I had a really nice visit with a friend of mine today who knows more about humor and comedy then anyone in this whole world that I know. We talked a few minutes about timing and in comedy the difference between a great laugh and a smile is just the matter of waiting a mini-second for the humor to sink in. A mini-second seems like a year as you wait patiently for that laugh. If you go ahead without the delay then you step on the laugh and it seems impolite to laugh when you start talking again too quickly. Or possibly, and quite likely you never stopped talking. It takes courage to wait for the laughter. I started thinking about timing. There is a line in the song Bring On The Clowns that says, “Isn’t it rich? Isn’t it queer, Losing my timing this late in my career?” We both agreed that it is tough keeping your timing when you are not given the opportunity to fine tune your material several times to get it right and to keep it working. I remember when I first started speaking as a professional. If wonderful things happened then I would get a booking once a week. Then one week I had three bookings in one week and I got to do mostly the same material at each banquet. I’d say that I advanced light years by the end of that third presentation. I was no longer fumbling around remembering the material, the material was already there in my mind ready for delivery and I could enjoy the ability to work on timing, waiting for laughs, and with that came the opportunity to ad lib and get two and three and sometimes four laughs out of the same bit of material. My friend told me that it was getting tougher and tougher in the humor speaking business and that now, each talk was a real challenge.
Now I’m not ignoring the position of you, the readers of this newsletters. I know that almost none of you will ever try to do stand up comedy or even become a humorist, however, I believe that almost all of you have to get up on your feet and stand up in front of an audience or fellow workers and if you can make opportunities for yourself to do it three or four times in a week and if you will try to insert just a bit of humor into what you are doing you will experience a new breakthrough for yourself. But of course, remember, that nothing happens if you do nothing. Once I got my speaking skills in order I could not believe how many doors opened for me in my career.