Speakers Need To Know What Comedian Phyllis Diller Can Teach Them

Executive Speech Coach and Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker, Patricia Fripp (Photo Courtesy of Richard Mayer Photography)
Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker, Patricia Fripp (Photo courtesy of Richard Mayer Photography)

John Palmer was the founder of the National Speakers Bureau and before that a well-known band leader. Brian Palmer, his son and now the President of the NSB is known as one of the most creative and ethical professionals in our speaking industry. As part of a recent interview with Brian these were his closing remarks:

“..here’s one of my favorite stories from my dad. He worked as a bandleader with legendary comedienne Phyllis Diller, who was constantly working on her craft. He’d be off on the side of the stage, and she asked him to look at his watch and write down every time there was a laugh, and measure the amount of time between laughs. He believed that speakers should have the same understanding of their presentation flow.

Brian Palmer, CMM - President & Owner, National Speakers Bureau
Brian Palmer, CMM – President & Owner, National Speakers Bureau

To this day, I look at my watch and measure the average length between emotive responses. Top speakers are around two minutes—and if that stretches to 10 or 15 minutes, the likelihood is that person won’t be as well reviewed. Audiences are looking for a quality shared experience. When someone looks around the room and sees people they know and respect nodding, laughing, and reacting, there’s no more powerful driver of engagement.”

Thanks Brian!

Another of my good friends, bestselling humor writer, and humorist Larry Wilde interviewed many of the old-time famous comedians. Phyllis Diller was one of them. I paid to have his book, Great Comedians Talk About Comedy, republished.  Included are interviews with Woody Allen, Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Shelley Berman, Joey Bishop, George Burns, Johnny Carson, Maurice Chevalier, Phyllis Diller, Jimmy Durante, Dick Gregory, Bob Hope, George Jessel, Jerry Lewis, Jerry Seinfeld, Danny Thomas, and Ed Wynn.  greatcomedianscoverIt is available on Fripp.com with a live recording of Larry speaking on his adventures getting these interviews, where he met these top names in comedy, and what they said. To learn more visit

My executive speech coaching clients include corporate leaders, celebrity speakers, well-known sports and media personalities, and sales teams. You can learn many of the public speaking secrets I share with my executive speech coaching clients at my events or through my learning materials.

Executive Speech Coach and Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker, Patricia Fripp is hired by individuals and companies who realize that powerful, persuasive presentation skills give them a competitive edge.