These sections are particularly useful for creating gags to specific themes / for special occasions.
The book I'm talking about looks like this:
You can get a good used copy from Amazon for about £10. I absolutely recommend you get one, especially if you have a forthcoming speaking engagement.
At the front of the book is an index of more than 220 Charts and Illustrations running through the book, each giving the terminology for a different theme. This does the brainstorming for you on many subjects, and is the best single resource for creating themed gags that I have ever come across - and it's easy to use.
Speeches / Presentations
If you're giving any form of speech, you'll be all the more impressive if you include original jokes keyed in to the subject matter of your speech.
I'm going to write this section for a speaker at a wedding, but these methods will apply to any speech or presentation for any purpose or audience.
Humour is particularly desirable in wedding speeches. I've been privileged to write many speeches for weddings and have always been able to provide relevant humour.
Step 1: Brainstorm the people
What are their hobbies?
What jobs do they do?
Where do / will they live?
Do they have a bucket list?
Any unusual physical features?
Where are they from?
How did they meet?
You'll end up with a list of subjects which may even be quite short. Armed with the Readers Digest Reverse Dictionary, this is not likely to be disastrous.
Step 2: Look at the Charts and Illustrations index at the front of the Reverse Dictionary, which looks like this:
Let's take the wedding of Cath, a nurse and amateur fencer; and Alf who's a butcher who's into skiing. Please Note: I anticipate finding dozens of jokes just from these four snippets of info..
Step 3a: View the table of fencing terms, p. 186. Pull out any potentially useful terms, particularly puns and words-within words, rhymes etc. At this stage we write down all contenders, whether they're relevant or not, or whether or not they are funny - we'll decide between them later. Here we go: I provide where I feel a joke might come from after the '-' in each line.
Appel: A stamp of the foot as a feint - apple
Epee: A sword - a pee, the princess and the pea
Feint: False attack - faint
Fleche: Attack by a quick run forward - flesh (ties in with Alf's work)
Foible: Weaker part of the blade, near the point - unusual quirk
Foil: Light sword for competition - tin foil, Foyle's War
Piste: Rectangular area in which bouts take place - ski slope
Plastron: Protective clothing - she's good at putting a plaster on
Sabre: Sword for cut and thrust - sabre-toothed tiger
Volt: Sudden movement to dodge a thrust - electricity
10 potential gags so far
Step 3b: List, potentially useful words from tables / charts about butchery, particularly any that connect with any of the above (beef cuts, p. 50 / / lamb cuts p.285 / pork cuts, p. 390.)
Blade bone - a weapon he can use
Chuck, brisket - more self-defence: chucking a brisket or a tin of biscuits
Shoulder - He has to be careful not to get the cold
Wing rib - When he gets one ready, he remembers what an angel she is
Flank, rump, topside - He's unsure which bit of her he likes the best, but inside he knows it's her heart
Saddle - if any connection with riding / Westerns etc
Noisettes - small noises - How she likes those 3 whispered words, 'You're right, Cath,'
Pork cuts: Nothing
7 more gags, total 17
Step 3c: Look up tables / charts of nursing / medical terms: Digestive system, p. 142, the ear, p. 159, fractures, p. 204, heart, p. 240, medical instruments, p. 317, medicines, p. 318, mouth, nose and throat, p. 335, nervous system, p. 343, psychiatry terms, p. 406, skin, p. 475, operations, p. 507,
Please note that this is a huge collection of possible humour. If you were doing this exercise in real life, yes you could work through them all (As a professional I would - and will - in this post), but it might make more sense initially just to look at the areas of medicine that the bride has specialised in. It depends if you've got the time to do it.
Being a glutton for punishment, I'm going to quickly whizz through all of them. Here we go:
The digestive system
The parotid gland - parrots
Alimentary gland - elementary school, elementary Watson
The liver - she really knows how to live
The pancreas - St Pancreas Station
Decompression sickness - Has she lost weight to get into the dress? Does she need to come out of it in stages?
Tachycardia - It means higher pulse rate. Does it also mean 'Thanks everyone for not getting us any tacky cards?'
Tinnitus - the happy couple amplified it and used it in place of the church bells
The iris: a lady's name
Vitreous humour: the main content of the eyeball
Cornea - grade of humour
Pupil - as a student of comedy from the world of medicine, I hope that my speech will be like the eyeball: full of vitreous humour and nothing cornea.
The auricle: The Bride is full of wisdom, something of an oracle
The superior vena cava: The heart-vessel used for storing wine for celebrations
Audiometer - the bride borrowed one from work to make sure tonight's stereo system was up to speed
CAT scanner - checking health of any pet cats
Defibrillator - Lie detection apparatus
Dermotome - Contains the name Dermot
Gastroscope: A guide to the regions's gastro-pubs
Scalpel - knife for surgically removing hair
Chrematomania: obsession with wealth - will it drive you to the crematorium?
Hippomania: an obsession with horses? - Surely it's an obsession with hippos?
Gephyrmania: obsession with bridges - contains the name Jeff
Mythomania: obsession with lies - use in conjunction with a defibrillator being a lie detector
Theomania: obsession with religion - contains the name Theo
Tomomania: obsession with surgery - contains the name Tom
Dromomania - obsession with travelling on a camel
Anthomania - obsession with flowers, contains the name Ann
Bronchodilator - It's a gladiator who fights off brontosauses
Expectorant - an incredibly disappointing word. It starts off with great expectations and ends up with a mouthful of phlegm
Codeine: for pain and cough relief, particularly used by 2nd World War codebreakers to keep their minds focussed
Lumbar nerves - those belonging to lumberjacks
Amnesia - Rhyme with Ambrosia Creamed Rice, the best rice pudding on the market
Conditioning - relate to Bride washing her hair
Fugue - dream-like state, plus a beautiful form of music, the Fugue Fighters - a popular band
Caesarian - Many gifts have come our way, some delivered by DHL, some by Hermes. But our greatest gift is our son Paul who was delivered two months ago by Caesarian.
Cryosurgery - Alf has had this procedure which involved the freezing and storing of his tears when Paul was born in case he needs them in the future to remind Cath that he's a New Man.
Orchidectomy: removal of a testicle - sounds like it's about flowers. Use with Anthomania, obsession with flowers. Knowing how much Cath loves flowers, he was going to get an Orchidectomy - until he discovered it was the removal of a testicle.
39 medical gags, running total 56
Step 3d: Look up skiing terms, p. 474
Piste - use with the same word in fencing: When she said let's get ready for the piste, he wasn't sure whether to go for his skis or epee.
Herringboning - Alf, as a fish eater, has said that his first interest in skiing was sparked by the term Herringboning,. He wondered if you could get herring in the Alps.
Mogul - Once while skiing, Alf saw Alan Sugar, Rupert Murdoch, and Richard Branson skiing down a bumpy slope in front of him. He realised it was a mogul field
Traversing - crossing a snowfield or the world - by camel: a camel on skis?
3 more gags grand total 59.
The next task is to turn these ideas into completed jokes. This has been a long post so I'm going to stop now. I'll come back to this task tomorrow. Please do visit again to see the completed picture, which will include the crafting of all the gags and the selection of those which would go into this fictional speech.