Soup Bowls can be funny!

Sometimes comedy can come from the most mundane of things. I just had a lot of fun with. . .(drum roll please). . SOUP BOWLS! Yeah, I know, not a hilarious topic. But I dragged the funny out of it pretty easily by making it a running theme, during my Finding the Funny in Communications program last week, by doing a lot of callbacks to it. Callbacks are, you guessed it, when we “callback” to something that happened earlier in the program/day/presentation. I’ve got a lot of them in my act – I start out my humor by doing jokes on kids, and then throughout my act  – whether I’m talking about work or dieting – I refer to things I mentioned during the kids jokes. It’s a great way to tie your act together with a theme of sorts, and get a second, third or fourth laugh out of an original joke without too much effort.

Why did I choose soup bowls?

But back to the soup bowls. . . At the conference last week, all of the attendees were given soup bowls (among other things), and the client made mention of it before I went on. Sooo, this gave me a perfect opportunity to have some fun by saying that “wow, the company has gone all out for you by giving you SOUP BOWLS.” This got a great laugh, and by paying attention to my jokes, I was able to slip in a soup bowl reference several times throughout the morning . . . like during my joke about rewarding employees (“sometimes all you need to give ‘em is a soup bowl”) or my dieting jokes (“one low-cal food is soup in a soup bowl”). I also had some fun in the beginning by saying that the company wasn’t sure if they should give a soup bowl or a plate. . .or maybe a saucer – but then you have to add a cup, etc. . .

Now, I wasn’t mean about it, and I did concede that it was a nice gift, etc. . .but I was able to drag out lots of humor because we all think of a soup bowl as kinda plain – when in fact this wasn’t just a bowl, it’s a traveling bowl with a lid, etc. . (see the picture –it’s mobile, so you can have soup in your car).

5 ways to find a good callback:

  • listen to the speaker ahead of you and see if he/she uses a theme throughout that you can incorporate too?
  • see what the give-aways are. . .soup bowls anyone?
  • is there a theme to the conference you can wind thru your presentation?
  • does your group have a slogan they use?
  • do you mention something more than once in two separate places in your speech?

I’ll give some more in-depth details in my blog later this week on steps to find callbacks, but these will get you started. So next time you want to include humor, you don’t have to start from scratch. . . see if there’s something already that you can play off of.


Lots of humor at the Jimmy Buffet concert last week! Here I am on a funny car!