December 2009 Vol 1, Issue 9

Creativity For Entertainers Trilogy

Creativity For Entertainers

Welcome to the nineth issue of my Creativity For Entertainers newsletter.  
This is an occasional newsletter for owners of my Creavity For Entertainers books.  I am not sending it out on any particular schedule.  For a while I was averaging one issue a month, but it has been  three months ince the last issue.
This issue contains some ideas for the Christmas holiday season.  However, those ideas aren't just limited to this time of the year.  they can be changed to fit other themes at different times of the year.  The process of changing an idea to fit a different theme is known as switching.  There is a chapter on switching in Creativity For Entertainers Volume Two.
In part this issue was inspired by a question from Tammy Danforth.  I always welcome your questions and feedback.  My goal is to be of service to you and to make my books as valuable a resource as possible.
Have a very happy holiday season,
In This Issue
Will the Music Match
Larry Becker's Punchline at Christmas
Christmas Playing Cards
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Will The Music Match

The phrase "Will the Music Match?" works with The Card Match principle. (Creativity For Entertainers Volume Three pages 142-149) 
Here are some possible variations.
The easiest version would be two have one set of cards with the first half of a song title and the other set of cards with the second half.  (I recently purchased Jim Kleefield's Sound Control invisible music control system which allows you to secretly control music on an iPod.  I am starting to play around with it.  I think it would be possible to have the matching song start playing right after the cards are turned over revealing the name of the song.)
In this next group of possibilities you are incorporating a quiz or puzzle for audience members to try to solve.  After the cards are mixed and paired up, you would turn up the puzzle card to see if somebody has a guess.  Then you would turn up the answer card to show they are correct.  I would print each set of cards on a different color cardstock; for example, print the puzzles on yellow and the answers on white.  I would also print each pair in different colored ink to verify that they are correctly paired.  For example, the first puzzle and the first answer would be in red text while the second puzzle and second answer would be in green text.  (Of course you can you these quizzes and puzzles without incorporating them into the magic effect.)
To emphasize how Christmas is celebrated around the world, have one set of cards with the name of Christmas carols in their original language while the second set is the English translation.  For example, Stille Nacht (German) and Silent Night. 
Use Word Pictures (Creativity For Entertainers Volume Two page 335) of Christmas song titles to present a puzzle for the audience to try to solve.  For example,  MANAWAYGER, is Away In A Manger.  The first set of cards would be the puzzle and the second set would be the answer.  What word pictures can you create?
The December 1999 issue of the Joyfull Noiseletter had a quiz by Charles M. Hatcher where Christmas Carols had been translated by government officials.  For example, "Move Hitherward the Entire Assembly of Those Who are Loyal in their Belief," is the bureaucratic version of "O Come All Ye Faithful."  What other bureaucratic versions of song titles can you come up with?  What would they be like if you translated Christmas song titles into text messaging abbreviations?  What other specialized languages can you translate song titles into?
You don't have to use cards for this principle to work.  I have been playing with the idea of using music CD's.  To protect the CD's from scratching they should probably be placed in paper sleeves which would also hide their identity.  The other set of objects to be mixed up could be the cases that the CD's originally came in.  At the end you would put each CD into a player to reveal its identity and then turn over the case to demonstrate that they were accurately matched.
You could have two sets of sheet music.  At the end you would give one page from each pair to a musician and the other page to a singer.  When they started playing and singing at the same time it would be the same song.
What other ideas can you think of for using the phrase Will The Music Match?  This concept is not limited to Christmas songs, but can be used with other songs all year.  Send me your ideas and I will compile them for the next issue of the Creativity For Entertainers newsletter.

Larry Becker's Punchline at Christmas

Larry Becker's Punchlines routine (Creativity For Entertainers Volume Three page 147 ) will work with Christmas jokes like, "Where does Santa keep his money?  In a Snow Bank."
Can you think of five Christmas jokes or riddles that will work in this routine? 

The Snow Bank joke was inspired by going to a store that had a display of Christmas village ceramic buildings.  One set was North Pole buildings which included a bank building that had a snow bank sign above the door.  Visit a store with Christmas decorations.  How can you adapt some of the ideas that you see?

Christmas Playing Cards

I went to a nursery that specializes in Christmas decorations, especially ornaments to go on the trees that they sell.  I saw several Christmas themed decks of poker cards there.  Some had normal faces with a Christmas design on the back.  Others had special faces.  For example one deck had the regular suits but with Santa on the Kings, Mrs. Claus on the Queens, an Elf on the Jacks, and Jack Frost on the Jokers.  Other decks had snowmen, reindeer, trees, and elves as the suits. 
You can turn your favorite card trick into a holiday themed trick by using one or more of these special decks.  For example, you could perform Odd Card Out (Volume Three page  ) using a card from a regular deck and three cards from a deck with a picture of Santa on the back.  Then now matter which card is chosen, Santa shows up because he is keeping his eye on you to see if you are naughty or nice.
What Christmas themed decks can you find in your area?  What patter ideas does that inspire?  What tricks can you adapt to that deck?  What other tricks does that deck inspire?


There is a checklist of 48 comedy techniques on page 189 of Creativity For Entertainers Volume Two.  That list came from my book Comedy Techniques for Entertainers which is out of print.  One of the listed techniques is spoonerism which is a term you may not be familiar with. 

A spoonerism is switching the first sounds of two words.  I saw Carol "CLaroL" Crooks perform an excellent spoonerism routine at the 2009 Northwest Festival of Clowns banquet.
Here is some more information on this technique excerpted from the Clown In Times.
The Rev. William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930) was famous for unintentionally transposing sounds between words. In his honor the comedy technique based on this verbal blooper is known as a Spoonerism. Here are some of his words:

He once told a groom, "it is kistomary to cuss the bride." (He meant "customary to kiss the bride.")
He told a rector, ''The vicar knows every crook and nanny in the parish." (nook and cranny)

One Sunday he asked the congregation to sing, "The Kinkering Congs Their Tattles Tike." ("The Conquering Kings Their Titles Take") .

He invited the members of Parliament to honor Queen Victoria with ''three cheers for the queer old dean." (dear old queen)
Speaking to a group of farmers, he began by saying, "I see before. me tons of soil." (sons of toil) He warned his congregation in a sermon that "there is no peace in a home where a dinner swells." (sinner dwells)

Another person prone to unintentionally making the same mistake was Mary Livingston on The Jack Benny Show. When she was scripted to ask for a swiss cheese sandwich, it came out "chiss sweese sandwich".
Jack was quick to capitalize on mistakes by any member of his cast, including himself. One week he asked Mary where her car was. She was supposed to answer, "it's in the garage on the grease rack." Instead she said, "grass reek." Jack immediately challenged her to use that phrase in a logical sentence. She couldn't think of one, but the next week the writers scripted a response for her. She got a letter from her mother which she read to Jack. The first sentence was, "last night a skunk ran across our lawn, and boy did the grass reek."

This type of error can be purposely scripted into a routine. For example, on The Fibber McGee and Molly radio show, Mayor LaTrivia, played by Gail Gordon, would slip into spoonerisms when he got upset because Fibber misunderstood him. He might exclaim, ''the speaking I was man about! The span I was meaking about!"
The June 11, 1946 Fibber McGee and Molly broadcast was about Fred Warring and his band being their summer replacement. Mayor LaTrivia commented he thought Fred Warring's music was old hat. Fibber told the Mayor he didn't think it was very nice to criticise Mr. Warring's hat because if he wanted to wear an old one that was alright.           

After trying to carefully explain his comment to increasing misunderstanding, LaTrivia said, "Now look here, Mr. McGee, I didn't say Mr. Hat was wearing an old Warring, I mean, if he wants to lead his hat in an old band, if he wants to wear his bat to his handstand. (Pause) Now look, I was only trying to explain I made no reference whatsoever to Mr. Warring's hat. Have I made myself clear?"

"Yes, but Mr. Mayor, you might be more careful indulging in personalities, a man's hat is his own business."
"Oh, for heaven's sake! I didn't intend to Mr harrings wat reference, heference to rarrings, refer, riffle, hafle ... when I said that an old handleader has a bat, an old hat, as you stated ... nobody would ... I was ... we were you ...  I... (long pause) McGee, good day!"

Archie Campbell (- 1987), a country comedian and Hee Haw show writer, was known for telling complete fairy tales in spoonerisms. One of his stories was Rindercella. The conclusion was, "and the storale of the mory is if you are invited to a bancy fall by a pransome hince don't forget to slop your dripper."
Clowns can do the same thing. The man who first got me into clowning was Larry Luebben. One of his routines was telling the story of Rittle Led Hiding Rood, all in spoonerisms.

Reprinted from The Clown In Times Volume 4 Issue 3 Spring 1998

Back issues of The Clown In Times are still available.  You will find more information about them at
That's it for this nineth issue.  I am always interested in your questions, comments, and how you have been able to apply the information from my books.  Often readers come up with ideas that I would not have.  Their ideas then inspire me to create additional related ideas.  This newsletter is an attempt to keep two-way communication with readers of my books flowing.
Bruce Johnson
Charlie's Creative Comedy