Thursday, February 5, 2015

Humorist Dave Barry tells tall tales about his visits to wild Idaho

Last year Dave Barry was interviewed at the Sun Valley Writer’s Conference. That entertaining interview was shown in November on Dialogue, a half-hour long Idaho Public Television program.

Along with lots of books he used to write a humor column in the Miami Herald, and back in 1988 won the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism (Commentary):

“For his consistently effective use of humor as a device for presenting fresh insights into serious concerns.”

You can learn a lot about writing and giving a humorous speech by first reading his columns and then watching how differently Dave tells those same stories, accompanied by many gestures.

At 3:50 he begins to discuss fishing for mythical trout, which was in a 770-word column titled Fear of fly-casting. He makes arm movements both for fly casting and trying to run in waders. Dave tells about having a Fish and Game warden ask for the license that he had left in the car. At 5:22 he adds a new detail - that guy had a little siren on his head.

At 13:10 he begins to discuss tree climbing, which was in a 920-word column titled Dave meets the Death Tree. He gestures with his forearm to show how that tree was at a 45-degree angle.

At 18:10 he begins to discuss snowmobiling with his sons at Smiley Creek, which was in a 900-word column about Getting Stuck on Snowmobiling. At 18:45 his hands move like he’s grasping a steering wheel. At 20:00 minutes he makes expansive arm gestures to show the banks of a river, and how in a movie a snowmobile wouldn’t drop downward as it tries to cross. Reportedly it gets stuck so deeply that removing it requires waiting for global warming.

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