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In Print: On News Stands Now

DICK KENDALL IS A FUNNY GUY

by Tumbleweed Smith

When Dick Kendall of Pearland was six years old, he memorized a Phil Harris skit he heard on the radio and recited it for anybody who would listen to it. "My grandfather loved to hear me do that thing," says Dick.

In high school he listened to the Bob Hope and Red Skelton radio shows and took notes. "There was one show called CAN YOU TOP THIS. People would send in jokes and one guy would tell a joke that was sent in and a panel would tell jokes on the same subject. That was fascinating to me. They had a laugh meter to see which joke got the most laughs. I tried to figure out why the winning jokes were funny."

His senior year in high school he lip-synched Spike Jones's version of THE MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE. "The audience just fell apart," says Dick. "It was the most fun I ever had."

He spoke at a Baptist Camp in New Mexico the summer after graduating from high school. Conditions were pretty primitive because it was a new camp. He had planned to use a memorized piece, but instead, made funny remarks about the camp and didn't use the memorized stuff. "That was when I realized I could do humor and make people laugh. That was kind of my way to relate to people. By being funny."

Dick's grandfather was a preacher and used humor in the pulpit. Dick thought he would be a preacher, too. He went to Baylor and majored in Philosophy. "I always liked funny professors."

He got on stage a couple of times in Baylor and ran for cheerleader, barely missing a spot on the squad. His use of humor in campaign speeches got him elected vice president of the freshman class.

Dick went to work at the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce after Baylor, then went into the Air force. He entered a couple of military talent shows but didn't do well. He went back to chamber work after the service, then got into banking and now owns a bank marketing company. He conducts seminars all over the country. "You can sure keep people's attention if you make them laugh now and then." In his spare time he does humor on cruise ships. It's all clean. He worked in comedy clubs for years. He has written a best selling business book (NOBODY TOLD ME I'D HAVE TO SELL). Dick has traveled the world. In a book store in Brazil, he ran across the Portuguese language version of his book and showed the clerks his drivers license. They were impressed.

He says most of his inspiration comes to him in the shower. "I got 5 minutes of my best humor in one 30 minute shower. The water got cold."

Humor just comes to him. "When I'm looking for new material, I notice things. I saw an Academy Store full of exercise equipment. It had an escalator to the second floor. I saw some tern birds in California. Two terns walking along and you have a right tern and a left tern. I was in the Hershey Hotel once and the guy behind the desk told me where the bar was. I said is that the Hershey Bar? "

Dick started doing comedy when he was 49 years old. That was nearly 20 years ago.

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