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Jeff's Jocular Jargon For Toastmasters
By Jeff Heidner CTM

June, 2005
edition of
The Toastmaster

A BEAT – A unit of time that you can measure in your mind by counting to yourself (two beats equals the time it takes to say 'One One Thousand, Two One Thousand.') to build suspense.

CALLBACK – The art of reusing a word or phrase from a previous punch line to create new laughs in a different context.

COMEBACK – Material comedians write in advance to deal with hecklers just in case one appears and needs to be dealt with.

            "Thank you, but I prefer to work alone!" (may be followed by a rim shot.)

HECKLER – An audience member that interrupts a comedian's performance (seen more from intoxicated audience members).

HOOK — If a comedian's act is so bad that it's hurting the show, then a club owner may opt to "give him the hook" by yanking that comedian off of the stage prematurely as if by using a giant hook.

PUNCH LINE – The phrase, line or word that releases the tension created in the set-up and garners laughter from the audience.

Set-Up:             "If I were two-faced…
Punch Line:            would I be wearing this one?"       —Abraham Lincoln

The first phrase contains the set-up and the second phrase contains the punch line.

RIM SHOT — The proverbial drum/cymbal combination (ba-dum-bum-ting) that follows a painfully obvious or extremely corny joke or pun.

RULE OF THREE – Writing technique that creates a pattern with the first two items (set-up) and breaks that pattern with the third (punch line).


1. Directions to Reno from West: Take Highway 80 East

2. Directions to Reno from East: Take Highway 80 West

3. Directions to Reno from Far East: Board a 747 bound for Las Vegas
and then head north!  — Tom Antion

SAVER – A line used by a comedian to get a laugh after a previously delivered joke just bombed (usually self-deprecating).

SET-UP – The phrase or line that creates the anticipation and tension in an audience.

Click here for more about humorist, screenwriter and soon to be incredibly famous Jeff Heidner!

Note to readers: This sidebar accompanied Craig Harrison's article,
Toastmasters Do It Until They Hear Applause in the June, 2005 edition of The Toastmaster.

Laugh Lovers meets the third Sunday night of each month, 6-8pm in the Tap Room at the Pyramid Brewery, on Gilman between 7th and 8th, in Berkeley. For more info click on: www.Laughlovers.org

© Copyright 2005 Jeff Heider — posted with permission of Jeff Heidner. All Rights Reserved.

Corporate humorist Jeff Heidner was the 2004 president of Laugh Lovers (596430-57) of Oakland, CA. For more about Jeff visit www.havinghumorhelps.com .

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