Bill Hicks – It’s Just a Ride

Level: C1-C2

Topic: Meaning of Life (!), Humanity, US Comedy

Bill Hicks is one of my all-time favourite comedians.  If asked who I would most like to have a dinner party with (one of those typical TEFL activities), Bill Hicks would definitely be in there.  He most likely wouldn’t like being raised from the dead to attend my social event but I would love to get his take on how the world has progressed since we lost him at the very early age of 33 in 1994.

This video offers some wise words on how we can work to change the world.

Watch the video and answer these questions:

1)  According to Bill what is the world like?

2)  What to we do with the people who remember, ‘the good guys’?

3)  What do the eyes of fear want us to do?

4)  How can we change the world?

Transcript:

“The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly colored, and it’s very loud, and it’s fun for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question, “Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?” And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, “Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.” And we … kill those people! “Shut him up! We’ve got a lot invested in this ride, shut him up! Look at my furrows of worry, look at my big bank account, and my family. This has to be real.” It’s just a ride. But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok … But it doesn’t matter, because it’s just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. A choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your door, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defense each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.”

Transcript:

“The world is like a ride in an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. The ride goes up and down, around and around, it has thrills and chills, and it’s very brightly colored, and it’s very loud, and it’s fun for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question, “Hey, is this real, or is this just a ride?” And other people have remembered, and they come back to us and say, “Hey, don’t worry; don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.” But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that?  And let the demons run amok … But it doesn’t matter, because… it’s just a ride. And we can change it any time we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. A choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your door, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and define each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.”

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Questions Forms – Monty Python – The Bridge Keeper

Level: Intermediate B1+

Age: Teens, Adults

Language aim: Question formation

Themes: Comedy

Monty Python are one of the most famous (if not the most famous!) English comedy collectives ever and rank among my top comedians.  I try and use comedy clips whenever I can as British humour is an extremely important part of British national identity.

I have used the following video clip with teenage classes and many students found it amusing.  The surrealist nature of Monty Python jokes can be tricky and sometimes requires a bit of explaining which may reduce the comedy value.  I used this clip when reviewing question forms and specifically in lessons where I’ve wanted the students to prepare their own quiz questions.

If students are willing they can act out their own Monty Python Bridge of Death scene with questions of their own choice.

 

Do or Die – Meteor

Level: Intermediate B1+

Age: Teens & Adults

Language aim: Conditionals

Themes: Survival

My teenage classes love the Do or Die episodes.  You can play them without a worksheet and ask questions – I’ve prepared some activities to go with this episode.  I normally stop the video after the options and get the students to discuss then write their final decision (A, B or C) on mini white boards to find out who would survive.

meteorite

A meteor or meteorite is a fragment of rock or iron from outer space, usually a meteoroid or asteroid, which survives passage through the atmosphere as a meteor to impact the surface of the Earth. Meteorites are believed to originate in the asteroid belt between the planets of Mars and Jupiter. A meteorite may range in size from less than a gram to more than 60 tons.

When the path of these space rocks intersects with Earth’s orbit, the meteoroid enters the atmosphere at high velocity causing the luminous phenomena we call a meteor or shooting star.

What would you do in the event of a meteorite hitting your home town?

Questions:

  1. How many tons of rock hit earth every day? (1 ton = 907kg)
  1. In which country does the morning begin?
  1. What do scientists call the explosion? And whatdoes it generate?
  1. What is the speed of the meteor?
  1. How much glass is shattered?
  1. When did the giant meteor air-burst hit the Siberian forest in Russia?
  1. How many building were damaged in this particular case?
  1. How many people were injured?

Did you make the right choice!?

Glossary                                                       

Guillotine              Hurtle             Gutter            Detonate         Kerb

  1.  = move or cause to move at a great speed, typically in a wildly

uncontrolled manner.

  1.  = explode or cause to explode.
  2.  = an apparatus designed for carrying out executions by beheading.
  3.                           = a stone or concrete edging to a street or path.
  4.  = a shallow trough | trɒf | typically fixed beneath the edge of a

roof for carrying off rainwater.

Complete the sentences with words from the glossary:

  1. Two other bombs failed to                                                    .
  2. A runaway car                                       towards them.
  3. We have to unblock the  , it’s full of leaves.
  4. The French                                   dates back to 1789.
  5. I tripped over the                                walking to school.

Expressions

  Cut someone/something to ribbons

  1. Lit. to cut or slice someone severely.

He broke a mirror and the glass cut his hand to ribbons.

  1. Fig. to criticize someone severely.

The critics just cut her acting to ribbons!

   Dodge a bullet 

If someone has dodged a bullet, they have successfully avoided a very serious problem.

The people in this city are lucky; they dodged a 12,000 ton bullet shot from outer space.

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