Contestant interview is one of the fun parts of a Toastmasters contest. Always try to be a star of contestant interviews. One of the ways to be a star is to add few observational humor lines to your answers. You can learn observational humor here. The other way is to be spontaneous and having presence of mind.
Last week, I participated in Division C of District 59 Humorous Speech Contest. One week before the contest, the contest master asked all the participants to fill in our profiles so that he could prepare questions for the interview. I filled in “Writing jokes” as my hobby. I should have prepared for the interview based on the info I gave in my profile. For example, possible questions on writing jokes as hobby could be
1. Who is your favorite comedian and why?
2. What is the secret to writing great jokes?
3. What is the best joke you’ve ever written?
4. What makes people laugh?
But I hadn’t prepared for the contestant interview. I planned to add few observational humor lines. And this is how my interview went
Contest Master: You’ve written in your profile that writing jokes is your hobby. So, tell us, Bala. What makes people laugh?
I: What makes people laugh?! [repeats his question and acts like thinking] [huge laughter from the audience]
(The reason why there was huge laughter for this line was that the audience were already warmed up after listening to 8 humorous speeches. Anything you say is going to get a laugh. And if your are repeating something someone says, it triggers the superiority theory. i.e. a person whose hobby is writing jokes, who is skilled at writing jokes, has to think a lot about answering the question “What makes people laugh?”)
I: Just repeat what someone says. [huge laughter again]
(I had my presence of mind there. For the first line I said, the audience laughed. And what made them laugh? A: Just repeating contest master’s question. So I stated the obvious. This was spontaneous and made it look like a clever answer. Stating the obvious is another formula for jokes.)
I: Here is one more. Get married. There’s plenty of material.
(This was observational humor. When I gave my humorous speech, I made a joke about my wife. So, I made a callback.)
My interview stopped there. But John Kinde suggested me a topper after the conference was over. That would have made a perfect closure. Here it is.
I: And have some kids.
(Universal humor – jokes about wife, kids, in-laws etc. Since I joked about wife, joking about kids would have made a great topper. I missed out on that chance.)
Always drop in few observational humor lines at contestant interviews. And have presence of mind. And be a star. And be a star. In other words, just repeat what someone says.