Monday, December 16, 2013

MidMonth Mirth Memo, December 2013


Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people once a year.
                                             -Victor Borge                          
Where does a snowman keep his money? In a snow bank.
What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire? Frostbite.
What do snowmen eat for breakfast? Ice Krispies.

Instead of "John", I call my bathroom "Jim".
That way it sounds better when I say "I go to the Jim first thing every morning."

Only during December, you can change your life for only a buck ninety-nine.
Change Your Life: A Little Book of Big Ideas (Kindle version)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

You Can't Ruin My Day

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my life is that I can rise above any situation; that I don’t have to let my circumstances rob me of my joyous spirit; that I can take back my power and not let any person or thing ruin my day, or, for that matter, my life.

Looking back, I realize that I learned that lesson at an early age. When I was seven-years-old, my parents took me to see both Broadway musicals, Carousel and Oklahoma. From that day on I wanted to be the person who created “the pretty stage pictures.” I wanted to be a scenic designer.

We arrived late for one of the shows and missed the beginning. So when the show was over, I refused to leave. I thought that, like a movie, I could see the beginning again. That day I was dragged out of the theater kicking and screaming, but my heart never left the theater.

In grade school, I took shoeboxes and made a scene from the book that we were reading in class. Other students wrote book reports; I did dioramas. In high school, I saw almost every Broadway show, including the opening night of Hello Dolly. In college, I designed many of the school productions and, with the help of one of the professors, got into Yale Drama School.

It was a three-year master’s degree program. They admitted twelve students the first year. Then, because they only produced eight plays in their smaller theater the second year, they let go of four designers. I was one of the first to go. I was told I had no talent.

Of course, I was heartbroken. But, even then, I realized that nobody could tell me I couldn’t do something if I truly believed I could. After all, I was a “scenic designer” since the sixth grade. I was a designer, at least in my mind, since I saw my first Broadway show. Nobody could tell me I wasn’t a designer. Nobody could ruin my day. Nobody could ruin my career. Nobody could ruin my life.

Soon after being booted from Yale, I became an apprentice in the scenic design union in New York City and finally became a full-fledged designer at CBS – television. My fellow classmates at Yale were still designing school productions while I was designing national television shows such as Captain KangarooThe Merv Griffin Show, and The Jackie Gleason Show.

Who said I had no talent? Who said I would never be a scenic designer? Nobody was going to ruin my day or my dream. Not even the head of the Yale School of Drama scenic design department.

More recently, that lesson was presented to me again, when I got a speeding ticket. In spite of that, I continued to be joyous that day and continued to repeat my mantra whenever not-so-wonderful stuff happens to me: “No one, or nothing, can ruin my day.”

MidMonth Mirth Memo, November 2013

                                                    NOVEMBER 2013


I think it is just terrible and disgusting how everyone has treated Lance
Armstrong, especially after what he achieved, winning seven Tour de France
Races, while on drugs. When I was on drugs, I couldn't even find my bike.                      


Post: Can't wknds be longer?
Response: Yes, weekends.    

I haven't the slightest idea of how to change people, but still,
I keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should
ever figure it out.                                                 –David Sedaris 

I'm marching in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this year.
I'll be escorting the Marion-Carole Showboat float. When you
see me on TV, wave and I'll wave back.

Just in time for holiday gift-giving. Always Look on the Bright Side.
500 uplifting quotations to help you celebrate each day to the fullest.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Make it a Red Nose Day

I am a big fan of a little red sponge-rubber ball known as a “clown nose.” It is near impossible not to smile when you either see someone wearing one or when you are wearing one yourself.

Over the past twenty years, I have given an envelope with a clown nose in it to everyone in my workshops and keynote speeches. I then ask them to close their eyes and think about something that is upsetting them. After a minute-or-so, I ask them to open the packet, put on the clown nose, and look about the room.

The smiles and laughter flood the room as the upsets they recall disappear. In addition, I ask the audience to take the clown nose home and use it in stressful situations. The tales that have come back are amazing.

One mother, for example, told me that she wears one when trying to get her kids out of bed on school mornings. It starts the day off on a happy note.

Another couple told me they plant clown noses all around the house and put them on as a signal to head off an impending fight. For them, it is like an instant red light to stop what might turn into a heated argument.

And, I personally saw the power of a red clown nose one day when my flight was three-hours late in taking off. I gave one to the flight attendant who was greeting people as they entered the aircraft. Most of the passengers were grumpy and unresponsive when she smiled and said “hello.” But when she put on the clown nose many of the passengers smiled and lit up. Interestingly, there were a few people who immediately turned away preferring to hang on to their anger.

If you don’t have your own personal red clown nose, I highly recommend you get one. Keep it handy when you are in traffic jams, at staff meetings when things get bogged down, or put one on to fend off arguments before they even get started.

And, if you are too embarrassed to wear a clown nose in public, wear one privately. To start each morning in a fun way, put on the nose, look in the mirror, and say out loud, “This person is not to be taken seriously.”

Originally published on on March 7, 2013  

Monday, September 9, 2013

Lengthen Your Life with Laughter

According to researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Yeshiva University, people who are optimistic, laugh a lot and are easygoing, may live longer.

The study analyzed 243 people with an average age of 97.6.

These people were part of a bigger study, called the Longevity Genes Project that examined 500 Ashkenazi Jews ages 95 and older as well as 700 of their offspring.

Dr. Nir Barzilai, director of Einstein's Institute for Aging Research said that "When I started working with centenarians, I thought we'd find that they survived so long in part because they were mean and ornery. But when we assessed the personalities of these 243 centenarians, we found qualities that clearly reflect a positive attitude towards life.”

Most of those examined, said Dr. Barzilai, “considered laughter an important part of life and had a large social network. They expressed emotions openly rather than bottling them up."

And in another larger study by Sven Svebak, at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 54,000 people were tracked for seven years. What Svebak found was that those who have a sense of humor outlived those who don’t.

In addition, the survival edge was particularly large for people who had cancer. The patients with a good sense of humor cut their  chances of dying by about 70% compared with adults with a poor sense of humor.

So, once again science is documenting what the Bible told us many moons ago that “A merry heart doeith good like a medicine.”

Originally published on on June 17, 2013

Monday, September 2, 2013

Mid Month Mirth Memo, August 2013

You are on a horse, galloping at a constant speed. On your right
side is a sharp drop off. And on your left side is an elephant traveling
at the same speed as you. Directly in front of you is another galloping
horse but your horse is unable to overtake it. Behind you is a lion running
at the same speed as you and the horse in front of you.

What must you do to safely get out of this highly dangerous situation?

Get your drunk ass off the merry-go-round.


Just before the school year started, a high school teacher injured his
back. He had to wear a plaster cast on the upper part of his body but
it was under his shirt and not noticeable.

On the first day of class, he found himself assigned to the toughest
students in the school. Knowing that they would be testing him, he
walked into the rowdy classroom, opened the window wide and sat
down at his desk. When a strong breeze made his tie flap, he picked
up a stapler and stapled the tie to his chest.

Dead silence... the rest of the year went extremely well.

Recently, a guy came into my office with an unusual problem. He was
frightened of nickels, dimes, and quarters. I knew immediately what
was going on.

He was afraid of change.

Know a therapist or counselor?  Then tell 'em about...
L.A.U.G.H.: Using Humor & Play to Help Clients Cope with Stress,
Anger, Frustration, and more.
Includes 60 reproducible activities and CD.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

MidMonth Mirth Memo, July 2013

"Sam Johnson, owner of a movie theater chain in Chicago, has passed away at the age of 77," the newspaper obituary read. "The funeral will be held on Tuesday at 2:15, 4:25. 6:15, 8:25 and 10:15."


I was the best man at the wedding. If I’m the best man, why is she marrying him?
                                                                                                                         -Jerry Seinfield

Researchers in Japan found that kitchen refuse can be reduced by more than 90 percent
 by using an enzyme-producing bacteria extracted from the feces of giant pandas.

Question did it dawn on someone to try this experiment?
                                                                                                                        -Readers Digest

New York City Subway Panhandlers (for funniest part, wait until near the end)


Be the first on your block to get my latest book to be released in November. 

Always Look on the Bright Side: Living Life to the Fullest
Available for pre-order now.

Monday, June 17, 2013

MidMonth Mirth Memo, June 2013

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, “Where am I, Cathy?”
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan!

Two men are seated on the front porch at an English nudist colony. One turns to the other and asks: “I say, old boy, have you read Marx?”
         The other replies, “Yes, I believe it’s these wicker chairs.” 

From contestants on Family Feud...

Name something a blind person might use: “A sword.”

Name an occupation where you need a torch: “A burglar.”

Name a part of the body beginning with the letter 'N': “A Knee.”

Perfect for June brides and grooms…
Words of Love: Quotations from the Heart
Available at:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Gratitude and Grief

 “The miracle of gratitude is that it shifts your perception to such an extent that it changes the world you see.”
-Dr. Robert Holden

After we experience a loss, we tend to focus on what we no longer have. As a result we put our energy on the negative, or what is missing in our life, rather than on the positive, or all of those wonderful things we still have. One of my spiritual teachers once told me that when we want what we don’t have, we waste what we do have. To translate that into loss-related situations—to want what is no longer in our life is to waste what still remains in our life.

We usually don’t think about giving thanks when someone dies. Yet gratitude can be one of the most healing tools we have.

I would therefore like to suggest that being grateful for what remains after you have experienced a loss can be a powerful way to deal with, and heal, that loss. Turning your attention on how your life was enriched because that person was in it, for example, rather than on the vacuum the loss created, might be one powerful and healthy approach to confronting grief.

After my wife died at the age of thirty-four, my thoughts, as often experienced by someone who is grieving, sometimes turned to darker questions like, “How can I go on with my life without her?” Grief also brought up a feeling of emptiness, depression, and hopelessness. Once I started to be thankful for all that remained in my life—my daughter, my friends, my work, etc.—I got a glimpse of why I could go on living and, in fact, fully enjoy life again.

Gratitude has the power to help those in mourning rise above their loss. It is life affirming. It can provide hope. And, perhaps most important, it can help us let go of the past and focus on the abundance that surrounds us now.

In my book, Learning to Laugh When You Feel Like Crying (Goodman Beck, 2011), I suggest a simple way to move towards being grateful after a loss:
Tomorrow morning, before you get out of bed, think of at least one thing that you are thankful for. And then, when you get out of bed, start writing down all the wonderful things in you life. You can be thankful for:
            -a penny found on the street
            -the cookies a neighbor brought you
            -the friends you have
            -a rainbow
            -flowers in the park
            -a cup of tea.
Those are just of few little gratitudes that can keep you afloat while you are in a sea of grief. But you might also want to note some of the bigger things for which you are grateful. For example:
            -that the deceased was in your life
            -the lessons you learned from them
            -that their spirit still lives within you.

And, you can be grateful for life itself. As comedian Robin Williams discovered after his heart surgery: “When you have something like heart surgery, you appreciate the simple things, like breathing.”

Friday, May 3, 2013

Condoms and Comedy

Humor has a way of popping up when we least expect it. A friend of mine, who attended a party I recently gave to celebrate my Birthday, beautifully illustrated that with a story of what happened after the party. She told me:

At one point during the party, someone jokingly handed me a foil wrapped condom.  Assuming I had missed the announcement  (we were going to blow up balloons? Party favors? ) I accepted it, but was miles from my purse, so did what any resourceful gal would do, and stuck it in “the vault” i.e. my bra.

On the way home, I decided to swing by the YMCA for some quick pool aerobics.  I knew I’d stand out in my party attire– a silk kimono and gold sequin tank top which was a bit over the top for the Y— so I doffed the kimono and threw a black sweater over my sparkly tank.  When I got to the locker room about 6:00 p.m. it was packed with moms and little girls toweling off before trekking home. Completely forgetting my attire, I threw off the black sweater and immediately one little girl exclaimed "Look mommy, a Princess!”  The setting sun caught the sequins and they shimmered beautifully.  Everyone smiled and giggled and proceeded to get dressed. 

Things were fine until another little girl suddenly exclaimed, “Look mama, she has candy!”  Now what adult would bring candy to a locker room to give to little children?  A definite no-no.  Immediately heads snapped like tree branches in an ice storm.  I followed everyone’s gaze to the source, only to discover – it was me.  What?  Huh?  I didn’t have any candy. I looked down, and there on my right breast, in full view was a bright purple foil packet with the word “Trojan” in big white letters.

In a nanosecond, the room turned from friendly to frigid.  Mothers turned their backs, and instructed their children not to look. Some mother’s glares bore holes into my skull.  Yikes!   I turned to one gal who appeared to be about my age.  I knew she’d understand events are rarely what they seem, and there is often a logical explanation for everything. 

“Uh. I was just at a gentleman’s 75th birthday party, and….”  I could see the truth was not going to help in this situation. I was doomed, and the realization must have registered on my face.  The woman gave me a steady gaze and in a perfect Bea Arthur/Maude voice and attitude said “No need to explain, ‘Princess.’ I think we have the picture.”  O….M….G.  As the wise sage Confucius once observed “Ho….Lee….. Chit!” 

So yes, your birthday was memorable in more ways than one.  These Lucille Ball-like moments happen to me more often than I care to admit.  What can I say?  Happy Birthday.

The moral of the story, if there is one, is that humor is all around us every day, everywhere. So keep your eyes and ears open for it. You never know when humor’s jolly head will pop up.

Monday, April 15, 2013

April 2013 MidMonth Mirth Memo

The Mid-Month Mirth Memo is a short amusing tidbit to brighten middle of the month monotony. It is brought to you by best-selling author, award-winning speaker,                    "Jollytologist" ® Allen Klein

                                                       APRIL 2013
                                              HAPPY HUMOR MONTH

FORM 1040
Line 1: How much money did you make in 2012?
Line 2: Send it in

Proof that laughter is contagious, even on the subways of the world.

Berlin subway:

New York City subway:

"People say that money isn't the key to happiness, but I always figured
if you have enough money, you can have a key made."
                                                                                                   -Joan Rivers 

Mom's the Word: The Wit, Wisdom and Wonder of Motherhood


Friday, March 15, 2013

Monthly Mirth Memo

The Mid-Month Mirth Memo is a short amusing tidbit to brighten middle of the month monotony. It is brought to you by best-selling author, award-winning speaker, "Jollytologist" ® Allen Klein         

                                                 MARCH 2013

I got on the phone, my mom said, “Hi. Is everything wrong?
                                                                               -Richard Lewis 

Instead of saying “hello,” my mother gets on the phone and says,
“Guess who died?”
                                                                                -Dom Irrera

My mother could make anyone feel guilty—she used to get letters
of apology from people she didn't even know.
                                                                                -Joan Rivers
(Quotes from Mom's the Word: The Wit, Wisdom and Wonder of Motherhood) 

Senior Texting Codes:
     * BTW - Bring the Wheelchair
     * LOL - Living on Lipitor
     * DWI - Driving While Incontinent

Can vegetarians eat animal crackers?

Know of someone who would like to receive the Mid-Month Mirth Memo?
They can opt-in at

If it's laughter you're after, consider attending the annual conference sponsored by
The Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, April 4 to 7, San Diego, CA.