On the heels of my esteemed colleague Justin Thomson-Glover’s submission, I offer my own thoughts on my time as Bean Soup editor.
1. Stick with the tried and true
It is better to repackage old articles and jokes rather than present an original work that falls flat. As studies have shown, Junior campers will laugh at anything no matter how many times you present it. In fact, they laugh harder the more often you repeat it.
2. Take credit for other people’s work
While it is true that Tom Reed Jr. writes side-splitting “staff meeting” articles, you are the one up there reading it, and THAT is the key to the humor! You may disregard the fact that that article is even funnier when you read it to yourself.
3. “Pagoda” and “Squish” are useful devices
Yes, those two words will elicit laughs every time. First from the Juniors (see Rule #1), and then from the rest of the audience who love to hear Juniors laugh (I call this the “trampoline” effect.) You can’t overuse those words. Seriously. Think about it. Pagoda. Squish. Pagoda-oda. Squish. Knish. Squish again. See? You are laughing right now.
4. Choose your co-editors wisely
My first co-editor was Geoff Morrell, who went on to become a reporter for ABC and Pentagon Press Secretary. If you watch one of Geoff’s press conferences today, you would have no idea how much he wanted to push the bounds of decency in Bean Soup. Karl See was fantastic. His oft-used phrasing “he was meaner than a really, really, REALLY mean guy” still doubles me over. And Justin Thomson-Glover was unbelievable, especially with his song parodies. It also didn’t hurt that he had a style and manner that generated laughs no matter what he was reading. In fact, he once read the Wentworth Yellow Pages for a full hour to the howls and laughter of the audience. That’s a tough trick to top. In sum, working with these talented folks inspired me each and every week.
5. Identify staff members who are good sports:
If I wasn’t able to poke fun at Charlie Malcolm (“Kim have you seen my keys?), Larry Davis, Rob Grabill, Robert Naylor (“Come here, Mr. Fly!”) and others, I don’t know how much material I could have generated. These people were good sports about having their names read aloud in a humorous, not so factually based light.
I am sure there is much more I could add, but best to quit while I am behind. I can honestly say that I enjoyed my six years as editor as much as anything I did at Pemi, and it was a great honor and privilege to take my (wobbly) seat each Monday evening. I will always cherish the memories.
Were you at Pemi during the 1990’s? If you are interested in receiving one issue or more from 1990-1999, please let me know. I will be happy to send you any given issue or issues in PDF form. You may contact me at alumni. Stay tuned for future releases.
~Nikki Wilkinson Tropeano