(ignore these and you can start passing out pillows and blankets)
Don't signal your punch line. If the humor in your punch line depends upon the words ruptured camel, don't say the following: Did you hear the one about the ruptured camel?
Don't EVER repeat a punch line! Once the surprise is revealed, the joke is history. I'll repeat this, but I don't want to hear you repeating any punch lines. Let me repeat. Don't EVER repeat a punch line. Don't EVER repeat a punch line. NEVER repeat a punch line. You'll be shot by the humor firing squad if you repeat a punch line. OK. I'll let you repeat one, but only under certain circumstances. Here's the exception. If you had a joke or punch line that bombed miserably, you can call it back later to make fun of yourself.
You must absolutely, positively memorize your punch line. You should be able to awaken out of a deep sleep in an earthquake and, without hesitation, deliver your punch line accurately. Give all the facts necessary for the joke to make sense. The humor is lost if you leave out the necessary details.
NEVER, EVER explain your joke. If they don't understand, it's your fault for telling the wrong joke to the wrong audience. The hypnotist says, 'You're getting sleeeepy.'
Use the fewest words possible to get to the punch line. Brevity is truly the soul of wit (never use a worn out cliché either). The longer the joke, the funnier it must be.
Don't walk around too much when telling a joke or story. I walk, but I stop when important points are being made and when I'm delivering a punch line.
If you use notes, highlight or mark upcoming jokes or stories so they don't sneak up on you. They will need special emphasis.
Practice! Practice! Practice! I tell a joke or story 30 to 50 times in practice before I use it in a presentation.