of the audience so you can surprise them later. Then it follows by a pause to draw the attention of of audience. Then the punch line is the sentence that creates humor. Within the punch line, there is a punch word, the word that triggers the laughter. After the punch line, follow by another pause to give the audience time to absorb the joke and enjoy it.
A joke starts with a target, someone or something you want to make fun of. Hostility to the target in subtle or obvious way is fun. But because choosing a target that suits your audience. Sex, racial, religion jokes sometimes may be offensive to some people. Then use exaggeration and emotion to draw the attention of the audience before surprising them with the punch line. Humor must be unexpected. The joke would be less effective if you laugh at your own joke or you tell the audience you are about to tell a joke.
There are eight handy methods to construct the punch line:
- Exaggeration, push your imagination to make the tales sounds absurd.
- Incongruity, two genuine points followed by an radical point.
- Reverse of view point
- Definition to distort the meaning of the subject
- Combination the characteristics of two totally unrelated items
- Play on words, use words with different meaning in different context
- Understatement, the opposite end of exaggeration
- Implication, let the audience draw the missing connection
Here are some examples:
Philosophy is so difficult that even philosophers don’t understand it. (Exaggeration)
Talking philosophy in a date makes you sound intelligent, sophisticated and boring. (Incongruity)
Nietzsche says God is dead; God says Nietzsche is dead. (Reverse of view point)
The cost of doing philosophy research is minimal, it only have food and shelter the philosophy. The easiest way to apply for philosophy research grant is through social welfare. (Definition)
A moralist questions others morality, a skeptical moralist questions his own morality. (Combination)
Why an immoral person wearing a T-backs? Because he wants to become immortal. (Play on words)
Sophie’s boyfriend is a philosopher; He loves Sophie. (Understatement)
Philosophers thinks about all sorts of questions except the question “How to earn a living?” (Implication)
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You may have already read from the news, someone made a 14 pages New York Times special edition and distribute on major US cities. The newspaper is dated July 4th, 2009, next year’s independence day. Instead of printing the news so what have happened, it prints the news they hope to print. The news articles are pretty interesting, from the end of Iraq war, to UN pass a ban on all weapons, to free university education for all. They even make a fake New York Times website mimic the real New York Times website. You can check out all articles at the website or download the PDF file for the full paper version. Even the advertisement in the paper is fake and yet very funny, especially the McDonald one.
The news in the fake New York Times is too good to be true, some of them are just simply unrealistic. The US, Russian and North Korean give up their all weapons, from guns to nuclear bomb, is a nice idea, should they also hug each other or fight with fists? Harvard business school closing its door and all students study social work is good one, but what do we with all those extra social workers? Free university education, health insurance for everyone is surely nice, if the government figure out where the money comes from. The nationalize all the corporates, cut the pay check of the fat executives and jail all the bankers sounds good, only if the government bureaucracy can be more efficient the market. Banning cars and air travel for the environment is too naive, what about those of us who want the convenience. Well, it’s a fake news paper poking fun of the current mess on this Earth. Just that I don’t think I hope those news comes true. The ideas in the news won’t work even in the most idealistic world.
I just pulled off a Here is a very cruel but harmless practical joke on my friend today. We went to have dessert after dinner and chatted for a long time. When we are about to leave, my friend really want to go to the washroom. Unfortunately the dessert place has no washroom, so I asked whether he can hold on until we go to a McDonald or gas station. He said he really have to go, so we look for washroom in the shopping mall next to the dessert place. It is quite late, so the mall is half closed. We managed to sneak inside and locate the washroom. I walked first, so naturally I grab the door handle of the washroom for him. Out of the blue, I decide to pull a practical joke on my friend. I pretend the door is locked and fake trying very hard to open the door. It is so funny to see the look of my friend. I think he almost at point of no return that he can no longer hold it anymore. If I didn’t tell him at once the door is actually not locked, I think he could have peed in his pant. Oh! Yeah. I waited quite some time outside the washroom for him to finish his business.