Humor Demystified: How (and why) to make every speech funnier
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From toasts, to keynotes, to everything between, a little humor goes a long way. It can connect the speaker to the audience, deflect a controversy, emphasize a point, or add a little levity to a speech that sorely needs it. Of course, comedy can intimidate—but if you understand the unique, important role humor plays in a speech, as well as the fundamentals of joke-writing, even the most serious speakers (and speechwriters) can expertly wield killer one-liners.
- Identify the benefits of adding humor to traditional speeches
- Highlight examples from business and politics to strategically deploy humor in your writing
- Draw on current events for topical source material so your humor is relevant and timely
- Employ joke constructions that fit any presentation
- Use the philosophy of improvisation to quickly write jokes for any occasion
Brian Agler's humor is regularly featured in The New Yorker and McSweeney's. He served on the writing staff for the District of Comedy Roast of James Carville and has contributed material to the Alfalfa Club, Gridiron Club and Al Smith dinners. Occasionally, he emerges "notorious" at New York City's only pun competition, Punderdome 3000. When he's not crafting jokes, Brian writes for Fortune 50 CEOs, foundation presidents and influential thought leaders on global trade, mobile technology and the evolution of media. Recently, he was a speechwriter at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Before West Wing Writers, Brian was a media strategist at OMD. Previously, he worked with The Second City, in Chicago, and on Thomas Menino's successful 2010 reelection campaign in Boston. He lives in New York City. @brianagler