with a creative twist, and everyone goes
“Oh, I get it.” That is fun to watch.
FUTCH And when it’s layered with different
levels of comedy, or you come back to a
situation or funny line, I think that adds
another level of eloquence.
THURMON There are speakers out there
reading this magazine who are thinking “I
want to put some humor in my presentation. How do I do it?”
CULBERSON It’s easier to talk about what
doesn’t work. One example is when they
don’t know when to stop. When you see
somebody that keeps trying to be funny
and it’s not working, and they keep trying.
That is painful.
RIZZO It’s hard to teach “funny.” You can
give tips, but I think the problem speakers
have is that they want to be hysterical. So,
when a joke doesn’t work, they feel like the
whole speech is caving in. And once you
have that, you lose confidence. The audience knows you’re losing confidence and
then not only does the joke not work, the
speech doesn’t work either.
FUTCH I tell people, if you think you’re not
funny, you’re probably right. You can learn
to use humor, but it won’t become your
RIZZO And you can be entertaining without
FUTCH Right. Absolutely.
RIZZO There are a lot of other things you can
do. You don’t have to be drop dead funny.
FUTCH Sometimes people open with their
only joke. If you’ve only got one joke, you
should use it somewhere down in the presentation. Don’t start with it. Otherwise, you
create a false expectation. There won’t be
anything else that’s funny after that first line.
CULBERSON I once watched a speaker,
an NSA member, use “old” jokes throughout his whole program. And, they had
absolutely no relevance to what he was
teaching. In other words, he would teach
a concept, tell an unrelated joke and then
go back to the concept. There was no
connection. It was so distracting that I
totally lost track of what he was teaching.
FUTCH He didn’t know how to make it
relate. If you have a strong, funny story,
there’s almost always a way to make it
relate. That you can teach, I think. It takes