Ever Hear the One About...?: Using Humor 150 Original stories from your own life can be especially effective. They bring your audience closer to you because your listeners appreciate that you can poke fun at yourself. Speech of the Devil Avoid drawing from stories that are too prominent in the news, because they're apt to be overworked. It's likely that most clever speakers have thought of using them, too. Think about things that set you off from the audience. I sometimes make jokes about being a Long Islander. For added humor, I use a little "Lawn Guyland" pronunciation. Here's a true story I used in a speech about the need for patience and tolerance in marriage: One night, my husband and I were sitting in the local diner talking about the week's events over huge slabs of cake. As a member of a large and voracious family, I quickly polished off a slice of cheesecake the size of an ocean liner. My husband, raised in a smaller, more restrained bunch, was taking more human bites out of his apple pie. Batting my lashes at my long-suffering husband, I poised my fork over his pie. When he protested, I said, 'I bore your children.' He replied, 'You bore a lot of people. Take your fork out of my pie.' If necessary, embellish your stories with a little fact-stretching. Stay within the confines of reality