You Know WHAT you want... But do you have the right TOOLS to achieve it? From presidents to executives... Humor has been the POWER TOOL of success. And HumorMall is dedicated to helping YOU achieve your dream - using Humor.
All of Cantu's articles referenced here are available for purchase at
Cantu's Comedy Wit and Humor Wisdom (soon to be republished)
NOTE: The following comments are unsolicited but published with permission
What People Say:
Peter M. Moritz
John D. Cantu
San Francisco, California
I thought I'd let you know how much your humor presentations have helped me in my professional speaking and sales work. Two years ago I heard you speak about humor: how to create instant jokes, what makes a topic funny, the best delivery, etc. At the time I was a sales professional, managing over 1000 accounts. Using your ideas helped me "close" many more sales and develop a better relationship with my customers. I found that I could see the decision maker more readily, and communicate sensitive topics with greater ease (such as contentious customer service issues).
Later, as I started speaking professionally full time, I have consciously used your concepts to gain and maintain audience interest. People learn and listen when it's fun!
Since English is a second language for me (having learned it in grade school after arriving from Germany) I found your talks particularly helpful. Your insight into communication is valuable for everyone who wants to improve their talking skills.
Thanks. Keep up the good work! Your humor and motivation are terrific!
Creating inspired organizations!
corporate consulting, motivational presentations, and personal coaching
Professional Development Symposium - West 2001
"The objective of PDSWEST'01 is to provide a quality educational symposium in an environment conducive to learning from and networking with other IS Professionals so that attendees can enhance their project management knowledge base."
Joan Knutson - PDSWEST'01 Program Manager
August 31, 2001
Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your dynamic Workshop at PDSWEST'01 Conference received rave reviews from the attendees. Feedback we received included "I learned more in Cantu's Workshop in the first hour than I learned in any other entire Conference session", "Great workshop", "Many practical things which I can begin using immediately", and many other accolades.
Your Workshop, "How to Communicate Effectively Without Being Dull or Boring" was a key factor in making PDSWEST'01 a very successful Conference. I appreciated how easy you were to work with, and how you handled everything in a highly professional manner. Personally, I learned some very valuable techniques which will greatly enhance my presentations and public speaking
It is always a pleasure working with you and I hope to have the opportunity to work with you again in the future.
PDSWEST'01 Track Coordinator
Mr. John Cantu
San Francisco, CA
It is one thing to watch a master at work, but it is something else again to benefit tangibly from the work of a master right before your very eyes. I am writing to thank you for the great benefit I am enjoying from your Comedy Workshop for Speakers today.
John, you took the mystery out of my own humor for me. See, people tell me I'm funny and I am pretty well convinced that I am. But until today I really had no clue on:
A. how to identify where my humor lies, and
B. how to reliably, repeatedly create "Garfinkel-style" humor for my own writing and speaking.
For me, humor was always that came when it did. But it was never something I knew consciously how to "prompt." This is a little embarrassing to admit, since I took in thousands of dollars giving seminars myself, and as part of each seminar, my partner and I successfully taught hundreds of people how to create their own humor
But like the fabled consultant who knows 63 ways to make love yet can't get a date himself, I was "in the dark" via-a-vis my own stuff .
Now all that's changed. Not only that, I have a date for next week! (Actually, I already had the date before, today's seminar, but I thought mentioning it would be a nice touch.) John, please keep giving these seminars -- not just for the sake of speakers, but more important, for; the sake of their audiences.
Your jealous but admiring colleague,
San Francisco, CA
OVERNIGHT MARKETING - When You Abolutely, Positively Have To Get It DoneTM
John and David would become great friends and along with John’s speaking mentor, Patricia Fripp, would become the Three Musketeers of Speaking
I just wanted to say thank you for introducing me to the life of Comedy. My name is Cathy Lewis and I took a workshop that you gave over ten years ago and I've been in it every since.
I was the girl with the whisper voice that could switch to the froggie voice. Since then I've gone through 2 open heart surgeries and have become a regular at The Comedy Store & Laugh Factory.
A couple of TV spots BET Comic View and the Jenny Jones show "Diva's of Comedy. I'm very interested in motivational speaking as well. This year I'm in the San Francisco Comedy Competition. Maybe I will see you then. Thanks alot again for changing my life.
My nonprofit company is Big Heart Productions.
Dear Mr. Cantu:
I hope you have received a testimonial I have written about your fine humor service. You have my permission to use this endorsement when advertising. Please consider me a very happy and satisfied client. It is my pleasure to act as an advocate of your work.
Dear Mr. Cantu:
With the lessons I've learned from your humor writing service, I now am selling jokes on a regular basis for the first time. I not only have learned the technical aspects of constructing a joke, but more importantly, I've learned much about the philosophy and spirit of successful gag writing.
For example, you taught me that joke writing is a learned skill. I previously thought that such a trait was a gift. Once you demonstrated that this is a common fallacy, I immediately improved.
You also taught me that joke writing and delivering humor are not necessarily related. You are absolutely right when you preach that audiences don't laugh at jokes. They laugh at FUNNY PEOPLE. Once I learned the difference, I became a much better joke writer.
Then you taught me some common joke formulas. Your instruction was invaluable. You gave numerous, vivid examples of such techniques, so it was easy to see the theory put to practice.
During the day, I am a teacher. Possession of knowledge, in and of itself, is useless. It is the ability to communicate that knowledge which is essential. That is where you truly excel. You have done a marvelous job of transmitting your knowledge to others. You are a superb educator.
I wholeheartedly recommend your service to anyone interested in vastly improving his or her sense of humor.
"I'm THRILLED to have found your website. Most books or articles that I've read on incorporating humor say something like "Look around for funny situations." What I feel is fantastic about your site is the instruction -- the how to's, the techniques, the analysis, the skill building -- please continue to be very specific with the how to's for those of us who really, really, really have to work on being humorous.
Congratulations on a job well done!! I'm looking forward to all your great advice."
Thanks a lot.
Ida Shessel -- a dynamic interactive facilitator creating positive results focused on your business needs, located in the Toronto area email@example.com
I really enjoy your Cantu Humor, I've even learned some things that have helped me in my speaking. I didn't unsubscribe from your list, I simply changed my email address and will continue to get your ezine. Thanks and keep up the good work,
Keith Wilhelm firstname.lastname@example.org
Your stuff is so doable
As an adjunct professor of Public Speaking, clinical psychologist, Toastmaster and NSA member I have found your CantuHumor invaluable. Your professional advice and ezine has enabled me to help add humor to my students' and my presentations.
We are familiar with the research indicating that Public Speaking is one of the greatest fears people have. I think the fear of saying something funny and not having anyone laugh is a significant reason people fear speaking. It is very rewarding to help others realize they "Can Do" humor. Thank you Cantu.
Dr. Abby Lynn Ross, AbbysPeaks, One Peak at a Time, Reach Your Peakential
You certainly 'Can Do'. The last newsletter was particularly good.
Since I've used your techniques in my talks at our Toastmasters club, I've won more
ribbons and am considering entering the area contests.
I realize a newsletter represents a lot of effort on your part but I want you to know it is appreciated.
Keep up the funny business.
Warm Regards, Wm. (Bill) Jacobson
(Toastmaster's Club #4460, AMYAC; Sunnyvale, CA., For membership information or to make arrangements to visit: Deborah Ferry, 800-538-8460, email@example.com )
John, I was the person you coached after Chuck Ward's Speaker's Boot Camp held in Larkspur, "Back to My Roots - an Evolution to Gray".
With your coaching I won the Toastmaster's, Area and Division speech contests. I was unable to compete on the District level due to previous plans to be out of the country. Your coaching made the difference!"
I have set up to be on your mailing list and to get the download of your book.
Annemarie Clark, Principal of Clark Creative Group, San Francisco, CA
Hey Jape Jockeys! It's Mike.
I think Cantu, the guru, came through, don't you? His rendering of the joke about stopping eating to get food was Brilliant! I guess that's why they call him The Guru of Guffaw, The Patriarch of Punch, The Lord of Lines, The Muckamuck of Yuk-a-yuk, The Sultan of Silly, The Honcho of Ho Ho, The Emperor of Simperers, The Secretary of Being Merry, The Father of the Fatuous, The Ayatollah of I-wanna-tell-ya, The Chief of Chuckles, The Chairman of Chortles, The Ruler of the Risible, The God of Gags, The Master of Mirth, The C.E.O. of Hee Hee Ho, The Dean of Martin, The Abbot of Costello, The King of Comedy, The Potentate of You've-Been-Great, and The Colonel Sanders of Rubber Chickens.
Responding to Cantu's analysis and critique of a joke posted in the in the Laugh lovers' humor discussion list.
To subscribe for free send any email to LaughLovers-subscribe@Yahoogroups.com
Thanks for your valuable information and confirmation.
I have enjoyed and appreciated the postings I have received of your on line workshop thru our DC newsgroup. It's been a valued part of my comic upbringing.
David B Gay
♣ David is based in the Washington, DC area working as an Announcer/Host/MC for various events in the mid-atlantic region.
I caught you on the E Channel the other day talking about Paula Poundstone.
You're E Mail lists are great.
I am working on some new material and want to finally write my sit-com, a Every Body Loves Raymond - Jerry Seinfeld - Will and Grace, rolled up into one.
I am also a Toastmaster and am delivering speeches from the Communication and Leadership manual.
Lawrence E. Harris
Toastmaster's Club #4153 , Town Center Talkers; Germantown, MD
I'm only 17, but I would love to be a comedian one day. It is my goal/dream.
I love Cantu Humor. I have subscribed to that for a long time now. It always gives me helpful hints on public speaking. I feel that I am a lot funnier than I was when I started, and you also helped me become more public about it (i.e. class clown).
I read Comedy Club Diaries to find out what the comedians were thinking while they were backstage. I also enjoy the ones where some of the comics give advice on how to break out on the comedy circuit. Once I'm old enough to actually get into a club, I want to start my stand-up career. You are a great, funny, hard-working guy. I appreciate all of your ezines.
Unfortunately, I can't be in Hawaii with the rest of you sun gods, as I have to be in Denver that weekend (good heavens, that's coming right up, isn't it?!).
I saw that they put your session up against the Humor PEG. I was at the session that you and Jeff (or is it SIR Jeff, now that he's a CSP?) did in San Francisco last year, and I thought it was the best, most practical and USEFUL humor session I've ever seen (not just another "1001 Things You Can Do With a Rubber Chicken" workshop).
Check out Bill Stainton's web site His masthead reads: "What can a guy who's won 29 emmy awards, written for Jay Leno, and help train the CIA, do for me?": http://www.OvationConsulting.com
Greatly enjoyed Saturday's workshop (1-19-02) and got mucho into and ideas. I didn't participate much and realize I"d like to attend another workshop like this with you. Let me know when you put on your next one.
Again, you did a great job!
♣ Dana Walsh, Dana Walsh Design, San Francisco, CA
I just received the E-Book.
I Printed it out. Just by the weight of this it's worth more. Seriously if you can raise the price, where else can they get the info? It's worth it.
George White, San Mateo, CA
Loved your advice on giving the audience specific directions for action.
Still think you should write an article...like I mentioned to Fripp.
Your pal and admirer,
Susan RoAne Keynote Speaker/Best-selling Author "How to Work A Room" & "The Secrets of Savvy Networking" & "What Do I Say Next?" http://www.susanroane.com
Just a quick word to thank you for your presentation at Sierra Speakers last night!
So many club members mentioned how much they enjoyed listening to you, and how good you were. I think your story about Robin Williams finding his way in his early days helped us really understand your point about starting where one is now.
Love your Cantu Humor newsletter and forward it on to many.
To introduce me: I'm a seminar and teleclass leader--as book coach with Sandra Schrift, Sheryl Roush and Chris Witt. We coach speakers, coaches and other business pros with
teleclasses and individual sessions.
My latest book "Ten Almost-Free Non Techie Ways to Market Your Book Online" is aimed at this audience.
I would love to upload your "Dealing With Stage Fright" essay from your August 2001 issue to my free articles section.
Judy Cullins, M.A.
Write Your Ebook or Other Short Book - Fast!
18 clients published since 1999!
"John brillant last newsletter. Thank you."
♣ Email from Paul McGee
(McGee's latest book is "59 Minutes to a Calmer Life". To find out more about how to get a calmer life in 59 minutes go to www.paulmcgee.com )
Mr. Cantu, I wanted to thank you for the time you spent with the toastmaster from WA that was participating in the Regional speech contest last month. When I found out you were going to be there I told her eagerly that you were going to be a speaker and that your emails were a great source of inspiration. I wish I could have joined the group that drove nonstop from WA to see her participate but alas the grindstone's chain was strong. When she returned she told me of the time you took with her personally to give her advice on her speech.
I am glad to hear personally of your kindness and willingness to help others in the speaking field. If you ever find yourself in Centralia, WA on Monday's around noon, you are welcome at the Chehalis/Centralia Toastmasters Club (The Mighty 1290!).
Dave Clark, CTM, AL
Past President Chehalis/Centralia Toastmasters1290
Thank you for producing and emceeing the "Fun Night - Cavalcade of Comics" at the Toastmasters Region II Conference on June 15, 2001. the comedy show you produced was a key factor in this being one of the highest rated Region II Conferences ever.
Your leadership and presentation skills were a factor in the consistently high ratings on Conference Evaluation Forms. You were a consummate professional and very easy to work with. Thanks again for all your contributions to our Conference.
Don Zook, DTM
Region II Conference - 2001
I sincerely admire your ability to weave humor into a presentation. Your creativity is extraordinary.
Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D.
As an inspirational speaker, Rosemarie Rossetti speaks to organizations and corporations that want to bring out the best in their people, and demonstrates how to live life with conviction. www.RosemarieSpeaks.com
This is an e-mail that *** (our client from **************) forwarded to me today.
Date: Mon, 21 May 2001 11:47:44 -0700
Subject: response to comic book
****** ****** wrote:
I just got a call from a friend of mine who works for Walt Disney's MIS department here in NYC. In case you didn't know, Disney has at least 10 different offices here in NYC. My friend gets paid to go all over the city troubleshooting, upgrading, installing computers for ALL of the Disney offices.
Anyway, he called to say that he was sitting with Elliot Altman, the President of Walt Disney Theatrical Presentations.
He said that Mr. Altman said, "Hey! Do you want to see a really cool comic book?" and preceded to hand my friend our ************** brochure! My friend was calling with Mr. Altman in the background, and I could hear him saying, "It's a GREAT sales tool. It's very funny; I read it cover to cover!!"
Elliot Altman's boss is Michael Eisner. Ok! There is only one guy in Disney higher up than Elliot Altman (although there are a few at
the same level)!
I know some of you are wondering if any of the people on our list have actually seen the brochure we mailed out. I can't guarantee that EVERY single person on the list have seen it, but if Elliot Altman saw it, you know a LOT of other big wigs saw it too!!! When people enjoy something like this, they want to talk about it and show it to others. What did Elliot Altman do when he read our brochure?
He stuck it in the face of his IT guy (my buddy) as soon as he could!!
Don't give up! Keep calling. If they've seen it, I GUARANTEE they'll want to talk about it!
PS: If you couldn't tell, Malcolm Kushner and John Cantu were the copywriters of this book.
I actually re-started my comedy writing career last year by writing some jokes for a friend that was doing a talk about leasing medical equipment to a group of doctors. I used your combination technique and came up with some that worked well for him.
I've been to your webpage and I am very impressed with some of the techniques that you have developed, I can already tell how they have sped up my writing and brainstorming processes.
John Carr, University of Mississippi
12/5/00 7:09:32 PM Pacific
I know you're a humor guy, but I am amazed at the knowledge you have about language and the SCIENCE of humor. You're writing is extremely well written and I really enjoyed this e-zine.
Patti Glick, RN -- The Foot Nurse -- Keeping Silicon Valley on its Feet
I enjoy your humor tips. Besides being a speaker, I'm also a stand-up comic and I teach a stand-up course at a local college, so I'm always looking for specific ways to conceptualize humor in order to teach it effectively, and you've certainly give me food for thought.
David Granirer MA, Laughter in The Workplace and Stand-Up Comedy
I've always found your material on target, professional, usable and if nothing else, interesting and educational. Keep up the good work it is very much needed in the daily diet of new material assimilated in our business."
Russo and Brooklyn
A veteran comedy-ventriloquist-team produced by top vocal-Comedic wizardry. An act to delight families, parents, singles, juniors to seniors.
Dear Mr. Cantu
Again, please use my comments. I value and enjoy your emails. I especially treasure your tips and suggestions.
Your insight and observations are remarkable. I print all your stuff from these emails
This column contains great stuff for comics, or comic wannabe's. You should collect it in a book or tape these and make them available at a cost to your subscribers."
Keep following your passion. You create some great copy. I tell others, we are preparing for show time.
There are no short cuts or pills to take. No elevators, you have to take the stairs. There are wanna-be's, the path to success is for the need to be's. Now that you have established your web site, hopefully there will be more humor in all our lives. Continue the battle, you are providing a valuable service."
Keith McLeod, FCBI
♣ Business Broker of the Year 1996; Small Business Leader of the Year
I have just rec'd your newsletter. It was one of the best newsletters I have ever read, and I look forward to reading the next one.
As an ex-stand up comedian and now speaker and trainer I really appreciated the thought and care that you have put in. I also learned a lot.
It was great of you to send that wealth of information to Alan! I read it with great interest myself, though I am old enough to get into the Holy CIty Zoo and then some. I liked the HCZ better before someone stole the giraffe and some of the other animals painted on mattress boxes and pinned to the back of the stage, which was all black.
As I thought when I took your workshop, you offer more for the buck than any other comedy teacher I've had. And your written website information is terrific! What a gold mine!
Thanks to Patti Hathaway, CSP for quoting Cantu in her "Laughing All the Way to the Bank" column in the April 2000 issue of "Professional Speaker."
Feedback on Cantus' breakout session for the District 57 Toastmasters Leadership Insitute.
Cantu, You are so funny! Imagine this from my perspective. Guy walks into a room FULL of people who struggle daily/weekly because, unlike the average citizen, they TRY to give speeches and they'd LIKE to be funny but they are evaluated directly so they are AWARE that they are not very funny.
Guy has a short time to help them all tap into the humor they have inside but haven't been able to tap into for a lifetime.
Guy does a terrific job and gives them powerful tools in a lively, interactive form and has them test several different ways of using the material.
I was pleased and proud to have you join us. I've heard great things about your session which I observed and know was excellent. You DESERVE applause.
I attended your Toastmasters Leadership Insitute (District 57) session and was very impressed. I also was able to talk with some of the other attendees who were equally impressed.
The workshop had a nice, warm flow and clearly communicated both the theory and the practice of using humor like a PRO.
I think that your 'Warming Up' the audience added to the overall effectiveness of the workshop.
Brendan Murphy, ATM-B
Systems Analyst* for Pacific Bell
District 57 Public Relations Officer
From: Ben Little firstname.lastname@example.org
I have been on the Cantu list for nearly a year and am a toastmaster. Thanks for providing this information - it really helps. Public speaking as a toastmaster is a hobby for me.
I have shared your work with others in our club and will connect them to your ezine soon. Thanks again,
In reference to Cantu Humor
Phenomenal issue! The article on mikes and the Larson examples were great. Thanks to that, I knew what kind of mike I was using last Saturday when I did my first comedy audition. I'm looking forward to the Monty Python examples. Thanks,
John Cantu's advice was invaluable when we planned our most recent Berkeley comedy show. His knowledge of talent, planning, budgeting and promotions put us in a position to succeed. A true industry guru."
-- Luke Filose, Editor and Comedy Producer
http://www.squelched.com is the online companion of UC Berkeley's Heuristic Squelch -- recently featured in Rolling Stone and loaded with enough humor to make your sides ache.
Dear John, Just have to thank you for all the humor insight you've given me. At my last performance of "Tales from the Table; 25 Years: 6,000 Naked Bodies," I went bold and tried some humor. Success, thanks to you.
I timed my 2 "humor runs." The first one was 6 laughs in 44 seconds, and the second one was 6 laughs in 54 seconds. Yeeha! Onward and upward.
Thanks, Cathy" (Editor note: This email refers to Cathy Dana's presentation based on her experiences as a professional masseuse. Email Pollyanna4@aol.com to book her for your event.)
Hi there, Cantu:
(I hope this is your preferred form of address)
I'm a subscriber to your excellent newsletter, CantuHumor. Came across your link on Chandra Clarke's humor writing list. Have received 2 issues so far and find them practical and informative.
I subscribe to several lists relating to humor, but have observed notable lethargy on the parts of most 'humorists' to understand their own craft. Many aren't funny and pass this shortcoming off as 'subtle humor.' A few achieve limited humor by fluke. A very rare few come up with something really surprising that makes you laugh out loud, and fewer yet could tell you why it worked.
You seem to be one of the last group.
Will Enns (Founder of the weriting-humor discussion list. To join send any email to writing-humor-susbcribe@Yahoogroups.com )
From: Jan Crowell email@example.com
Subject: Re: Cantu_Humor
I am a new subscriber, and must say, this is better than I expected. I would like to get last month's ezine with the topic of "reversing things" if it is still available. I can use what's in here today while jobhunting to finance my internet habit.
Dear Cantu, I'm just writing to say how much I look forward to and enjoy receiving your CantuHumour every month, thanks for doing it. I am a radio DJ/presenter at Amber Radio in the U.K.
I used to cut and paste jokes off the internet to use on my shows but since receiving your CantuHumour I have gained more confidence to write my own. I do mainly one liner type things that are usually based on items in the news or quirky news stories. I try to keep them about 30 seconds in length to slot in over end of songs and over intro's of songs. Here' a couple to give you a flavour of my humour: <snip>
I see in the paper today the government wants schools to give children lessons in avoiding accidents. Good idea I suppose. Mind you it's a bit ironic when you think most of the children probably started off as one.
New report out says elderly men who walk one and a half miles a day are less likely to have a heart attack. Trouble is at the end of the week what do you do when you're ten and a half miles from home? <snip>
keith travis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reprinted from CantuHumor ezine - the complete series is available in CANTU'S COMEDY WIT AND HUMOR WISDOM: Reprint of CantuHumor ezine 1999-2003 by John Cantu (soon to be republished)
Cantu, thanks a million for helping me polish my opener - I couldn't have done it without your help. You certainly are one of the reasons why ours is the "Greatest Chapter in the Universe!" (Via postcard)
Roseann Sullivan, referring to her opening presentation as the incoming president of the National Speakers Association, Northern California Chapter.
Roseann's company is Sullivan Communications of San Francisco, a corporate training firm dedicated to increasing the effectiveness of workplace communications and sales presentations. Call toll free nationwide: 888.SPEAK.2U.