Monday, July 19, 2010

Public Speaking: Audience Gags

Audience Gags

Audience gags are offbeat jokes that occur unexpectedly during a presentation.
Dr. Joel Goodman, from the Humor Project, does one where a telephone rings
during his presentation. He answers the phone that was hidden in the lectern and
pretends to talk to his mother. The same joke would be called a running gag if
the phone rang at several other times during the program.

Ten Wanted Men

I staged a gag at a seminar one time that was loads of fun and took less than one
minute to complete. Before the program, I picked out about 10 fun-loving
audience members to help me. I gave them secret instructions that were to be
carried out on a certain cue during the program. To start the gag, I had my
assistant interrupt the seminar to give me an important note. The note read (I
used a serious expression):

"It appears that someone is in attendance today with another man's
wife. There is a large and irate man on his way here right now. If
you want out, there is a backstage door you can use to escape

At this point, 10 men jumped up out of their seats and ran keystone cop style out
the door. Once they realized what was happening, several women jumped up and
ran out too. It was great fun and the gag sure woke up everyone who had a heavy

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