He actually traded a single red paperclip for a house. (With many bartered trades in between.) I have already mentioned that this guy has a supreme sense of joy. See my previous post about one red paperclip.

From his website: Oneredpaperclip.com:

It’s “official.” I’m going to trade one movie role for one house with the town of Kipling Saskatchewan. But nothing’s official until Dom and I go to Kipling and shake hands with the Mayor. Dom and I will be in Kipling on Wednesday July 12th to shake hands with the mayor of Kipling, Pat Jackson, and Bert Roach, Kipling’s community development officer…and probably a whole bunch of other people as well. Then it’ll be official – without the quotation marks. (Funny enough, I actually held my hands over my head and did those “quotation mark” thingy’s when I typed out the word “official” the first time. Please don’t ask me how I managed to type the word “official” with my hands over my head. Unlike trading one red paperclip for a house, I still have no idea how I did it.) Anyhow, this is gonna be so much fun. We’re going to seal the deal on July 12th – exactly one year to the day I put a picture of one red paperclip on this site.

What a crack up. No way this guy is in a bad mood. He set off on an awesome adventure. Think he has a sense of humor? You bet!

Or Missile.

Check out this funny photo. I have no idea if it is real or not, but there is no reason why it couldn’t be real.

practical joke

Here’s the idea: you buy some missile-shaped balloons, tie them to your car, and then drive like mad down the highway. It’s funny, and this practical joke is victimeless (which for me is the only good type of practical joke.)

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Humor Expert, Fan of Victimless Practical Jokes

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This sad news:

Comedian Red Buttons Dies in L.A. at 87
Thursday July 13

Red Buttons, the carrot-topped burlesque comedian who became a top star in early television and then in a dramatic role won the 1957 Oscar as supporting actor in “Sayonara,” died Thursday. He was 87.

Buttons died of vascular disease at his home in the Century City area of Los Angeles, publicist Warren Cowan said. He had been ill for some time, and was with family members when he died, Cowan said.

With his eager manner and rapid-fire wit, Buttons excelled in every phase of show business, from the Borscht Belt of the 1930s to celebrity roasts in the 1990s.

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His greatest achievement came with his "Sayonara" role as Sgt. Joe Kelly, the soldier in the post-World War II occupation forces in Japan whose romance with a Japanese woman (Myoshi Umeki, who also won an Academy Award) ends in tragedy.

Josh Logan, who directed the James Michener story that starred Marlon Brando, was at first hesitant to cast a well-known comedian in such a somber role.

"The tests were so extensive that they could just put scenery around them and release the footage as a feature film," Buttons remarked.

Buttons' Academy Award led to other films, both dramas and comedies. They included "Imitation General," "The Big Circus," "Hatari!" "The Longest Day," "Up From the Beach," "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" "The Poseidon Adventure," "Gable and Lombard" and "Pete's Dragon."

A performer since his teens, Buttons was noticed by burlesque theater owners and he became the youngest comic on the circuit. He had graduated to small roles on Broadway before being drafted in 1943.

Along with dozens of other future stars, including Mario Lanza, John Forsythe, Karl Malden and Lee J. Cobb, Buttons was enlisted for "Winged Victory," the play that famed director-playwright Moss Hart created for the Air Force. Buttons also appeared in the 1944 film version, directed by George Cukor.

Discharged in 1946, Buttons returned to nightclub and theater work. In 1952, CBS signed him for a weekly show as the network's answer to NBC's Milton Berle.

"The Red Buttons Show" was first broadcast on CBS Oct. 14, 1952, without a sponsor since the star was virtually unknown. Within a month, the show became a solid hit and advertisers were clamoring.

Buttons drew on all his past experience for monologues, songs, dances and sketches featuring such characters as a punch-drunk fighter, a scrappy street kid, a Sad Sack GI and a blundering German. The hit of the show was a silly song in which he pranced about the stage singing, "Ho! Ho!... He! He!... Ha! Ha!... Strange things are happening!" It became a national craze.

After a sensational first season, "The Red Buttons Show" began to slide. Reports circulated that the star had fits of temper and frequently fired writers, and the show ended after three seasons.

"Certainly I made mistakes, and mistakes were made for me," he said in 1960. "When you go into TV cold, as I did, it's murder."

While the failure was a severe blow to the normally optimistic comedian, he soon recovered and resumed his career as a guest star on TV shows. A straight role on "Suspense" brought him to the attention of Logan, who cast him for the career-making "Sayonara."

In 1966, Buttons starred in another series, "The Double Life of Henry Phyfe," as a humble accountant enlisted as a government spy. The show lasted only six months.

Over the years Buttons remained a steady performer on television, appearing on such series as "Knots Landing," "Roseanne" and "ER." He also took his act on the road, appearing at Las Vegas, Atlantic City, conventions, and returning to his beginnings in the Catskills.

Still in good health at 76 ("They call me the only Yiddish leprechaun"), he appeared in New York in 1995 with an autobiographical one-man show, "Buttons on Broadway."

It was his first Broadway show since 1948, when he appeared in a play with the unfortunate title of "Hold It." One critic, Buttons recalled, began his review: "`Hold It?' Fold it."

Buttons was born Aaron Chwatt on Feb. 15, 1919, son of an immigrant milliner, in a tough Manhattan neighborhood where, he once said, "you either grew up to be a judge or you went to the electric chair."

He struggled through schools in Manhattan and the Bronx "Mom and Pop went to school as often as I did; they should have graduated with me." He started performing at the age of 12, winning an amateur contest singing "Sweet Jenny Brown" in a sailor's suit.

At 16 he was working as a singer and bellhop in a gin mill on New York's City Island. Since all bellhops were called Buttons and Chwatt had red hair, he got his new name.

During his summer vacation, he worked as a singer on the Borscht Circuit the string of Catskills resorts catering to a largely Jewish clientele where Danny Kaye, Sid Caesar, Mel Brooks, Hart and others trained for stardom.

In later years, Buttons became a favorite at testimonial/roast dinners with his roaringly funny "Never had a dinner" routine. He cited famous figures who had never been so honored. Examples: "Abe Lincoln, who said `A house divided is a condominium,' never had a dinner"; "(Perennial presidential candidate) Jerry Brown, whose theme song is `California, Here I Go,' never had a dinner." (When he did "Buttons on Broadway," he altered the routine and named people who never did one-man shows.)
AP Photo
AP Photo ap

In 1982, Red Buttons finally had a dinner. The Friars Club honored him with a star-filled roast and a life-achievement award.

"When I was a kid in the Bronx and watching and dreaming from the second balcony," the guest of honor said, "in my wildest imagination I couldn't have written this scenario tonight."

Buttons was married and divorced twice in his early career. He is survived by his third wife, Alicia, their children, Amy and Adam, and a sister.

We'll Miss You, Red

Brad Montgomery, Clean Corporate Comedian, Fan of Red Buttons

Yesterday, I did my motivational humorist thing for the good folks at Stewart Title of Colorado Springs. It was a great group, and a fun group and a wonderful day.

One of the main reasons this group invited me to speak to them is that they needed (and I mean needed) to laugh. Over the past two years, they’ve had more changes in their management and leadership than they would have liked.

Add to that the recent woes that all title folks have experienced recently with the increase of interest rates resulting in layoffs and a general downturn in business, and what you get is a bunch of people doing good in difficult situations.

My mission? Come in and show them the “other side of the coin.” Show them that in spite of their genuine difficulties they’ve experienced, life —and their work — is still good. That a fun and humorous workplace is still available to them; and essential for them.

How did we do it? What did I talk about? In addition to all of the same tips and ideas I share with most groups about learning to take ourselves lightly while taking what we do seriously, we went straight at the pain. We joked about the turnover in presidents. We joked that the current President, David Dickard was probably temporary too. (David gave me his blessing to joke about him.) We joked about the multiple sales managers, the loss of business due to the interest rates, and we even joked about what we ate at the lunch 42 minutes ago. We joked about how the new software was more of a pain that they would like. We even… check this out… mentioned the layoffs. (You’d be amazed at how many clients with recent layoffs instruct me not to mention the layoffs… as though their staff might forget them?)
I had two choices: either avoid talking about the problems they have had and go for the “life is good” bit, or go straight at the recent problems and difficulties, shine a light on them, and try to live with ’em. We went for that second choice and I’m glad we did. Yup, things have been hard. Yup, the rates are up and that makes business harder. Yup, there have been layoffs. Yup, the leadership has shuffled more then they’d like. Yup, the new software package isn’t what they had hoped. “Now, what are we gonna do to 1) make sure that doesn’t happen again and 2) how are we going to try to stay sane (and happy!) in spite of the problems?”

One of my favorite parts of yesterday’s program was watching the difference in the group’s mood between where they were at the beginning of the keynote, to where they ended up. At the beginning, they were smiling, but still weary and guarded. At the end, at least from my perspective, they were just relaxed, “in the moment,” and in a much better (and louder) mood. Seeing the change in their body language, their faces, and even their volume was absolutely wonderful.

Hey Stewart Title of Colorado Springs! Favor? What was your “ah ha” from yesterday’s keynote speech? What did YOU take away with you? Can you comment below?

Brad Montgomery
Humorist, Motivational Keynote Speaker, Huge Fan of Stewart Title!

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Ok, so I admit that as funny as these beards are, they sorta creep me out. Can you imagine eating spaghetti with this guy? (Can you say, “Dude… there’s a meatball on your cheek.”)

German Beard Championships
Creative beard : Elmar Weiss with his windmill beard competes in the International German Beard Championships in Hesel, northern Germany.

But on the other hand, I LOVE the fact they this guy (and the rest of his pals from the FOX TV “WHEN Facial Hair Goes Wrong” show) has found something that makes him laugh. I’m guessing that when this guy smiles for the little kid in Dennys (Hey! He’s gotta eat somewhere!) he is in a genuine good mood. I’m guessing that his attitude is pretty darned postitive.

beard on speaker

It has to be, doesn’t it? Is there any way YOU could be freaked out about your over-flowing email in-box, or the long to-do list in your cubicle if you had one of these beards? (Yes, if your name is “Sarah,” “Lisa,” or “Bev”… but I’m pretty sure you get the point.)

As for me, I smile when I shave. :)

Yours,
Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Humor Expert, Closely Shaven Dude

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I’m so pleased…my big brother finally hit the web.   Check out his new site EdVantage Consulting!
Even though he is my big brother, I’m so proud.

Need an education consultant?  Some help picking your textbooks?  Call my brother Mark Montgomery.

Need a education based motivational speaker for your conference?  Need your teachers to laugh AND learn at your next inservice?  Call me!

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Education Speaker, Little Brother of Mark

My favorite part of nearly all sporting events is the show we get after the game is finished. I just love watching the winners celebrate. Who doesn’t?

It’s hard not to smile; it’s hard to stay in a bad mood when you see jump-out-of-your-skin-with-happiness people.world cup happiness

In these photos of the world cup, the joy is obvious. And for me, it’s catching.

What does this mean for us? What does it mean to you? For one thing, it’s a reminder that we are affected by the people with whom we associate. If we are with interesting, postive, happy people we become more like them. Same thing with negative, toxic people.

What’s my point? It means that we should consciously seek out positive, feel-good events and people; and we need to be careful about too much exposure to toxic people.

What do you think? Too deep for just some World Cup photos?

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Humorist, Sports Fan

world cup

Re-bookings. :)

I just got invited to come back to speak and do my humor-in-the-workplace seminar for the State of Florida Department of Revenue.

THis will be my 4th or 5th time back to Florida for this client.

Cool!

Thanks Florida DOR!

Brad Montgomery
Florida Keynote Speaker, Humor in the Workplace Expert, Fan of the DOR!

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I love the Onion Newspapers. Check out this awesome parody of motivational speakers.

STILLWATER, OK—Motivational speaker Ron Kalbee was long known for saying, “The word failure is not in my vocabulary.” Author of the best-selling You Can Do It!, his eight-step plan to personal fulfillment has helped millions turn dreams into reality.

Bankrupt Motivational Speaker Adds Word 'Failure' To His Vocabulary

Now, according to Kalbee, after six failed real-estate ventures, two divorces, two bankruptcies and a five- to ten-year prison sentence for tax evasion, he is adding the word to his vocabulary.

“I am a miserable, hopeless failure,” said Kalbee from his 5’x5′ cell in Stillwater State Prison. “Am I ready to add the word? You better believe it.”

At the height of his career, Kalbee packed conference rooms from Florida to California with aspiring entrepreneurs who paid $249 to hear him speak.

Check out the whole motivational speaker parody here.

To be honest, some motivational speakers are hilarious in this way. But in my experience most of ’em are an impressive lot. Still, this parody cracked me up What do you think? Are motivational speakers a joke? Comment!
Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Fan of THE ONION

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women laughing with funny keynote speaker