What happens when you’ve got a completely dry subject and you just can’t figure out a way to have fun with it? You have to think bigger. To find the funny when I’m speaking, I start with the group; if there’s not much there, I look at the room, then move out to the hotel and then move out farther and look at the city. If you’re writing an article/document, you can still have fun
with the city you’re in or the city that your audience is in. Here’s a couple things to pay attention to:
What is the city’s reputation. I do a lot of shows in Las Vegas, and I can always have fun with a group meeting there. One of the first jokes I wrote for a group was for mushroom growers in Vegas. I was told that one of the big mushroom farms had gone out of business because they overextended by buying too many mushroom farms – which was great because it was more money for the other growers. I made an analogy by saying “I was talking to a blackjack dealer last night, and he said the only way you could lose money faster than gambling is to buy a bunch of mushroom farms.” Great laughs and great instant connection. I can also start with a fun survey (see previous posts for surveys) by asking how many people have run out of money and are now enjoying the free cable TV. . .or something to that effect. So make your list of what the city is known for – you don’t have to do a lot of research, just look up Wikipedia or just think about it – their reputation should be something obvious that just about EVERYONE connects with the city. Remember Wisconsin has cheese, Seattle has rain, and Kansas is flat!
What’s the weather. You can also have fun with the city’s weather. Many towns in the Midwest are ALWAYS cold. . .open with your own analogy – I’ve started out with “it’s nice to be here in North Dakota’s “summer” or as we call it in Los Angeles – winter.” You can also make an analogy between the weather and something going on at the company. I was told once that a group in Iowa was not getting raises that year and that I could have some tasteful fun with that, so I said “Boy, you all have had a mild winter. In fact I understand the only thing frozen around here are salaries.” The weather is very relatable and many times you can use the joke over when you’re in another similar weather city.
What are the politics. Ok, you really don’t want to be pro or con a certain political group (unless you’re known for it), BUT if something weird political has happened, you can joke around without getting yourself in trouble. I did a show in Tallahassee, Florida in which they had just spent about a million dollars to build a bridge for ducks to safely cross the highway. Ok that’s funny and just about everyone has to be on your side when you joke about it.
Famous residents. EVERY city has someone famous who came from there or else some famous person did something there. Find out who the famous son or daughter is, and you can go to town with it. One small town’s website boasted that George Washington slept there on the way to crossing the Delaware. I had fun by pointing out that he took one look around the town and DIDN’T STAY.
There are other ways to have fun with the city if you do more research and find out why they were formed or when they were formed or who formed them. I’ve had fun with some towns that are cold-weather towns and they were originally started by settlers from another country who have since moved on. The town’s name is Russian for “its cold, let’s go south.” So give some thought, and maybe a quick Google search, to where you’re at in relation to the speech or written document, and you can find some quick humor for instant laughs!