Humor Is Serious Business

Remember the running gag in Finding Nemo when Marlin the clown fish (whom others keep thinking will be funny) painfully tries to tell a joke? “Okay, a mollusk walks up to this sea cucumber, well he doesn’t actually walk, he’s just there, and he turns to the sea cucumber, and. . . Well, wait, there’s a mollusk and a sea cucumber and . . . Normally, they don’t talk, sea cucumbers, but in a joke everyone talks. So the sea mollusk says to the cucumber. . .”
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Public Speaking Isn’t Life or Death–It’s Much Worse Than That

Once I was invited to be part of a panel discussion during a conference. The panel went well, and I was ready to go back to the office to finish up some work I had there. As the moderator of the conference closed the panel he said to the group. “We’ll take a fifteen minute break now, and then for the next hour Andy Le Peau will be speaking to us.”

My worst speaking nightmare had come true.
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