How Do You Localize Humor

Localizing—tailoring material for specific audiences—is an important and common practice for professionals who play on the road or make frequent personal appearances at banquets. The audience wants to know that you care enough to use material personalized for them. Bob Hope is famous for inside material. He'll send a writer to a site a few days before his appearance to write dozens of opening lines about local people, places, and controversial activities.

If you need material for a hotel, do it this way:

A guest at (name of a posh local hotel) called room service. "I want three overdone fried eggs, hard as a rock, some burnt toast that crumbles at first touch, and a cup of black coffee that tastes like mud." "I'm sorry, sir, but we don't serve a breakfast like that." "No? Well, you did yesterday!"

If you need it for an airport, localize it this way:

Passenger to (name of airline) ticket agent: "Ship this bag to New York. This second one to Kansas City, and this third one on your overseas flight to Calcutta." "We can't do that." "Well, you did when I was here last time!"

Another method is to have open-ended jokes in your files that can be completed by inserting local targets.

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