Thursday, March 1, 2012

Call Backs - What and How

On December 1st I was scheduled to give a 5 minute presentation along with 18 other speakers. I had prepared my talk to include a humorous old joke that I had planned to tie into my opening. As I was listening to the 10 speakers before me I noticed that 3 of them made references to their C & D grades in school(to great laughter). At least 2 of them talked about overcoming their earlier poor performances to achieve their college degrees. As I listened it dawned on me what a wonderful opportunity they had laid at my feet. I scrapped my opening and while standing in the wings waiting to be announced I came up with the following. " Howdy --- While sitting in my seat listening to Kent, Tom and Randy give their presentations I notice them bragging about how bad their grades were in school and how hard they worked to overcome them. When I got out of the Army my college grade point average was 1.69 (laughter). I then made comments about the fact that once you earn 120 units you a qualified for a Bachelors of Science Degree. I graduated with 180 units (laughter). In fact I not only have a BS Degree I also have 2 Masters Degrees hanging on my will at home. And I did it the easy way, I married a woman who had 2 of them (lots of laughter). The Definition of a Call back is: To paraphrase - (Stand up Comedy the Bood - by Judy Carter A call back can be a reference to any subject, emotion or phrase that previously got a laugh. The orginal joke must stand on it own. (Step by Step to Standup comedy - by Greg Dean A joke that refers back to another joke performed earlier in the day, often presented in a different context. (Comedy Writing Secrets - by Mel Helitzer) A call back is a reference to something said earlier in a routine or sketch. For a callback to work the time between the original and the callback to that event/joke/comment must be brief. A call back should never be repeated more than 3 times in a presentation. The purpose is to help the audience feel part of a shared experience. For speakers it could mean a reference back to an action/joke/comment or experience that the audience has shared with the speaker and presented in a humorous manner.