Public Speaking Course:
Old Humor is Good Humor
Skills from my public speaking course include using old funny material to
merge entertainment and emphasis of a key point.
Humor is only old if your audience has heard it before and if they remember
all the details of it. People usually don't remember the exact details of jokes,
one-liners, and stories even if they have heard them before on a different
occasion. Or if some of your audience members recognize the joke, they probably
don't remember the punch line. With that said, people that do remember the punch
line usually still won't mind hearing it again if it is told well.
A reason that most people don't remember jokes and other pieces of humor is
that the humor is usually heard out of context. The humor was not used while
making a point, which is the way you should use it for your presentation. The
joke or funny material was used strictly for entertainment purpose only and was
enjoyed and quickly forgotten.
The way to tell a very old joke or story is to let the audience know it is
old. This is the one time when you might want to tell the audience you have a
joke or story coming. If you don't tell them that you know it is old, they will
likely think you are out of touch with the modern world. If you tell them you
are going to tell an old story or joke, you are telling them you know it's old,
but it makes the point so well that you think it is worth telling again.
You might also come across jokes and stories that can update to fit your
presentation. Some can be updated as easily as adding a current name.
For example, here is an old politician joke:
Joe the politician said he was so surprised about his nomination that his
acceptance speech fell out of his pocket.
All you have to do to update this one is to change the name from Joe to the
current politician or association member you want to tease. You could also make
this a joke on yourself if you know you are going
to be nominated for something.
Here is another one that can be used for presidents, or to tease any business
"A man was alone in a rowboat on the Potomac shouting No! No! No! Someone
on the riverbank said, 'Is that guy crazy or what?' Another man fishing said,
'No. That's just one of President Clinton's Yes Men on vacation."
All you have to do on this one is to change the name of the river and
substitute your BIG TARGET (i.e. boss or C.E.O) where you see the name President
In my public speaking course I show you that a little old humor used properly