Yearly Humor Calendar
by John Cantu ©HumorMall.com
All rights reserved. You must request permission to reproduce this material in any manner whatsoever.
Increase Your Laugh Response Using a Yearly Humor Calendar
I actually started my comedy career as a cartoon writer. I can't draw but I think up the ideas and caption/dialogue and sell the basic ideas to the artist/cartoonist. I have written for "Wee Pals", "Ziggy", "Marmaduke", "Frank & Ernest", "The Lockhorns" and a host of other strips and panels.
Early in my cartoon writing career I ran across a great book on cartooning, Jack Markow's "Cartoonists and Gagwriters Handbook." In his book he had a humor calender which was quite useful because magazines work six months in advance, so in January, you had to be thinking of July Fourth ideas and thinking about barbecues, barbecue sauce, fireworks, etc.
But it can be can be a useful tool for the speaker or performer as well. Whether you get your humor thru research or original writing sometimes you will come across or will write a line that, while is very funny, is unusable because it is related to a future month, season, or event. Instead of just ignoring it, file it away for a more appropriate month, season, or time when it might have better impact?
I tell my stand up comedian students, "If you are booked to speak for the members of a specific group or type, (i.e., plumbers at a convention) and if you do three to five plumbers' jokes (jokes from a plumbers' perspective) they will think you wrote the entire monologue just for them.
I tell my professional speaker students, "You can an add immense luster to your talk by having three or more topical or seasonally appropriate jokes will make your talk seem less like one that you have been using for years and more like one you wrote "just for them."
As silly as it may seem to you, if your talk has a couple of references to the unseasonably cold winter they've been having, or the sudden heat wave or a line abut the first baseball game of the season, you do not come as across as giving the same old tired speech you give to everyone.
It's obvious to them that you couldn't have been telling jokes about the freezing cold three months ago - it just happened. And you couldn't have been telling the joke about the last week's Academy Awards forever, since that actor just won. But you could have had a generic academy award winner joke in place, and just plugged in the actor's name as soon as you knew.
So, from now on note the time frame of when you are booked and check the humor calendar and add maybe a joke about the expected weather (and have one counter weather joke inc case it is unseasonably hot or cold or windy, etc.) And maybe add a joke about what will obviously be seasonally related. If you are speaking within in a week after Thanksgiving any reference to still being stuffed due to over eating will bring a chuckle.
Here's a yearly humor calendar with some starter ideas for you. You can improve the calendar by adding your own ideas after you peruse these starter ideas.
Use this mini-idea stimulator to use as YOU go thru this list. Ask yourself:
- What other people can I associate with this month?
- What other places can I associate with this month?
- What other things can I associate with this month?
- What other miscellaneous ideas can I associate with this month?
- New Year's Day(bowl football games, hangovers, visiting), skiing, cold, dead batteries, ice, ice cycles, shoveling walks, slipping, snow, Superbowl, snowplows, tire chains, Rosebowl Parade, starting diet-New Year's resolution, flu, aspirin, cough drops, decongestants, health club membership specials, Martin Luther King Holiday, orange juice (vitamin C), Kleenex, runny nose, thermometer, New Year's day Hangover, White sales, January traditional full moon name Wolf Moon, exchanging/returning Christmas gifts, January white sales, paying Christmas bills...
- The office secretary got a little drunk at the New Years Eve party. By midnight she was out on the street trying to give a hickey to a snowman.
- "Are you like me - given up on you New Year's resolution?", Ground Hog's Day, Shadow - possibility of six more weeks of winter, President's Day Holiday, George Washington s Birthday ("cannot tell a lie," cut down cherry tree legend, crossing of Delaware, face on both quarter and dollar bill, father of his country, Valley Forge, "Washington Slept Here", wooden false teeth), Lincoln s Birthday (beard, civil war, face on both penny and five dollar bill, "Honest Abe," log cabin, statues of Lincoln, studied by fireplace light, stove pipe hat, walked a mile to attend school), Presidents' Day sales, Valentines Day (anonymous valentines, buying cards, chocolate, flowers, heart-shaped candy boxes, lovers, valentine card), February traditional full moon name Snow Moon...
- Comes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb," First day of spring, St. Patrick's Day, (corn beef and cabbage, drinking, drove the snakes out of Ireland, four leaf clovers, everyone's Irish, leprechauns, parades, shamrock, 'wearing o' the green), windy weather, "Beware the Ides of march", March traditional full moon name Worm Moon,, daylight savings start, "fall back, spring forward", people late because forgot to change clock...
- "April showers bring may Flowers", "raindrops keep fallin' on my head," umbrella, raincoats, Income Tax (1040 forms, accountant, advice from experts, borrowing money, complicated forms, dependents, fathers figuring taxes, federal returns, "government takes all your money", H&R Block, IRS auditors, last minute returns, local taxes, post offices in some places open to midnight, rebates, tax bureau advice), April Fools Day, deductions - funny or usual ones, April traditional full moon name Pink Moon...
- Mother's Day, (florists, flowers, kids taking over for the day to "help" mom, presents, take mom out to dinner, visits, mothers day card, sentimental,), Memorial Day holiday (A.K.A. "Decoration Day"), May traditional full moon name Flower Moon, Kentucky Derby/racing in general (daily double, parade of horses ticket buying, tearing of tickets, tip sheets, trotters and flat races), Indy 500/Auto Races (drivers costumes, endorsements, flags, pits, repairs)...
- Father's Day, Weddings (bride, groom, best man, relatives, bouquets, bridesmaids, buying trousseau, catching the bouquet, cutting of cake, display of presents, envious bridesmaids, honeymoon plans, june brides, maid of honor, misplaced ring, photographs, rehearsal of ceremony, rice throwing, ring, showers, smashing cake into spouse's face, throwing rice, throwing wedding bouquet, waiting at church, wedding gown, wedding gown train), School's out, (school summer vacations, last day of school, summer jobs), graduation (diplomas, cap and gown, autographs, prizes Alumni, prom party, rented tuxedo, corsage, rented limo), June traditional full moon name Strawberry Moon, Summer Solstice, Wimbledon/tennis (awarding of cup, jumping over net, marking lines, rolling of court, umpire s chair), first day of summer...
- Vacation. Fourth of July sales, parades, fireworks, jammed holiday weekend, hot dogs, barbecue, barbecue sauce, chef aprons, Weber grills, potato chips, catsup mustard, onions, "red white and blue", tans, July traditional full moon name Buck Moon...
- At the beach, hot weather, dog days, air conditioners breaking down, sweating, back-to-school sales, kids lunch box, paper, binders, pens, pencils, August traditional full moon name Sturgeon Moon...
- School starts, parents relieved, Labor Day Holiday, "What I did on my summer vacation, new teachers, new home room, hall pass, study hall, homework, September traditional full moon name Harvest Moon, last day of summer, Monday Night Football starts, Libarary Card Sign-up Month, Star-Spangled Banner written (1814), Rosh Hashanah, Citizenship Day, Constitution Week, Chinese Moon Festival, Babe Ruth's 60th Home Run...
- Halloween (bobbing for apples, candy, costumes, Halloween pranks, jack-O-lanterns, kid dress-up, costumes, masks, monster masks, parties, pumpkins, trick or treat, witch on broom), tree leaves changing color, Columbus Day, 1492 sailed the Ocean Blue, falling leaves, October traditional full moon name Hunter's Moon, Start of hockey season (face mask, fights, goalie and cage, hockey stick, hockey puck, penalty box), World Series (heroes and bumblers, pro's picks, trying to get tickets, See also 'baseball' in Spring), Indian summer, start of basketball season (giant-sized players, pros signing up college stars, referee s uniform and whistle, trading pro players), ...
- Thanksgiving, Armistice Day, Veterans Day, (after-dinner ennui, carving turkey, gathering of the clan, overeating, pilgrims, preparing big dinner, turkey), Day before Thanksgiving busiest day of air travel, relatives visiting, Christmas shopping season begins, November traditional full moon name Beaver Moon, Election Day (chads, predictions and polls, rallies, statements accepting victory, statements conceding defeat, "too close to predict", state map projecting winners and losers, use of computers, victory celebrations, voting machines, waiting in line), daylight savings end, "fall back, spring forward", people arrive early because they forgot to change clock...
- Christmas (buying tree, caroling, carols, decorating the tree, decorations, department store windows, elaborate outdoor light displays, gift wrapping, hanging stockings, kid sitting on santa s knee, kids up early, last minute shopping, mistletoe, parties -social and office parties, visiting family and friends, opening presents, ornaments, parties, reindeer, school vacations, sending cards, street Santas, toy department crush, three wise men, turkey/ham dinner, unusual or unwanted gifts, wreaths), bonuses, egg nog, decorations, Pear Harbor Day, Hanukkah, Wilbur Wright's flight at Kitty Hawk, December traditional full moon name Cold Moon, Winter Solstice - start of winter, New Year s Eve (Baby new year, confetti, crowds, falling ball, father time, horns and funny hats, late hours, midnight kissing, parties at home, parties in restaurants, resolutions, singing, times square, watching celebrations on tv)...
Don't forget about things, that while seasonally annual, don't necessarily have an exact, fixed date and season events (may even happen over one or more months):
- Dog Shows (prizes, variety of dogs, grooming)
- Easter (buying flowers, coloring eggs, egg rolling, parades, vacations from school, women s Easter outfits).
- First Birds of Season
- Gardening (buying garden tools, city penthouse gardens, flower shows, green thumb, growing vegetables, planting, seed catalogs, seeds, spading, weeds)
- Outdoor Track (cross country, finish tape, hammer throw, high jump, hurdles, relays, running lanes, shot-put, starting gun)
- Mardi Gras (beads, breast baring, drunkenness, elaborate costumes, floats, large costume balls, masks, revelry)
- Spring Cleaning (clothes and rugs to cleaners, outside painting, painting rooms and furniture, putting up screens, the attic)
- Spring Fever (day dreaming, lovers)
- Spring Training (contract signing, games in florida, holdouts, overweight ball players, rookies, sore arms and muscles)
- Winds (hats blowing off, skirts blowing)
- Baseball (Autographs, extra innings, fans catching balls, ground keepers, home runs, long doubleheaders, moving of franchises, night games, peanuts and refreshments, rain postponements, trading of players umpire-player arguments, tv and radio broadcasts), Baseball Season Opening (cold weather, president and VIPS at game, raising of championship flags, throwing out first ball),
- Camps for Kiddies (farewells to parents, harassed counselors, insects and poison ivy, lost luggage, meeting at railroad station, riot of kids on train, roll call, roommates, tents, visits from parents)
- State Fairs/County Fairs (beauty competitions, bumper cars, carousel, food/produce shows, livestock shows, pop the balloon games, prizes for cakes, jams, etc, ribbons for cattle and poultry, roller coaster, shooting gallery, toss the ball games, tunnel of love, weight guessers),
- Outdoor Art Exhibits/street artist (brush, critics, easel, new schools of art, portrait artists, rain and wind),
- Political Conventions (buttons, badges, and banners, demonstrations, endless speeches, media, nominations for president (every 4 years), packed hotels, party regulars, red, white, and blue hats, vest, belts, etc., sound bites, special lunches and dinners, TV coverage),
- Summer Stock/Summer Theaters (converting barn to theater, local acting talent, painting sets, visiting star)
- Vacations (office vacation lists, reservations, breaking in substitute)
- Vacation At the Beach (Beach chairs, bikinis, buried in sand, floats and rafts, huge waves, lifeguards, lost kids, ogling girls, laptops, show-offs, sun block, transistor radios, umbrellas)
- Vacation Bon Voyage/cruise ship (cards and presents, deck chairs, farewell party, lifeboat drill, movies on board, seasickness, ship s bars, shuffleboard, swimming pools, the captain s table)
- Vacations Driving (auto breakdown, road rage, road signs, road maps, road construction, motels, road hogs, speed limits, traffic cops, traffic jams)
- Vacations Resorts (card playing, master of ceremonies, organized activities, souvenir post cards, summer romances, tipping)
- Vacation Trip Abroad (airports, changing of money, folders, learning new language, Paris cafes, passports, purchases abroad, renting a car, the Alps, tipping problems, tourist agencies, Venice and gondolas)
- Yacht Races
- County Fairs
- Buying Fall Clothes
- Fall Home Chores (cleaning and packing summer things, cleaning furnace, laying winter rugs, ordering oil, painting storm windows, removing screens),
- Fall Leaves (garbage bags full of leaves, colors, leaf blower, noise of leaf blower, piles, raking)
- Football-College and Pro (band entertainment baton twirlers, clack and white shirts, cheerleaders, first down, huddle and signals, kickoff, mascots, mud and rain, penalty flag, refs, ref whistle, the inebriate, tickets on 50 yard line, uniforms, water boy)
- Harvesting (bags, bushel baskets, pickers, tractors,)
- Hunting (big game on auto fender, decoys, game (deer, bear and duck,), hunter s horn, jackets, license decoys, parks, traps)
- Returning Vacationers (First school day, Moving things from summer cabin, New students, School bus New teachers, Snapshots and home movies, Start of New School Year, Tan and sunburn, Work piled up)
- Vacation Travel to the Tropics (buying cruise clothes, Caribbean Islands, free ports, guides, island hopping by plane, Mexico, new foods and customs, shipboard farewell parties, souvenirs)
- State Fairs
- Homecoming Game, Week
- Heating Problems (complaints to janitor, fireplace, fuel bills, furnace breakdown, getting logs for fireplace, leaking radiators),
- Indoor Sports/Activities (billiards, checkers, chess, ice shows, monopoly, ping-pong, swimming races, trivial pursuit, wrestling),
- Winter Vacations (Disneyland Orlando, Dog races, florida, jai alai, palm trees, tropical fishing),
- Winter Weather Things/Conditions (Barrel jumping, Boots, Cars snowed in, Chains, County trucks clearing highway, Figure 8 skater, Ice skating, Ice fishing, Ice boats, Icicles, Late for work, no school day, Parking regulations suspended, Sleds, Sleet, Slippery walks, Slush, Snow in driveway, Snow, Snowballs, Snowmen, Thin ice),
SOME ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS
There can be well known local events (State events and more importantly, city events): In San Francisco, every January first the Dolphin Club has held the Alcatraz one-and-a-quarter-mile-swim. As the newspaper describe it: A classic San Francisco event put on by the 930 Dolphin Swimming and Boating club, a waterfront fixture since 1938. It might not seem like a big deal, but San Francisco is not warm like Los Angels - and that is freezing cold water.
And one final tip, make note of annual events in your industry or the field or area that you speak in. Add a joke to connect with that, (from their point view, and you will be a hero in their eyes.)