Chapter 2

Six Elements of Content

All content must contain the following to keep the reader attentive and engaged. If any parts are missing it will have less power and less influence on the reader. If you are going to do deliver content in a public forum then it will need to contain this plus elements of emotion.

The Six Element of Content are:


1.     Target

2.     Hostility

3.     Realistic

4.     Exaggeration

5.     Emotion

6.     Surprise.



Target is all important when working with Humor or urinals. Target means to shoot at a person, place, thing, idea, emotion, action, activity or urinal. Anything can be a Target. What you say or write might be informative, but without Target there is no Humor. Not everything that has Target has Humor. Criticism can have Target, Emotion, and Surprise, but that doesn’t make Target Humorous. The clearer the Target, the more power the Joke will have.

“A person walks into a bar.” If we are rating from 0 to 10, ten being the highest, zero being the lowest, this would be a 1. “A man walks into a bar.” This would be rated stronger than the first statement. A gay man walks into the bar this would be stronger yet. If a man who is well known walks into the bar, it makes the joke even stronger. If you are hostile toward the man who walks in the bar, it makes the statement even stronger. The more well defined the Target, the more Humor can come into the story.

Different things you can shoot at:

1.     Person

2.     Place

3.     Thing

4.     Action

5.     Activity

6.     Idea

7.     Urinal




Four ways to shoot:

1. Up - Person, place or thing that is higher than your position in life.

2. Down - Person, place or thing that is below your position in life.

3. In - Self deprecating Humor.

4. Across- At the same level as yourself.



If you shoot at a person, place, thing, idea, emotion or activity, and miss; no Humor will take place. Shooting is when we make fun of, expose, or point out, hit with a pie, the fault or imperfections of others.

If the mind doesn’t receive it, the Humor doesn’t take place. This would be like a hunter shooting at a deer, and the bullet missing. Humor only takes place in the mind. If you miss the Target, which is the mind inside of peop, then no Humor takes place. What you say or write might be informative, but without a Target there is no Humor.  Criticism can have Target, Hostility, Reality, Emotion and Surprise, but that alone doesn’t make it humorous. It needs to come on fast, strong, and have short life.


Hostility (Conflict):






The opposite of paradise is conflict. No one wants to read a book where everything and everybody is perfect. Humor is not about your perfect life, perfect job, or perfect family. You will find a lot of conflict in sitcoms and political debates. Political debates usually have more Humor than sitcoms. In political debates both people are standing on a platform with elevated ideas, this makes it quite easy to shoot and knock them off of the platform. This gives us hostility and a clear target. If I ever get caught watching sitcoms or political debates, I just claim to be doing Humorology research.

Humor is when I act like I'm going to stab you. I have a sword with a sharp point on one end and a feather on the other. I act like I am going to stab you, and at the last moment I flip it around, and tickle you. Humor’s assault's need misdirection, spin, and a twist.

How do you develop conflict awareness? Take a notebook and journal every time you see or hear conflict with or without Humor make a note of what you're seeing in your everyday life, when you watch a movie, TV or stage performance.

Political debates and sitcoms have a lot of conflict, criticism and exaggeration, but not much Surprise. In sitcoms you have to be realistic (real to audience, like murder, rape, and incest) to work. In politics (poli-means many, tick-means a blood sucking leach) realism doesn’t seem to matter. But with humor the audience needs “yea, that could really be happening.” It doesn’t have to be truth, but it has to be realistic.


A late night talk show host was complaining about them not fixing the roof. He puts a bucket in the middle of the stage. Next he came on stage in a raincoat. If he was near a South Texas downpour: arriving  outside a snorkeling mask and flippers may parallel your audience’s reality. If you’re in New Orleans rain storm, deep sea diving gear may parallel your audience's reality.

What is real to the audience? The communication devices in the earlier Star Trek it needed to be real for the audience. If they used 3d projection devices, it would have confused their audiences.  They used flip phones with huge CRT monitors, padded seats, and they deck looked like a normal shipping deck. The starship would shake whenever hitting an asteroid, but when in outer space traveling at light speed or 30,000 miles an hour, it would entirely blow the ship into oblivion, but the audience needed something to recognize. The reality must fit the viewpoint or knowledge that the audience has of the world.

If you are a standup comedian, talking to rednecks, your routine would be totally different than if you are speaking to an audience of Amnesty International.

You must be able to recognize the persona of the person on stage in less than one second. If it takes longer than one second, it will no longer be real enough to them. This happens because we are using our logical brain, and this brain does not work fast, quick, or strong, and is no longer humorous because you are thinking

You must be able to recognize the persona of the person on stage in less than one second. If it takes longer than one second, it will no longer be real enough to them. This happens because we are using our logical brain, and this brain does not work fast, quick, or strong, and is no longer humorous because you are thinking

You must be able to recognize the persona of the person on stage in less than one second. If it takes longer than one second, it will no longer be real enough to them. This happens because we are using our logical brain, and this brain does not work fast, quick, or strong, and is no longer humorous because you are thinking



This is based on what the audience feels reality is. If they think that elephants are only two feet tall, and you are talking about elephants that are twenty feet tall, it will not be an Exaggeration for that audience.


You need to exaggerate at different levels for different audiences. When talking with a three year old, they need exaggeration for 50 to 100 times of what the situation actually is. For each year after that take off 5% of the Exaggeration. People that are older than 18 years only need an Exaggeration of about 2 percent of the actual event or situation. 

Exaggeration needs to stay in perfect sync with reality. If you speak about the biggest elephant that you ever saw coming out of an alleyway, this  will never supersede the reality of any audience member, as the only thing that will come up in their mind is the biggest elephant that they had ever seen. If they had only seen a ten foot tall elephant, they would be thinking of an eleven foot tall elephant. If they had only seen a four foot tall elephant, they would think of a four foot eleven inch elephant.  Exaggerate in sync with the reality of your audience, and the sky's the limit.

An artist’s begins drawing with a circle, a line and a curve. A arsonist works with heat, fuel, oxygen. A humorist (comedian) works with target, hostility and realty. With the right mix of circles, lines and curves an artist can draw any thing. With the right amount of heat, fuel and oxygen an arsonist can burn anything. So can a Humorist burn (make fun of) anything with the right mix of Target, Reality, Hostility. Exaggeration, emotion, and surprise are helpful but not assaults.

The power of Exaggeration is only effective to the degree that it parallels the audience's reality. A drunk staggering through a park is disgusting. Two drunks staggering in sync is art. Exaggeration in sync with your audiences realty can be fine art. Exaggeration or understatement without being in sync with reality can be just another disgusting lie. 

If you try to do stand-up in front of an audience of mental patients you may have one hundred or more realities. This may be very difficult because you may not be able to stay in each of their realities. For example: "Ladies and Gentlemen, I just flew in, boy are my arms tired." The lady (mental patient) in the front row says "When I fly I find that if I catch the wind currents then  my arms do not get as tired!" The Exaggeration was missed making the joke ineffective.

The way they teach FBI agents to spot counterfeit money is they have them look at and handle a lot of real money. Then when counterfeit piece hits their hand, they think it feels funny (weird, odd, or unusual). Humor, like counterfeit money, will present something a little different than their normal reality. It needs to have a slight exaggeration.

When I saw George Washington’s face on a twenty dollar bill, it looked odd. Someone had cut the corners off a twenty, and put them on a one dollar bill. You can do the same thing with Humor. Take something that is totally normal in life, put it in a different context and change it just a little, this will create the exaggeration you need to create humor. Humor is little more than taking away or adding to what is seen as normal.     

Get out your journal. Write down over a ten different observations that are in your life right now. With each of these observations write down an exaggeration of the observation. Then write down on a scale from one to ten on how much you were exaggerating the observation.


Our well being can comes from emotions. There are over 520 emotions.  Every emotion can cause laughter. Every emotion creates a different laugh. Every laugh can cause a different emotion. Only Humor can cause laughter. i.e.: emotions that come on fast, strong, have a short life. Laughter comes from a sudden change. When your emotions come on fast, strong, and have a short life, they cause laughter. Some people laugh so hard they cry. This is because laughter and crying are similar activities.

If you want to control your audience, you need to control their emotions. You can do this by taking them from one extreme to the other. You can take them to feeling totally safe to feeling totally vulnerable. By taking them from them from the one that is humiliating to the one that is being humiliated. A good comedian or speaker will always work on controlling the emotions of the audience. As soon as the emotions of the audience are out of control, the presentation is out of control.



We have Surprise when we deviate from the expectation of the audience. When the audience is given what they expect there is no Surprise. When we crank a jack-in-the-box and a small clown pops up, this is a very small Surprise. Here we know what is coming up, we just don’t know when it's coming up. If a six headed monster jumps out of the box, there will be a big Surprise. If a man wants to propose to his fiance, and he places a diamond ring in place of the clown head, this would be the perfect Surprise. The best and brightest minds that write about Humor keep emphasizing the importance of Surprise. Without Target, Hostility, Reality, Emotion, and Exaggeration, the Surprise can create a heart attack, but not Humor.