I have my viva (thesis defence for those in the States) coming up far sooner than I would like. (Then again, wasn't it me who begged and pleaded with the examiners to squeeze in a pre-Xmas viva so it wasn't looming over the holidays...)
Anyway, so I have been hunting down advice on the internet for how to manage the damn thing...
This is the best I have come across
Things to Say and Do Guaranteed to
Spice up Your Thesis and Dissertation Defenses
Begin the defense by charging a cover and checking for ID.
Charge a two-drink minimum.
Begin with "Ladies and Gentlemen, please rise for the singing of our National Anthem."
Follow that with a joke that starts with "Which reminds me of a story - A Black guy, a Chinese guy, and a Jew walked into a bar..."
Bring coffee and charge 25 cents a cup.
"Charge the mound" when a professor beans you with a high fast question.
Describe parts of your dissertation using interpretive dance.
Lead your committee members in a Wave.
Break the tension at appropriate moments with a sing-a-long.
Answer tough queries with "You call THAT a question? How'd you ever get to be a professor?"
Have bodyguards outside the room to discourage attendance of certain professors.
Present your defense using puppets.
Before you begin your presentation, sell T-shirts to recoup the cost of copying, binding, etc.
In addition, pass a collection basket.
Answer complex issues in mime.
Use the ocassion to hold a Tupperware party.
Have bikini-clad models in charge of changing your overheads.
At approximately the mid-point of your defense bring out maracas and shout "Everybody rumba!!"
Explain nonsignificant findings with "It would have worked if it weren't for those f*%ing kids."
Refuse to answer tough questions "in protest of our government's systematic and brutal opression of minorities."
Offer door prizes and conduct a raffle.
Ask professors to "Please phrase your question in the form of an answer."
Interrupt every 15 minutes with the announcement "And now, a word from our sponsor."
Present critical parts of your defense in iambic pentameter.
In your announcement, inform your committee that it will be a black tie affair.
Hire the Goodyear Blimp to circle the building.
Announce to your committee that "There will be a short quiz after my presentation."
Bring your pet boa.
Bring snacks and start a food fight.
Slap your committee chair with a glove and challenge him to a duel.
Arrange for a halftime show.
Bring a big foam hand that says "I'm #1."
Pass out souvenier matchbooks.
Hang a pinata over the table and hire a strolling mariachi band.
Make each professor remove an item of clothing for each question asked.
Use a Greek Chorus to highlight important points.
When necessary, say "I'm sorry Professor Smith, I didn't say 'SIMON SAYS any questions?'. You're out."
Dress in top hat and tails.
Hold a pre-defense pep rally, complete with cheerleaders, pep band, and a bonfire.
If you sense that things are not going well, threaten to detonate a small nuclear device in the room.
Show slides of your last vacation.
Put your overheads on a film strip. Designate a professor to be in charge of turning the strip when the tape recording beeps.
If members of the committee begin to argue among themselves announce: "OK, everybody - heads down on the desk until you show me you can behave."
When in trouble, begin speaking in tongues.
Answer every question with a question.
Hand out 3-D glasses.
Announce credits at the end. Include a "key grip" and a "best boy."
Make a practice of replying, "Sure, I could answer that, but then I'd have to kill you."
Ask a friend and conspirator to attend and ask the first question. Draw a blank-loaded gun and "shoot" him. Have him make a great scene of dying. Be sure to include fake blood. Turn to your committee and ask "Other questions?"
Wear clown makeup, a clown wig, clown shoes, a clown nose, and nothing else.
Install "APPLAUSE" and "LAUGHTER" signs.
Use a TelePromTer
Alter the clocks in the room and begin your defense 15 minutes before anyone arrives.