Observational Humor — Case Study 160

February 2nd, 2018
Here is another Humor Monologue delivered at the end of a Toastmasters meeting.
THE SET-UP:  What happened and what was said during the meeting before the monologue was delivered.
1. The Toastmasters Club was having a Speech-A-Thon featuring eight  speakers.
2. Lorrie is a member of six clubs.
3. Kevin received an award at the start of the meeting.
4. A speaker told a story about someone who was wanting to retire but couldn’t afford a cup of coffee.
5. A speaker said she used to be embarrassed when telling people her name.  She would cover her mouth with her hand when saying her name.
6. A speaker works as a trainer at his gym. He was wearing a short-sleeve shirt which tightly fit his gym body.
7. A speaker used the cliché: “When you have a problem, don’t throw good money at it.”
I was thrilled Last week when I heard tonight’s theme. I called all my friends and told them we were having a Speech-A-Thong. And every one of them was excited…until they found out Al and I were speaking.
(Our trigger is a sound-alike which is followed with a tag using self-deprecation.)
Lorrie is an unusual member. When the meeting is over, unlike most of us who go home, Lori goes to her next meeting.
Would George please come to the lectern. Five years ago George and I competed in the District level International Speech Competition. In recognition of that event I have a special award to present…it reads, “George Gilbert beat John Kinde at the District 33 International Speech Contest.”
(I had taken an old award and covered the engraving with a sticker, to change the words. And I waited for the right time [two months] to give it to George.  A call-back and self-deprecation.)
Today my accountant notified me that I can finally afford a Starbucks coffee.  I can finally retire.
By the way my name is John (I waved my hand over my mouth so that the audience could not hear me say my name.) Actually, ever since I changed it, I like my name.  When I joined the military I changed my name to John. Before I changed it, my name was Latrine.
(Call-back. Name play. Self-deprecation.)
Arvin is wearing a muscle shirt. Actually, my shirt is a muscle shirt too…if Arvin was wearing it.
If the club board ever announced that I was a problem member of the club, I would encourage you to throw good money after me.
(Twist a cliché.)
 After my monologue, a member said: “I have a new announcement to make.”  The President asked: “A nude announcement?” I immediately called out: “Bring back the thong.”

(I don’t normally recommend just shouting out your humor.  That style of delivery gets old quick. But some jokes are worth the shout.  In this case, it got a huge laugh, and it was worth the risk. But I won’t do that again anytime soon. Maybe after 50 more monologues. However, in this case it made for perfect bookends for the monologue.)<

Observational Humor — Case Study #159

November 5th, 2017

Here is another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a TM meeting.

The Set-up (what happened and what was said during the meeting before the monologue was delivered.)

  1. George said that I had the style of Jack Benny.
  2. The name of the club is Pro Toastmasters.
  3. Tim mentioned that he used to live in North Las Vegas, and pointed North.  Then he realized that he had pointed East and corrected himself by pointing North.
  4. A speaker referred to diseases which she made up, by attaching an “itis” to the end of a word.
  5. A speaker said that a certain activity would make you prettier
  6. Clubs used to do invocations to open the meetings.
  7. A speaker said that he was a runner.
  8. Tim gave a speech and several people commented that they liked the way he exposed his emotions during the talk.
  9. Our meeting location has a guard desk at the entrance.
  10. A speaker talked about doing something difficult by taking a deep breath and then counting to three. And then adding; I Guarantee You Won’t Regret it.
  11. A speaker said she has two phones in her shower.

The Monologue


(In my best Jack Benny style, which isn’t great, I placed my hand on my cheek and did a slow glance to my left.)

You had many choices tonight and thank you for coming here.  In fact you had several choices of TM clubs.  You have clubs that focus on politics, on guns, on health care.  One of the activist clubs is called Protest Masters.

(Protest Masters isn’t a real club, but it has a sound-alike connection with our club Pro Toastmasters.)

Tonight I realized that Tim knows sign language.   He was telling us that he lived in North Las Vegas.

I noticed that, in his pointing gesture trying to illustrate North, he showed his confusion.  So I pointed in one direction and then in another.)

I have Humoritis.  It makes me prettier.  Can you tell?

(Makes the odd connection of Humor to Pretty.  And then I added a tag line.)

It seems to me that we still need invocations.  We will need prayer as long as we have Table Topics.

(Callback to prayer in the meeting and linking it to the challenge of Table Topics.)

I am a runner.  But since I’m in the Witness Protection Program, part of my disguise is a walker.

(Plays with the word WALKER in contrast to RUNNER.)

Tim, I agreed with the evaluator comments. My favorite part of your speech was where you exposed yourself.

(Played with the double meaning of EXPOSE.)

Although it’s not on the agenda, at the end of the meeting we are all going to streak the guard desk.

First we’ll take a deep breath and count to three.  I guarantee you won’t regret it.  And as usual, the guests always go first.

(This tied the EXPOSE reference to the guard desk which everybody saw when they arrived for the meeting.  I then did a call back with deep breath and count to three.  And then set the rule that guests go first, implying that we always do it in that order.  And suggesting that members will go after the guests.  Yeah sure.  The final tag line got a huge laugh.)

I have two phones in my shower.  A land line in case I fall in the shower.  And a video phone in case I get a call from a heavy breather.  (Applied reasons for my two phones, the first one logical.  The second one absurd.)

Observational Humor — Case Study #158

November 4th, 2017

It has been awhile since I published an Observational Humor monologue.  Here’s one I presented at the Las Vegas NSA chapter meeting in October 2017.


To help you understand the jokes, here is what happened and what was said during the meeting, before the monologue was presented. With an Observational joke, You had to be there.  This set-up information will give you a small touch of what it was like to be there.

  1. Mike Rayburn shared advice he got from a comedy entertainer.  Never open your set or program with “How is everybody doing today?”  That is an irrelevant question and a weak opening line.
  2. Marvelous Marv, a high-energy entertainer, Introduced me as a Humorist.
  3. Featured speaker, Ed Scannell, made a point with  a drawing that looked like an old lady or a young lady, depending how you looked at it.
  4. In his role as emcee, Marv did a costume change during the meeting, changing coats.
  5. Marilyn Sherman presented a session on how to write a book in 2 weeks. One of her resources was 48HourBooks.com.
  6.  Both Ed and Marilyn had books available at the back of the room to support their high-content programs.
  7. Marilyn showed us one of her husband’s books on the subject of wine.  He is no longer in the wine business and they have boxes of wine books in their store room.   She offers free wine books to members of her audiences, if they buy one of her books.
  8. Marv told a cat joke.  “If you throw a cat out a car window do you have kitty litter?”


How is everybody doing today?

(A great opener. A callback to something said earlier. When a speaker says don’t do this,  I will search for a funny way to do it.  In this case it was perfect as an opening line.  It took the audience a beat to realize it was a joke, but they did catch on and we had a big laugh.  I was sure that this was a time-released joke, one that will get a delayed response.  As such I needed for everyone to hear the line.  When I first stood up, people were talking about something that had been said, which was not related to my opening line.  So I waited 5-10 seconds until I had their attention.)

When I was introduced as a Humorist, I know many of you were thinking: “This guy is going to be funny?  Are you kidding?”  Sure I don’t look funny.  I’m in the witness protection program.

(I was addressing the obvious. That I don’t look funny.  I’m saying what everybody was thinking, acknowledging the elephant in the room, which is a good way to open.  This was even more important because our emcee was so dynamic, and that provided a contrast to my low-energy style.  And self-deprecation is a safe and funny route to getting a laugh.

But you could have figured out that I would be funny.   When I turn my head to the right I look like a Humorist.  When I turn my head to the left, look like an old lady.

(A call back to Ed Scannel’s old/young lady drawing.)

Did you notice that Marvelous Marv changed coats during the program?  If not you probably also didn’t notice that I also had a costume change during the program.  When I was told that I would be delivering the wrap up humor at the end of the meeting, I had to change my underwear. 

(The set-up was magnified by the superiority theory of humor, where the listener feels superior if they get the joke.  Most of the audience remembered the coat change earlier in the meeting. That made it more likely that they would feel they were part of the experience, take ownership of the joke, and feel it was funnier.  The joke trigger of absurdity is also in play, suggesting that my nerves would require a change of underwear.  And parallel construction which might suggest that one change of clothes mandates another, made the punchline even stronger.)

I’m working on my first book.  I’m using the web site: 35YearBooks.com

(A callback with a switch which implied that I’ve been working on a book for a long time.  The truth is funny, I’ve written over 2000 pages in the past 35 years, but I haven’t published.  That leads us to the “Me too” experience.  A shared common experience is funny.  Once again parallel construction.  My resource web site had a twist, but was the same in structure. I’m not making fast progress on my book and admitting that to the audience is self-deprecation.)

I won’t have any books at the back of the room, but I will be selling coffins with USB Bar Codes for speakers who die with their book still inside them.

(Twisting a cliché into a joke.  Don’t die with your book still inside you.)

My book will be on humor skills.  By the time I get around to publishing it, I won’t be funny any more.  So the book will be free if you buy one of Marilyn’s  books.  

(Parallel construction with Marilyn’s story.)

I heard a joke. If you throw a cat out the car window, do you have kitty litter?  No.  Not unless you do it NINE times.

(Marv’s joke used the technique of “the set-up question is the punchline.”  It’s essentially a joke without a clearly defined punchline.  The audience heard the question.  The audience awaits the answer.  When none is provided,  the expectation builds tension.  They think Oh I get it, and they fill in the blank themselves. The superiority theory of humor kicks in as the quicker audience members get the joke.  Later, I then grabbed the opportunity to add a punchline, although none was needed, and by doing that to break the tension.  I answered the question by playing with a cliché.   A cat has nine lives.

Remember that you take Observational Humor notes not for the purpose of giving a monologue.  You do it to find that gem, a single joke, that will breathe fresh air into your talk.  Humor is a numbers game. Double the number of jokes you write and the one joke you will use will be twice as funny.


Observational Humor — Case Study #157

June 28th, 2017

Visit Bala’s Indian Humor Blog for a new Observational Humor post.  He is very talented and frequently posts monologues.  The one he posted today is excellent.

Observational Humor — Case Study #156

June 24th, 2017

It’s time for an Observational Humor monologue presented at at the end of a Toastmasters meeting.

THE SET-UP (Providing what happened during the meeting to help you make sense of the jokes.)

1. We had several guests who were young, intelligent and good looking.

2. A guest named Pedi looked like a sophisticated Spanish model with long hair.

3. A speaker said that TM training can teach you sales skills, how to get a date, and how to talk your way out of a traffic ticket.

4. Toastmasters was founded by Ralph Smedley.

5. A guest named Kevin used his cell phone to provide extra light for me after I said that the lights were too dim for me to read my notes.

6. The Toastmaster of the evening made up a speaker introduction because the speaker failed to provide a written introduction.


If our guests join our club tonight they will lower our average age, increase our average intelligence, and make us a better looking club.

(This is a self-deprecation joke. It implies that our club members are older than our guests. Less intelligent. Less good looking. Plus it flatters the guests. I would us these comments only if they had a ring of truth, so that the remarks didn’t sound patronizing.)

I don’t know much about Pedi, but I’m sure that he drives a car with soft Corinthian leather.

(Implies that he had the sophisticated look of Ricardo Mantalban. The line got a big laugh.)

Information for our guests, TM training can teach you how to get a date with a traffic cop.

You may have noticed that three people here are known by their initials: JR, TJ and JR. And I am JK.

We encourage people to go by their initials because when we print the agendas it uses less ink.

As a result of tonight’s performance, Melanie receives the Smedley Award for best Toastmaster of the Evening. JR receives the award for best General Evaluator, And the Smedley award for best lighting director goes to Kevin.

(This got a much bigger laugh than I expected. The rule-of-three probably helped. And the fact that a guest stepped in to provide lighting for a speaker was unusual enough to make it a memorable beat.)

(I suggested a couple of opening comments for a speaker who forgot to bring a written, prepared speaker introduction.

1. I remembered to bring my written introduction, but I forgot to give it to the Toastmaster. So I’ll read it to you now: The next speaker needs no introduction.

2. I must say, that was the best introduction I never wrote.)

Observational Humor — Case Study #155

June 24th, 2017

It’s time for an Observational Humor monologue presented at at the end of an NSA chapter meeting.

THE SET-UP (Providing what happened during the meeting to help you make sense of the jokes.)

1. The majority of the speakers for the meeting had names starting with J and three of them were named John. The featured speaker, Lois Creamer, was from out of town.

2. The meeting was held on Mother’s Day weekend. The Chapter encouraged people to bring their Mothers to the meeting.

3. In the past, Judy Moreo had introduced herself as OREO with an M in front of it.

4. The chapter President was John Getter. The President Elect was Amber De La Garza.

5. Judy Moreo mentioned the use of “screamers” who meet celebrities at the airport, screaming and shouting, “Oh look! It’s Judy Moreo.”


You may be wondering how you get a speaking slot for one of our meetings. If you look at the program, it’s obvious. Judi Moreo opened, and she was great. Other speaking parts on the program went to John Getter, John Polish, John Kinde. You need a name that starts with a J…And bonus points if your name is John. And Lois Creamer…If your name doesn’t start with a J…you have to be from out of town.

And what a great idea…bring your Mother on Mother’s Day. I should have brought my Mom. Her name is June…and she’s from out of town. She could have been on the program. She’ll be upset that I didn’t bring her.

Speaking at next month’s program will be Amber De La Garza, Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin, an Abe Lincoln impersonator, and me. For the next 12 months I’m moving out of town and I’m changing my name to Alice.

Again, my name is John Kinde. That’s like OREO…with KINDE in front of it…and the OREO is silent. I flew to an engagement last month and when I arrived at the airport, the screamers were waiting fof me. They started shouting, “Oh look, it’s John Kinde Oreo.”

Las Vegas–the Best City

May 24th, 2017

Ten Reasons Why Las Vegas is the Best City in the Country

1. Everyone loves Las Vegas weather. You can relax in a sauna, or you can come inside and enjoy the air conditioning.

2. You can spend an entire three-day weekend in Las Vegas and never know for sure if it’s day or night.

3. Las Vegas is the best place in the country to pay $50 while waiting for a free beer.

4. Rainstorms are brief, but local TV stations know exactly where to go to capture the flash flooding.

5. Thanks to AARP members, casinos can pay their bills between the weekends.

6. You are unlikely to experience crime in Las Vegas unless you count the Resort Fee on your hotel bill.

7. Casinos in Las Vegas are outnumbered by churches and the churches are outnumbered by the buffets.

8. If you go five miles off the Strip, you’ll discover schools, libraries, grocery stores, and real people who actually LIVE in Las Vegas.

9. You can identify the old timers in Las Vegas. They are the ones reminiscing about the good-old- days when parking was free.

10. When you leave Las Vegas you will want to return to visit your money.

The Paul Lynde Show

April 21st, 2017

The Paul Lynde Show is playing afternoons at Bally’s Las Vegas. It’s a fun show and I recommend it.  Impersonator Michael Arington plays Lynde in a show which is mostly biographical. Arington has the voice and the gestures mastered. He brings Lynde back to life, sharing perspectives on how society has changed during the last 35 years. And we get a performer’s perspective on the challenges of being a success in show business. One of my favorite segment themes showed us what it would be like if Lynde had auditioned for parts in famous movies, playing well-known scenes seasoned with Lynde’s campy style: Jaws, Deliverance, The Graduate, Love Story, and more. He expanded a Titanic scene, bringing an audience member to play a scene on stage with him. Well connected with the audience, he engaged several audience members in the show, and kept the show fresh with a number of callbacks resulting from his chatting with the audience. We shared his successes in life, Bye Bye Birdie, Bewitched, Hollywood squares…and his challenges and career low points. One-liners from his center-square performances on Hollywood Squares were sprinkled throughout the show. Never a lack of laughs. The show had the added professional touch of a keyboard player, a bass player, and a drummer. Bally’s is located on the corner of Flamingo and LV Boulevard.  This is a three-minute synopsis of a 75 minute show. Take a friend. You will enjoy yourself. Don’t miss it.

District 60 Humorous Speech Contest

November 23rd, 2016

Kenneth Cheung, DTM, posted an insightful article about the creativity of the nine contestants of the District 60 Humorous Speech Contest.  The finalists reflect on how they turned ordinary experiences unto extraordinarily funny speeches.


Observational Humor — Case Study #153

November 15th, 2016

Here is another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting. We will provide you with the set-up, the joke, and a comment on what made the joke work.

THE SET-UP (To help you understand the context of the jokes, we will share with you what happened and what was said during the meeting, before the monologue was delivered.)

1. Our NSA Chapter President gave a speech introducing himself to the chapter while also sharing an inspirational message. He said the title of his talk was, “Let’s talk about John Getter.”

2. The President’s speech included photographs from his childhood. “I started out as a child.” He told us he played the violin, but that did not qualify him to be in the marching band.

3. Our featured speaker was Mike Staver. He suggested when we try to catch fish we go fishing…so when we try to catch a cow, why don’t we go cowing?

4. A speaker noted that the meeting room was set up nicely. He pointed out that there were several speakers hanging from the ceiling.

5. Members were reminded to check in with Rocky first thing in the morning.

6. We had a guest from Switzerland. He was introduced as the “person who came the furthest.”

7. Laura gave a workshop-style program. Half-way through the program she said it was time to debrief.

8. Our featured speaker told of being on a weightlessness-training aircraft. When they went into wrightless mode, most trainees either giggled or they lost their lunch.


We were concerned about whether we would have time to do my meeting wrap up. Next month I will be sitting in the front row instead of the back row. That should save us about 10 minutes.

And now…let’s talk about John Kinde.

I started out as a child. (I showed a drawing of a stick figure character. I always have three types of pens; ball point, magic marker, and a heavier felt marker. That allows me to create visuals and speaking notes.)

In middle-school I played the violin (Drawing of a stick-figure orchestra.)

Then I joined the marching band. (stick figure marching band with one person playing the violin.)

On weekends we went cowing. (Stick figure of man with fishing pole with a cow on the hook.)

I’m moving slow today. Part of that is due to the walker. However, most of it is me.

But being slow opens new career opportunities to me. I go a job at Madame Tussaud’s wax museum. I was Mr Rogers. They told me I was almost life like. (Self-deprecation.)

But enough about me.

(Call-back phrase,)

I know that an audience at a stimulating meeting like this will have some questions.

I’ll give you the answer first and then share the question. (This is a set up for using the answer-man or Carnack format as a vehicle for humor.)

The answer is: Sneaking past Rocky before the meeting starts.

And the question is: How do you become a speaker hanging from the ceiling?


The answer is: Visit the NSA chapter in Geneva Switzerland.

The question is: How do you get recognized as the person who came the furthest?


The answer is: I thought… I’m glad I didn’t wear boxers today.

The question is: What crossed your mind when Laura said, We are now going to debrief.

(Playing with double-word meaning.)


The answer is: It’s when you are watching John Kinde’s humor.

The question is: What are you doing when half the people around you are giggling. And the other half are throwing up. (Self-deprecation.)