Do You Talk Funny Summary David Nihill

Book Review

“It is one of those rare books that makes you think, laugh,

and embrace your quirky self. In an inspiring and entertaining manner.

Do You Talk Funny, teaches you how to find your inner storytelling mojo. A great read!”

Your next talk will be 10 times more entertaining if you read this book


This is not a magic book. Application of these seven principles

won’t make you instantly funnier, more successful,

or more attractive to the opposite sex. Add a

little practice, however, and it just might.

#1 Start with a Story

“Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful,

clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact.”

What makes stories great is the detail we add in.

Have a hero/protagonist. Decide who will be the central character of the story.

Describe what your hero is up against. What challenges does the character have to overcome?

Build in a specific transcending emotion. You need something that breaks down barriers; love, lust, greed, passion, and loss are perfect.

Include a clear lesson or transformation. Make sure your characters move towards their goal/objective/solving a problem.

Add twists and turns to the story. Try not to make it predictable for the listener

Have a clear incident that makes the story really take off. Often referred to as the Inciting Incident

Know where you want to end up (the punch line) from the outset. The last line should be the first line you write.

Quickly build in a hook to grab your audience’s attention and draw them into the story.

Frame your story within a three-act structure:

1 Setup (Beginning),

2 Confrontation (Middle),

3 Resolution (End).

Build in entertainment. Modern day storytelling is joke telling.

Have some stakes. Stakes are essential in live storytelling

Start in the action. Have a great first line that sets up the stakes

Know your story well enough so you can have fun! Watching you

panic to think of the next memorized line is harrowing for the audience.

Start Your Funny Story File

#2 Add Humor — Find the Funny

“The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.”

As outlined by Mel Helitzer and Mark Shartz in their best-selling book,

Comedy Writing Secrets, this can be summarized as:

P = Preparation (the situation setup)

A = Anticipation (TRIPLE and can be often achieved with just a timely pause)

P = Punch line (story/joke payoff)

#3 Write Funny

Add attitude to your writing and presentations:

You want to use words like weird, amazing, scary, hard, stupid, crazy, or nuts.

If you want people to be passionate about your topic, show them some passion.

When you’re crafting a story or a joke, you want to leave people with something to remember.

Use callbacks: Callbacks bring together everything in the end

Creating material that relates to topics that are current in the mind

of those in our audience is another easy way to get a laugh.

Always write in the present tense:

You never want to write, “I was walking and I saw.”

It should be “I’m walking and I see.”

Use inherently funny words:

Why Pop Tarts? Because Pop Tarts sound funny

Remember, “brevity is levity”:

We want to get to the funny or punch line as quickly as possible

Use the rule of 3: This combination of pattern and

brevity results in memorable content.

Use funny images and video

#4 Rehearsed Spontaneity: Learning Comedy by Playing Banjo for an Empty Room

“Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.”

Practice speaking within shorter and shorter timeframes and keep

cutting your presentation, speech, or story until someone complains that it’s too short

#5 Delivery

“I never memorize a speech verbatim, but I do ensure that I have

memorized the starting and closing 2-3 sentences for each portion.”

the first 30 seconds of your presentation can determine the rest of the duration

Get on stage fast. As soon as the host introduces you

Smile and make eye contact. Connect with as many people as you

can in the front rows for the duration of this first 30 seconds

Try and get a quick laugh.

Getting a quick laugh can be a great way to lighten the mood

Speak instead of preach. Try as much as you can to be

conversational on stage and avoid preaching

Make sure you are fully visible.

If there’s a podium try to get out from behind it.

Remember to smile.

Make eye contact with as many people as you can

Don’t stand there with your hands in your pockets.

#6 Control the Audience

You need to make the audience like you, but

you also need to be able to control them collectively

Command attention: stop and ask the audience to clap

if they can hear you. Once a few begin to clap, then

keep it going until those who were talking shut up and join in

Practice your timing and aim to never ever go over the allocated time limit.

#7 Close the Book, But Not Fully — Permanent Beta


Comedians will use what’s known as a Bookend Technique.

This is where they reference opening jokes at the conclusion of their show.

This gives their performance a feeling of completion and symmetry.

This closing of the book should be your highest rated joke

and give a natural feeling of conclusion

Remember, it’s not just about the comedy. You need to follow

the examples of Martin Luther King, Steve Jobs, and Simon Sinek

by incorporating a clear takeaway, be it a reinforced statement,

a laugh line, or “one more thing.”

Once you’ve closed the book on your story,

say “Thank you”. Nothing more.

“You have been wonderful,” “thanks for having me,” “great to be here,”

“that’s my time,” are all unnecessary.

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