With all that is weighing on the mind of the average American – from the war to an unstable economy, few could argue that what we need is a good laugh. Unfortunately, the one day each year dedicated to humor — April Fools’ Day — has become such a theatrical production that most ignore it altogether. Thankfully, one Web site offers just what we need to get back to what April Fools is really about.
Instead of figuring out how to reassemble a car inside your boss’ office or mock-up divorce papers in Photoshop, Comic Wonder , the Web site dedicated to evolving the art of joke telling, is delivering all that is needed to get people laughing this April Fools’ Day and it doesn’t require elaborate schemes or plots. Comic Wonder suggests we get back to the roots of April Fools’ Day and simply tell a good joke.
“The magic behind good humor, whether a complicated prank or just a good joke, is the element of surprise,” said Mark Metcalf, spokesperson for Comic Wonder. “When it comes to joke telling, there’s an art to ensuring you hook your audience enough to surprise them at the end.” Metcalf is best known for his roles as Neidermeyer in Animal House and as “The Maestro” on Seinfeld.
Launched in December of 2007, Comic Wonder features hundreds of jokes, each of which has been critiqued and features commentary. But the real magic of the Web site is how these jokes are delivered. Unlike the seemingly endless supply of text jokes, which have proven to be a sad surrogate for the real thing, Comic Wonder features an innovative yet simple, audio-based system that allows humorous bits to be phoned in and then played via the Web site. Since the secret to great joke telling is in the delivery, April Fools’ Day revelers can bone-up on their joke telling by visiting the site to hear how some of the best do it.
Chris “Captainhilariousness” Cashman, agrees that one of the most important elements of good joke telling is the art of “fooling” people. “The best way to catch someone off guard is to turn a joke into a believable story,” said Cashman, a Seattle native who was voted the 2007 Comic Wonder of the Year. “I often take a joke I’ve read or heard and turn it into a personal anecdote. That way when you get to the punch line, it hits them right between the eyes. That’s the surprise I’m looking for. It’s more effective than a tired whoopee cushion or the painful ‘A guy walks into a bar’ routine.”
Cashman suggests inserting yourself, a friend, or relative into the narrative, as he did with his award-winning joke titled “Puzzled Sister.” The personalized story recounts one fateful evening when Cashman’s ditzy sister suggested an alternative activity — assembling a puzzle — to replace their weekly movie night.
Comic Wonder was established in 2007 to be the first online joke telling forum and Web site dedicated to evolving the art of joke telling. This innovative audio-based site allows people to just type in their phone number and the site automatically calls them so they can record their joke — similar to leaving a voice mail message. Once the joke is on the site, the world listens to it, votes on it, shares it with others and ultimately decides who are the best joke tellers.