Contact Dave Hill for Speaker Bookings: (214) 668-5785 dave@davehillspeaks.com
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It was 2 am and my pregnant wife and I were driving towards the hospital at high speed in Toronto, Canada. She had one leg out the passenger car window and one leg up on the dashboard. Her water had just broken and my new car was never to have a “new car smell” again. When her water broke, I did what any young, panic-stricken man would do…I instinctively put the windshield wipers on full speed. My wife scowled at me and with just a touch of sarcasm, she said, “You are not bringing much to the gene pool today, are you?”

Suddenly the car shuddered. It shuddered again. Do you know how men like to run the gas tank down to the fume level? Having luck of the Irish on my side, I somehow managed to freewheel the car into a gas station…with my wife hitting me over the head with her pink slipper with the little bunny rabbits on the toes, shouting, “I can’t believe I am married to an idiot!”

As I paid for the gas at the machine, it asked me if I wanted a manager’s special free car wash. For a split-second, I contemplated her reaction if I drove into the car wash for “the works”. Then I remembered the angry pink bunny slippers, got into the car, and drove at high speed towards the hospital thinking to myself, “Nothing can go wrong now.” Then I saw the blue flashing light in my mirror. The Canadian police officer got out of his car. He went over to the passenger side of the car where my wife’s leg was still sticking out, flicked on his flashlight, and instinctively jumped backwards. He was apparently checking for joy riders, but soon realized that there was no joy happening in the car…my screaming wife gave out to him for inappropriately shining his flashlight. The police officer regained his composure and shouted out, “Follow me, eh!”

There we were driving through Toronto at 120 kilometers per hour. With my wife’s leg still sticking out the window, there were hurricane force winds in the car, and her long hair was slapping me on my head. I did not mind because…it is not in my nature to complain about hair on my head! I again thought to myself, “Nothing can go wrong now!” Then my wife shouted, “The policeman is taking us…to the wrong hospital!” I turned off at the next exit, leaving the police officer on his high-speed misguided journey.

At the hospital, my wife was sitting in the birthing chair. Her feet were in the stirrups still wearing those pink slippers with those angry, nasty bunnies. The nurse exclaimed that my wife was 10 CM dilated. Being an inquisitive, rather annoying engineer, I asked the nurse, “Why do we measure the cervix gizmo in Centimeters and then measure the baby in inches?” With my wife, shouting for painkillers, the nurse politely told me to, “Shut-up, eh.”

It was then that I noticed the doctor reaching for painkillers. I grabbed his arm and told him that my wife made me promise several months earlier that there would be no painkillers. She wanted a natural birth. My word is my honor, but it turned out that my word was my horror…she really wanted those painkillers.

Suddenly, the doctor asked everyone to be quiet and stated, “This baby is going to be born within one minute.” With “Painkillers now!” being shouted by my wife, I looked at my watch and noticed that it had been 2 hours since she had started having contractions. For some reason, I exclaimed aloud, “Isn’t it great that that this is our first child, and we are having an easy birth?”

The room went stone cold silent, and a pink bunny slipper went zipping past my ear. I think it was the nurse that threw it that time.

Then baby Claire was born, and all negativity disappeared from the room. The mystery and beauty of nature and the healing power of humor helped bring our world back to being a happy place. My wife hugged me, smiled, and whispered in my ear, “The pink bunny slippers will get you if you talk about this in public.”

Using the bunny slippers story to understand humor development and delivery:
A 5-minute video clip example of me delivering this story in 1997 can be viewed at
http://www.youtube.com/user/davehillspeaks#p/c/8A9F5AAAA59C60E6/0/Df9uJw0OK1A
Notice the sections that get the audience laughing and the strongest humor parts. Included in the video is some scrolling text that summarizes the humor techniques I use. Here are the descriptions of the scrolling descriptions in the order that they appear:

1. Word play (even though my car was never to have a new car smell again)
The reason the audience laughs at this is that I have related my wife’s water breaking to a smell in the car, without actually saying it.
2. Exaggeration (putting the windshield wipers on at full speed)
The reason exaggeration works is that the audience easily detects that you are either inflating or deflating the truth.
3. Stereo-Type (men running the gas tank run low)
The most powerful stories are where the audience has had similar experiences or can relate in some other way to what you are describing. When this is coupled with visual descriptions, this can be highly effective.
4. Exaggeration (hitting the idiot husband with a slipper)
The reason exaggeration works is that the audience easily detects that you are either inflating or deflating the truth. My wife hitting me with her slipper because I have run out of gas is obvious exaggeration.
5. Exaggeration (gas station)
A gas station offering a free car wash is somewhat believable. However, contemplating using it when your 9-months-pregnant wife is in the car is obvious exaggeration.
6. Visual Image (flashlight)
The power of visual images is that you are providing detailed descriptions to the extent that the audiences see the details in the scenes you are describing. They also feel that the story is unfolding right there in front of them.
7. Word-Play (He was looking for joy-riders; he found there was no joy in the car)
This is a simple means of getting a laugh. You take a common idiom, saying, or quotation, and put one of the words in a different context.
8. Dialogue
Dialogue brings stories into the present tense and is one of the most effective means of making the audience feel that they are right there, witnessing the event.

9. Make fun of yourself (her hair was slapping on my face, but I didn’t mind. It’s not in my nature to complain about hair on my head)
Making fun of yourself gives the audience a reason to laugh with no risk. When you are poking fun at yourself, you are highlighting your weaknesses and building your likability. This is a great starting point for anyone wanting to get an audience chuckling. As a bald person, the hair on the head joke works very well.
10. Visual images (wife in the birthing chair with her feet in the stirrups)
The power of visual images is that you are providing detailed descriptions to the extent that the audiences see the details in the scenes you are describing. They also feel that the story is unfolding right there in front of them.
11. Make fun of yourself (annoying engineer)
Making fun of yourself gives the audience a reason to laugh with no risk. When you are poking fun at yourself, you are highlighting your weaknesses and building your likability. As an engineer, I can play with the stereotype image of an engineer to make fun of myself.
12. Dialogue (nurse – shut up)
Dialogue brings stories into the present tense and is one of the most effective means of making the audience feel that they are right there witnessing the event.

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