Making Dreams Come True for Comics and Speakers since 1984
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Should We Be Upset By Trevor Noah’s Controversial Tweets?

Trevor Noah is in hot water over a few not-so-hot tweets. The South African comic came under fire after Comedy Central announced he would replace Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show. His offense: tweets that targeted Jews and women. What are your reactions to his posts? (Spoiler alert: fat chicks, Jewish chicks, and tight asses—be prepared to bristle. Proceed with caution.)
“'Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I'm sexy!' - fat chicks everywhere”
“Messi gets the ball and the real players try foul him, but Messi doesn't go down easy, just like Jewish chicks. #ElClasico”
“Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road. He didn't look b4 crossing but I still would have felt so bad in my German car!”
I understand that when it comes to mass tweeting, they can't all be gems. And tweeting while drinking might be more hazardous than driving under the influence. Jeb Bush’s tech officer Ethan Czahor resigned (aka got fired) after people went through his backlog of tweets and found he had referred to women as “sluts” and also made derogatory remarks about gay men.
(BTW—at this point, how many of you are now mass deleting your drunken-attempt-at-humor tweets?)
But, should comics be held accountable when they push the edge of appropriateness? After all, we comics don’t have a HR department lording over us.
There was a time when nothing was off limits and comedy clubs were rampant expressions of homophobia and misogyny. Audiences now feel empowered to express themselves, as Jamie Foxx discovered at the iHeartRadio Music Awards when his opening monologue was booed. He’d gone after Bruce Jenner, who has been pictured everywhere as he is transitioning into a woman.
“We have some groundbreaking performances here, too, tonight. We got Bruce Jenner, who will be here doing some musical performances. He’s doing a his-and-her duet all by himself.”
“Look,” he added. “I’m just busting your balls while I still can.” – Jamie Foxx
Comedy is NOT about alienation, shock, or hatred. It’s supposed to be about laughter. And there is a basic rule to comedy—don’t tell jokes that further oppress people. So, a straight black male cannot make the other gender the butt of his jokes. Unless, of course, he reveals how ONE woman did him wrong and deserves ridiculing. The message is clear—joke fairly.
Richard Pryor broke the comedy race barrier joking about racism. One of his tamer jokes is:
“I woke up in an ambulance. And it wasn’t nothing but white people staring at me. I said, ‘Ain’t this a bitch. I done died and wound up in the wrong muthafucking heaven.’”
He could say that because he was black. Taking a dig at your own kind is not a punishable offense, especially in comedy clubs. If Jamie Foxx identified as transgender, the audience probably would have laughed. He would have been taking a dig at himself. Note to Jamie: not too late.
Noah committed the same offense by taking cheap shots. He doesn't fall into any of those targeted categories. American audiences are balking that he’s taking over our coolest show. We want to trust the new host and believe he speaks for us.
Note to all late night talk show hosts: knock off the misogyny! Honor the legacy of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, who made us laugh like crazy without offending women, Jews, or gays.
What do you think? Have you written some tweets that might get you into some hot water in a few years? I’m taking a poll—is it OK or not OK to laugh at this material?
Let me know in your comments.

Entrepreneurs: 8 Tips for Telling Your Hero Story

If you are an entrepreneur, a salesperson, a comic, or a speaker, there is a story that you need to know and tell.  It's the story that will engage your audience, make them laugh, and motivate them to buy your products and services. What is this amazing story? It is the story of why what you do isn't just a job... but a calling. It is your HERO STORY.

The way to people’s hearts (and wallets) is through storytelling. Your Hero Story is what drives home your message, turning facts and figures into memorable moments and sales. This story, when told with drama and humor, is a story that inspires. After all, people respond to emotion, not data.

Information can be boring. Think of all those times you’ve been trapped in a folding chair, listening to a miserable PowerPoint show, getting the life force sucked out of you with every chart, graph, and missing joke. But, getting your point across by telling a story will have audiences running to buy your products, rather than running for the door.

Last night, I did an online story session with a software sales team. This was a serious group of sales techies that were more used to getting snores than snickers. To their surprise, they found they could take ordinary events and turn them into extraordinary stories. 

So, how do you tell this amazing Hero Story? Here are 8 tips to guide you through the process:

1) Describe a specific person you or your product has helped. Describe that person so we can picture them.  For instance: “Bob is a 35 year old Project Manager, heading a team of 20.” 

2) Tell us what “Bob” wanted. “Bob wanted to get projects completed on time, decrease office stress, and empower his team.” 

3) Share in detail “Bob’s” obstacles that were getting in the way of “Bob” getting what he wanted. As you explain “Bob’s” obstacles, describe his failed solutions, unrealistic demands, and act-out dialogue. 

4) Here’s a sample scenario: “Bob’s staff was constantly complaining. He tried giving didn’t work flow charts, but nothing worked. He just couldn’t get his team to hit deadlines. He constantly had staff lining up outside of his office complaining, ‘I’m not getting my work orders enough ahead of time and the vending machines are broken!’” 

5) Have the obstacles “Bob” is facing build to a crescendo of frustration.  “Bob was always working late, coming home to a frustrated wife complaining he wasn’t helping enough with the kids. And Bob was developing an ulcer.”

6) You (or your product) enter the story. Describe what you or your services did for “Bob.” “After hearing ‘Bob’s’ struggles, I created a 3-Step plan starting with a 2-hour training program to empower his staff.” 

7) Describe the person’s resistance. “Bob said, ‘Are you crazy – I don’t have the time for that!’” This accounts for the concerns your audience might be having and squashes them.
End of the story is where you describe how this person got the results they wanted. Describe this in specific detail. “Their team started to make their own decisions and ‘Bob’ had more time to be with his family.” “Deadlines were met.” 

8) Tell the message of your story: “Empowering your team doesn’t take more money, but better strategy.” 

This story structure works! Don’t take my word for it. The next time you pitch your product or services, try this 8-step story formula and tell your Hero Story. And, bring a lot of your product as you’ll be amazed at how telling stories will increase your back of the room sales.

Need help telling your story?  Download my Ebook “The Message of You: Turn Your Life Story into a Money-Making Speech” 

In NYC? Come to “The Message of You Workshop” and find your stories, TED talk, or the meaning of your life.

How Being Funny Can Save You Money

CC0 Public Domain / Free for commercial use / No attribution required
Having a sense of humor can save you money. I learned that while working as a comic. Open mic nights aren’t as good for fattening up your bank account, which can truly be a sad joke. Self-made millionaires have said (not to me personally) that dramatically cutting expenses increases one’s income. I’ve found out that when you make someone laugh, they feel positively toward you and are more likely to have your back and make cuts in your favor... Read more..