Ellen Degeneres is just an awesome comedian. I loved her way before she hit the mainstream…. I loved her stand up comedy on HBO. Big funny.

And she still rocks. Likable. Funny. Smart. Clean. Awesome comedian.

Her website is cool too. : )

I got a note from a lawyer and a minister who are writing about the hurricanes that hit Lousiana and Mississippi. Turns out that they are as intersted as I am with humor in difficult (or even impossible times.)

Check out this exerpt:

Amongst all this, people have kept their sense of humor. It is a remarkable human gift to make light of what can’t be changed. Here are some examples:
* We were driving down Highway 90 to Biloxi and saw the local goofy golf, Fun Time USA, and still standing was Humpty Dumpty, still on his wall.
* In Biloxi, the Ronald McDonald statute still stands and welcomes people, but the building is just beams and strewn about bricks.
* One torn up house has a sign in front: “Extreme Home Makeover”.
* A Dodge Ram truck with a large tree imbedded across it has a sign, “Ram tough, not Katrina tough.”
* A sign in front of one house has ” Coast 0, Katrina 1, 1st half.”
* One store had a sign that said, ” No shoes, No shirt, No-rmal.”
* We have borrowed the garden club sign that says “Yard of the Month” and are sticking it in front of friends houses and taking pictures of the sign in front of a damaged house, trees down, and piles of debris. We will frame and present them later.
*As we were making deliveries one day, our church van sputtered and spat and turned over and over with out starting. One of the ministers put his hands together like prayer and it turned over, then they laughed and laughed.
* Speaking of that van, it kept backfiring a lot and often in uneasy situtions, like when we passed police or Guard blockades. We started laughing that the National Guard was going to shoot back. Well, it was funny at the time.
* One resident who lives on 2nd Street, which parallels the beach highway, said this was really a good thing for the real estate market… now we have beach front for two and three blocks back from the beach.
* We are constantly laughing and marvelling about small things—-
like how a house will be missing from a lot, but the periwinkles are still blooming in the front bed; or
how two 30-40′ boats are just sitting, not crashed, in a cemetary about 300 yards from water, having mysteriously gotten through 50 yards of large trees, yet all the real and plastic flowers in the vases on the gravesites are still there; how a wall will be missing but the dishes in the shelves against that wall are still there; orhow a piece of pine straw can be imbedded one inch into another tree trunk;
how people can laugh with such sadness all around.

Thanks guys. I’m amazed at this…. great going

Magic Unlimited with Ellis & Webster
Roll’em roll’em roll’em…

magic trickPenguin Magic are currently holding a contest to see if they can find the world’s fastest coin roller.

If you think you can do a coin roll more than 40 times in one minute, you’re in for a chance and Penguin will fly you to Las Vegas to do it for the Guinness World Record People. The rules are set out below, if you think you’re in with a shot, read more about it here:

1. The set time is one minute.
2. The coin must be US currency in current circulation.
3. The coin must start between the thumb and first finger, make a revolution around the hand, and it’s counted as ONE when it reaches that thumb and first finger position again.
4. The coin is not allowed to skip a finger.
5. The coin is not allowed to drop during the set time.
6. You can perform the coin roll with either your left hand or your right hand.

One of my mentors was Orville Meyer. As a young magician in Nebraska, he had to WORK to learn tricks. He traded tricks with others by mail, did his best to figure tricks out for himself, and worked hard to meet other magicians travelling through Nebraska. Magic secrets for Orville were treasures as they were so hard to learn.

Now, in our age of the internet, there is a ton of good stuff out there. Check out this post from a magician Aaron Smith. It’s good information for the advanced magician.

Orville would have been amazed to find this stuff so easily. I don’t know if he would laugh or cry.

Well, not exactly. I was recently in the audience at the Comedy Works to see a a few Colorado comedians. It was an excellent show.

I had a huge “ah ha” moment when watching the opening comic. I learned from him that sometimes the set up can get a bigger reaction than the punch line. He set up the joke this way: “I LOVE that sign we have on I-70 that says TRUCKERS, YOU ARE NOT DOWN YET.”

This set up got a HUGE reaction. Laughter and anticipation. We loved it because we have passed that sign a million times. It was specific and niched just for those of us that live in the Denver, Colorado region.

I honestly cannot remember the punch line, but I remember that it wasn’t very funny. But the joke was still worth keeping because the set up rocked.

So, fast forward a bit to my work. I did a corporate comedian date later that week, and used many of the same type of set ups. Very specific set ups to THAT group. My punch lines were fine, but the most important part was that the premise was specific to that audience.

Anyhoo…I bet that is more about comedy technique than you ever needed to know. I think it is fascinating.

Learn more about my work as a clean comedian here.

Want more resources about humor techniques, and tips for speakers?

Yet I love magic. Good magic is more about good magicians than good tricks…. Read this excerpt from a great post by Steve Pellegrino:

“If you do the Linking Rings, you are doing what 90% of all the other magicians are doing – in the audience’s eyes. Once you take the rings out, people know what’s going to happen because chances are they’ve seen another magician do it. So just the fact that you’ve included the effect in your repertoire makes you look like every other magician.

What we have to learn is how to make the show about the experience and have us, the performer, be what the audience goes away liking first, the magic second. Bill Malone is the perfect example of that. You remember the person before you remember the magic.”

Nice Job, Steve

Amber Fry was the mistres of Scott Peterson, the man who murdered his wife and son.

So guess who is America’s newest motivational speaker? Yup, that same Amber Fry.

I’m almost sure that my job as a motivational speaker is safe. :)

Thanks to Bradon Staggs for this info!

Newsweek has a really interesting article about comedian Lenny Bruce by Brian Braiker:

“If a comic gets onstage and tells his audience “I am not a comedian,” he’d better say something important—or really damn funny. Lenny Bruce—the hepcat who took his act from L.A. strip clubs to Carnegie Hall, redefining stand-up in the process—did both. Now, nearly 40 years after a fatal drug overdose, a dizzyingly complete six-CD collection of his trailblazing routines has been released.

Thanks boingboing!

Just saw a young comedian named Josh Blue. He bills himself as the man who puts the cerebral in Cerebral Palsy. He headlined Denver Colorado’s comedy club, the Comedy Works and did an excellent job.

He is practically the poster child for self-depreciating humor. I bet 90% of his jokes were about him, his disease, and how it affects him. And the audience roared.

But honestly, my favorite part of Josh’s act was the part that he is likable. Really likable. He enjoys his job, he loves making us laugh, and best of all… he lets us know that he is having fun.

Great job, Josh.

Learn more about likable performers and what I call the “Dinner Rule” here.
Learn about my work as a corporate clean comedian here.

This is cool. Funny motivational speaker (and pal) Joseph Mitchelli is writing a book about Starbucks….

…. free coffee – and a free book- if you have a story about Starbucks.

Go here: www.starbucksstories.com

Joseph is a good guy… this book will ROCK!