Observational Humor — Case Study #129

December 10th, 2014

Here’s another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of  a meeting. In the text that follows, we will look at the set-up for the jokes.

The  monologue is provided with a short comment on what made each joke tick.

THE SET-UP (What happened and what was said during the meeting,
before the monologue was delivered.)

1. My name on the agenda was misspelled Kindy instead of Kinde.

2. There is a freeway exit sign between Las Vegas and Los Angeles
named ZZYZX Road.

3. Bill gave a speech on what he learned from three marriages.

4. A speaker talked about right/left brain, saying he was lucky to be
using half his brain.

5. A speaker told us his first crush on a girl was when he was three
years old.

6. I have a long history with three Toastmasters in the audience; Bobby,
Jens, and Bill.

7. Jens told us of a club that met four Mondays a month, but he
mis-spoke and said four Mondays a week.

8. Our club meets at Pololu Robotics.

9. Bill shared family photos with us from his first and second marriage.
The first marriage photo was in Black and White. The second marriage
photo was in color.

10. Bobby told a story about giving advice to someone with pesonal
problems. He told him, “Get a job.”


You’ll notice on the agenda my name is misspelled. It’s actually
spelled Kindzzyzx.
(Like most customized humor, this would be funny to someone who had
frequently driven past the ZZYZX Road sign. To someone who had not,
the joke would not be funny. Also, note that the response is quite large
for a small audience of only nine people.)

Bill, I’d like to refer you to a book I’ve written. Everything I know
about Women. It’s a blank book. I don’t know everything about
(This comes from a blank-book title that I saw on the internet, topped
with the common knowledge that nobody knows everything about

In fact a lot of people think I know a lot about humor. The truth is I’m a half wit.
(Combined the half-brain comment with half wit. Self-deprecation.)

My first crush on a girl I was ten years old. Imagine that.
(The truth. Funny by comparison to three years old.)

I go way back with Jens. Some of my longest acquaintances are here tonight; Bobby, Jens, and Bill.
(A set up for jokes about three specific people.)

I knew Jens when we belonged to a club in Omaha. And we met four Mondays a week.
(Applied a mis-statement to a specific club.)

Bill, you realize we are meeting at Pololu Robotics. They can make you the perfect wife. Have you noticed Ryan just got married recently to Andrea. She’s a perfect wife. There is a reason for that.

The company used to be called Stepford Robotics.
(Adding a joke to the theme. An efficient way to build humor. The
set-up is already provided.)

We learned, thanks to Bill, that color film was invented between his first
and second marriage.
(A great connection between two photographs. I assumed that the
audience would remember that the first photo was B&W and the second photo was in color. A strong line.)

Years ago Bobby said, “I try to use humor but nobody laughs at me. It just isn’t working. What can you suggest?” I looked at him and said, “Get a job.”
(A good call back. Not a huge response, but got a laugh.)

New Joke Contest — Comedy Across the Globe

December 1st, 2014

The theme for December’s joke contest is Comedy Across the Globe.

Pick a country, a state, or a city and tell us what makes its comedy unique. It’s all for fun and isn’t meant to be a factual research study. Just put on your creative hat and make something up!

Here are five examples:

North Korean Comedy. For every joke told, the comic gets one year in a re-education camp.

Canadian Comedy. The set ups are in English. The punch lines are in French. Nobody gets the jokes but they laugh anyway because they are polite.

Japanese Comedy. The night clubs are packed because audiences have a Yen for comedy.

Russian Comedy. Putin wins Last Comic Standing. The biggest laugh comes when he takes his shirt off.

Las Vegas Comedy.  Take my money…please!  Hey, give me my money back.  I was just joking!

Your challenge is to write as many lines as you can. Then select your three best lines and submit them for our Top Three recognition. If you submit more than three lines, the extra submissions will be eligible for Honorable Mention recognition. Submit your entries to HumorPowerTips@HumorPower.com by December 14, 2014.

The Many Vehicles of Pippin

November 30th, 2014

Last night, I attended the performance of Pippin at The Smith Center in Las Vegas. The subtitle for the musical could have been Son of Charlemagne meets Cirque du Soleil. I attended with my occasional show buddy, Patricia Fripp. Enjoying the show with a friend gave us the opportunity to share our feelings of, “What was that all about?”  We talked about the show “over coffee,” or more accurately, over a seafood dinner.

As the curtain dropped, it left the audience to explore hidden meanings. It was the sort of musical which is perfect for a theater-appreciation class. Was it about the meaning of life, coming of age, breaking the rules, happiness, or other philosophical questions left disguised as the lights went out?

What impressed me about Pippin was the variety of vehicles that were used to carry the message and entertainment:

- Acting
- Dancing
- Singing
- Humor
- Gymnastics
- Acrobatics
- Juggling
- Magic
- Metaphors

Especially impressive were the talents of the lead actor playing Pippin, Kyle Dean Massey. A gifted actor, singer, dancer, and athlete with a Chippendale body.

If the production comes touring in your city, enjoy the show. And discuss it with friends over coffee after the performance.

Observational Humor — Case Study #128

November 24th, 2014

Here is another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting.  It was a small audience, only nine people, but good Observational Humor plays big even with a small audience. First, we’ll take a look at the set-up for the jokes. Then we will examine the jokes and look at what made the jokes funny.

THE SET-UP.  What happened and what was said during the meeting before the monologue was delivered.

1. A speaker shared two ways of waking up in the morning: – GOOD MORNING God. – GOOD GOD it’s morning.

2. A speaker meant to say BETTER but said GOODER.

3. A speaker said we had TONS of reasons to stay in Toastmasters.

4. A frequent guest, Giget Swanson, was referred to as a repeat offender.

5. Giget announced that she was starting a new club.

6. A speaker accidentally referred to Giget as Ginger.

7. The word of the day was Dipsomaniac.

8. A speaker told the joke about a child digging thru a pile of manure saying “I know there’s a pony in here somewhere.”

9. A speaker talked about The Path to Inner Peace.

10. Bobby joked about hanging around an old friend. “And the nice thing was that he was still living.”

11. Carolyn arrived at the meeting late.

12. We had a guest named Gene.

13. Member Ryan Mulligan was present.

14. During a speaker evaluation, Jens recommended that the speaker focus on speaking more loudly.

15. A speaker joked if you had an average income, you would be richer than half the country.


Good God it’s Kinde. (A call back and self-deprecation.)

They considered having someone else to do the Observational Humor, but I was the gooder choice. (A call back to a mis-use of a word.)

This is a special club. Great guests. Great members. A ton of people here. (Turning TON into a running gag.)

A frequent guest is Giget. She was defined as a repeat offender. (This was mainly a set up. But it got a laugh as a call back.)

She’s starting a new club. That’s part of what is required of you when you are a repeat offender. She is part of the witness protection program, where her name is Ginger. (Strong call back of mis-use of name. Ginger was an unexpected topper. Big laugh.)

Gidget is a great cook. She invited me for dinner and I was so excited because she is a dipsomaniac…someone who never needs Dipso Bismol. (Just saying the word of the day got a good laugh, and made the Dipso Bismol a topper. Playing with sound-alike words: Pepto and Dipso.)

I went over to her house. We sat there eating dinner, watching Jeopardy. You haven’t lived until you’ve had a Swanson’s TV Dinner. (Very big laugh. An unexpected connection.)

And what I like about Giget, when she comes to the meeting she is always saying “I know there’s a pony in here somewhere.” (Good call back of phrase. Also, it is an implied punch line. Self-deprecation of club, implied that one has to dig to find something of value at the meeting.)

As a cook, I know whenever I go to her house it’s a path to dinner peas. (A spoonerism. I wasn’t sure that this joke would work. The new words come fast, and then they’re gone. But the twist on words got a good laugh.)

And she’s comfortable in this club because as a cook she likes being around hams and turkeys. (Remember self-deprecation jokes can poke fun at you, or a group to which you belong.)

So it’s great having Giget here. It adds a lot to the meeting. We have lots of wonderful people. (Transition.)

Bobby Williams. A good guy and he’s still living. (Understatement and a call-back.)

And we have the late Carolyn Peletier. (As President of the club, it was noticed by everyone that Carolyn was late getting to the meeting.)

And we’re blessed with good genes. (Played with double meaning of name of guest. A good, positive joke honors the guest.)

And if you make a mistake we’ve got a Mulligan. (A joke revisited. A mulligan is a “do over” in golf.)

And Jens, our model of loudness. (Took an earlier suggestion and linked it to a quality posessed by the maker of the suggestion. Jens has a really full and strong voice.)

As a final motivational thought, I’d like to give you this. If you are an average humor presenter you’re funnier than half the speakers here. (Good swapping of words to make a humorous point. Using a truth to get a laugh.)

Joke Contest Results — Twisted Cliches

November 20th, 2014

The November Joke Contest was popular and attracted lots of great entries. Our panel of judges have selected a TOP FIVE this month.

The theme of the contests is Twisted Cliches. The challenge was to change a cliche by adding one letter, subtracting one letter, or changing one letter. Just one letter.

The next joke contest will be announded on December 1.

Here are the Top-Five entries and the Honorable Mentions.


On what it takes to be a fisherman:
All things come to those who bait.
Gerald Fleischmann, Fountain Valley, California, USA


On dieting:
Win one for the zipper.
Tom Nee, Oak Lawn, Illinois, USA


On fighting temptations during a diet program:
Cross that fridge when you come to it.
Surekha Shetty, Bangalore, India


On Homer Simpson’s advice:
Do as I say, not as I doh.
Marty Bernstein, Oak Park, Illinois, USA


At a snail’s funeral:
Another snail in the coffin.
Balakumar Shanmugam, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

HONORABLE MENTION (In random order)

– On Prince Charles watching a storm:
Lightning never strikes twice in the same palace.
– On a cloudy day:
Nothing ventured, nothing rained.
– On the surgeon’s motto:
Better late than sever.
– On selfish people:
Good things come to those who want.
– On professional golfers:
Money doesn’t grow on tees.

– On the bully’s motto:
The end justifies the meanys.
– On real estate disputes:
Possession is nine tenths of the lawn.
– On office procedures:
Nothing is certain but death and faxes.
– On talking funny:
Truth is stranger than diction.
– On new flavors:
Spice, the final frontier.

– On shopping centers:
The love of money is the root of mall evil.
– On major league baseball:
You can catch more flies with money than with vinegar.
– On law officers:
Honesty is the best police.
– On a sniper’s scope:
A sight for sure eyes.
– On discovering spilt milk:
Look before you lap.

– On proper attire for exercising your pets:
Walk a mole in his shoes
– On Mother’s Day:
Daughter is the best medicine.
– On writers collaborating on plays:
The whole nine Bards.
– On cold weather:
Home is where the heat is.
– On strong coffee:
It’s never too latte.

– On cleaning up your kid’s rooms:
Let the punishment fit the grime.
– On rich presents:
Love is bling.
– On your first house:
Home wasn’t built in a day.
– On travel:
There’s no place like Rome.
– On keeping dad in a good mood:
A watched pop never boils.

– On keeping pets.
Don’t press your duck.
– On wrestling:
You always hurl the one you love.
– On tipping for bad service:
Better buck next time.
– On phone-center automated responses:
If these calls could talk.
– On bungee jumping safety:
Hook before you leap.

– Still illegal in 49 states:
No good weed goes unpunished.
– On a beer pong contest.
Let’s get a keg up on the competition.
– On bagle shop marketing.
We think outside the lox.
– On knowing the fine art market:
A fool and his Monet are soon parted.
– On falling through the cracks:
Don’t push your duck.

– On trying to lose weight:
No good feed goes unpunished.
– On getting a job:
A rolling stone gathers no boss.
– On a warning to Zombies:
No good dead goes unpunished.
– On an antique gallery:
Time will sell.
– On an antique gallery:
As good as old.

– On a breakup letter:
Grin and tear it.
– On a costume designer:
The gift of the garb.
– On a headline for an accident report:
Fall head over wheels.
– On advice for compulsive credit card users:
Pay your cards right.
– On frequent job hopping:
In one year and out the other.

– Tagline for a surgical weight loss clinic:
Make a quick tuck
– On a couple patching up, after a fight:
A make-up call.
– On getting better at repartees:
Wise to the occasion.
– On a mantra of a fugitive:
Stick to one’s runs.
– On getting hitched with a rich, over-weight partner:
Marry a lot of weight.

– On a hairline escape in a deadly accident:
The miss of death.
– Advice for a bachelor in his advancing years:
Get a wife.
– On how famous authors congregate:
Bards of a feather flock together.
– On the effect of acid rain:
When it rains, it sours.
– On sowing and reaping:
What you seed is what you get.

– On the European Space Agency:
Easy comet, easy go.
– On sitting near the heater:
The early bird gets the warm.
– On why graffiti needs stationary objects:
A rolling stone gathers no mots.
– On full employment:
A thing of beauty is a job forever.
– On Italian domesticity:
A Roman’s place is in the home.

– On taking dares:
Boys will bet boys.
– On boys in the bay:
Boys will be buoys.
– On cooking fowl:
Chickens come home to roast.
– On the advantages of calisthenics:
All’s well that bends well.
– On expecting torture at sunrise:
At the rack of dawn.
– On deciding how to travel:
My plane or yours?

– On cleaning your ears:
Take the easy wax out
– On sober boating:
Take the wine out of your sails.
– Profitability of Pharmaceuticals:
There’s gold in them there pills.
– On inflation:
The dimes, they are a-changing.
– On the virtues of alcohol:
To praise the bar.

– On assessing a sheep:
You’re right on the mutton.
– On a tsunami:
A rising tide lofts all boats.
– On being unable to bathe:
It’s stink or swim
– On showing affection for a tree:
Giving a pat on the bark
– On peanut butter:
Stick to your gums

– On flowers with a fishy oder:
Stop and smelt the roses.
– On the benefits of over eating:
Survival of the fattest.
– On award-winning cheekiness:
Sassed with flying colors.
– On diminishing the effect of labor:
Peel back the union.
– On not getting enough affection:
Being kiss poor.

– On making a good written impression:
Put your best font forward.
– On heeding the courier:
Don’t shoo the messenger.
– On behavior near fermentation vats:
Don’t spit into the wine.
– On praising an Alaskan city:
East or West, Nome is best.
– On singing with Satan:
Give the devil his duet.

– On civil engineering:
I think, therefore I dam.
– On advice to vegans:
If you can’t stand the meat, get out of the kitchen.
– On the human condition:
Live and yearn.
– On being shortchanged:
A faker’s dozen.
– On parenting in the good old days:
Beat around the tush.

– Bookshop Sign:
Buy the book.
– Cooking class:
Herb your enthusiasm
– Should have dressed warmer:
Fools cold.
– On living in California:
Be it ever so rumble there’s no place like home.
– On buying a combine today:
It’ll cost you a farm and a leg.

– On the little engine that could:
For trying out loud.
– On Santa ready to deliver toys:
Bags all packed and ready to ho.
– On entering the tree farm business:
Baptism by fir.
– On buying a romance novel:
You can’t judge a book by it’s lover.
– On working so much you get a split personality:
All work and no play makes Jack a duel boy.

– On problems at the shoe factory:
All heel breaks loose.
– No patience for idiots:
At my twits end.
– On driving a manual transmission car:
Shift happens.
- On being excited about tomorrow:
Going mananas.
– On refusing to smile at something funny:
Going against the grin.

– On a church being robbed:
Crime doesn’t pray.
– On the roofers creed:
Getting back up on the house.
– On someone suggesting a bad wine:
A cork and bull story.
– On line-drying clothes with little poems on them:
Airing ditty laundry.
– On a shopping center hit by a tornado:
Mall bent out of shape.

– On a mechanic ready to listen to your transmission problem:
I’m all gears.
– On available poets:
A bard in hand is worth two in the bush.
– On the busy month for the tanning industry:
Beware the hides of March.
– On discussing argumentative secret agents:
A Bond of contention
– On a rich but naive pony:
A foal and his money are soon parted.

– On grocery workers promoted to helping checkers:
Bagging rights.
– On Alice Kramden’s opinion of her husband:
My better Ralf.
– On sleeping anywhere you want:
All over the nap.
– On heavy metal band singers:
Another day, another hollar.
– On Marcel Marceau’s best buddy:
Any friend of yours is a friend of mime.

– On modern music derived from the Bible:
As ye sow, so shall ye rap.
– On a fumble at the snap:
At the drop of a hut.
– On throwing away old fruit:
At the end of my ripe.
– On complaining about electronic transmissions:
A fax to grind.
– On someone new to Humor Power Contests:
A babe in the words.

– On a scuba partner who always corrects you:
A back seat diver.
– On a Victorian lady choosing her first paramour:
Back to squire one.
– On getting over being embarrassed:
Beat around the blushes.
– On sledding down sand hills:
Been there, dune that.
– On sleeping on the job at the sausage factory:
Catch 40 links.

– On someone skilled at math:
Easy as pi.
– On being cool:
Have an ice day.
– On a dog who growls in code:
His bark is Morse than his bite.
– On cartoon dialogue:
Holy POW.
– On a consultant giving advice:
If I told you, I’d have to bill you.

– On the futility of chastity:
Chaste makes waste.
– Note to the kitchen staff on how to sabotage the important dinner:
To many cooks, spoil the broth.
– Using a kitten as a gyroscope:
There’s more than one way to spin a cat.
– On being in debt and drinking excessively:
Neither a borrower nor a bender be.
– On the benefits of dieting:
What doesn’t fill you makes you stronger.

– On Chicago baseball fans deciding to support the Cubs:
Think outside the Sox.
– On living in Florida:
Time flies when you’re having sun.
– On Marcel Marceau enjoying work as a trapeze artist:
Mime flies when you’re having fun.
– On news headline about Marcel Marceau career as a nurse: Mime
heals all wounds.
– Coal executive talking about the deepest extraction point:
That’s the bottom mine.

– On Microsoft Windows:
Crash is King.
– Advice to someone who lost his left eye:
Always look on the right side.
– On making fun of the judiciary:
Justice is blond.
– On using an iCoffee brewer:
There is no i in Tea.
– On having tasted love:
Love is bland.

– On being good at time management:
Have the fast laugh.
– Reflections on the inventing of penicilin.
The good mold days.
– On a baby who hates bad weather:
When it rains it pouts.
– On a spicy Mexican dish:
Fire in the mole.
– On driving on a road under repair:
Tire in the hole.

– On calling 911:
Fire in the home.
– On a passionate actor:
Fire in the role.
– On asking a pessimist what he’s thinking about:
A penny for sour thoughts.
– On asking a well-traveled friend what to go see:
A penny for tour thoughts.

New Joke Contest — Slightly Twisted Cliches

November 1st, 2014

The theme for our November joke contest is:   SLIGHTLY TWISTED CLICHES.

Twist a well-known phrase by leaving out one letter, or changing one letter, or adding one letter.   Not two letters.   Just one.

For example, a cliche:

A fool and his honey are soon parted.

All that glitters is not sold.

A jog is man’s best friend.

For lack of a shoe a hose was lost.

Write as many lines as you can.  And then write ten more.  Pick your best three and submit them for our TOP THREE recognition. You can submit more than three lines and the additional lines will be eligible for Honorable Mention recognition.

Submit your entries to HumorPowerTips@HumorPower.com by November 15, 2014

The next joke contest will be announced on December 1, 2014.

Contest Results: Official Book/Movie/Song

October 16th, 2014

It’s time for the results of the Official State Book/Movie/Song contest. The top lines are listed below.  New joke contests are announced on the first of the month.

Our subscribers submitted the Official Books, Movies, and Songs  for the different states.  Not REAL ones.  Just ones they came up with using their creativity.

The next contest is November 1, 2014.

Here are the top lines from this month’s contest.

Florida: The Old Man and the Sea
Marty Bernstein, Oak Park, Illinois

Colorado: Climb Every Mountain
Terry Wall, Washington Township, New Jersey

Louisiana: The French Connection
Gerald Fleischmann, Fountain Valley, California

HONORABLE MENTION  (In random order)

- California: I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet
- Kentucky: The Horse Whisperer
- Washington: Singing in the Rain
- Nevada: Succeeding Against the Odds
- Michigan: Built to Last

- Florida: A Day Without Sunshine
- Georgia: James and the Giant Peach
- Minnesota: A Tale of Two Cities
- California: All Quiet on the Western Front

- Oklahoma movie: Gone with the Wind
- Utah: Stairway to Heaven
- Hawaii: As Good As It Gets
- Florida: Some Like It Hot

Humor Writing Exercise

October 15th, 2014

It’s fun creating my own, unique humor writing exercises.

I look forward to getting Allen Klein’s Monthly Mirth Letter. He shares jokes that are sure to put a smile on your face. This month, three of them stimulated my funny bone.

- Several fonts walk into a bar. “Get out of here,” shouts the bartender. “We don’t serve your type here.”

- If you jumped off the bridge in Paris, you’d be in Seine.

- Did you hear about the mathematician who’s afraid of negative numbers? He will stop at nothing to avoid them.

In the spirit of creative writing, my take on the jokes:

- Two fonts were having a beer at the Main Street Bar, when a noisy entrant at the front door announced: “There’s a new Serif in town!”

- Insanity is jumping off the same bridge in Paris and not expecting to be in Seine.

- A historian asks his mathematition friend, “We’re celebrating my promotion. Are you drinking?” The friend replied “I ain’t drinking nothing.” The historian loudly ordered, “Bartender, my friend will have a double negative.”

Subscribe to Allen’s newsletter at MMM@allenklein.com

Observational Humor — Case Study #127

October 12th, 2014

Here is another Video Blog featuring an Observational Humor monologue. It’s important to read the written Set-Up information before watching the video. Watching the video first is would be like listening to a humor monlogue of punch lines with the set-up lines hidden from view. The set-up provides the context for the jokes. Without proper context, most of the jokes won’t make sense. When a joke doesn’t make sensee, the expression is usually “you had to be there.”  Reading the set-up, in a sense, allows you to be there and helps you to understand the humor.

THE SET-UP (What was said and what happened during the meeting before the monologue was presented.)

1. Tim Gard, one of the funniest people in the National Speakers Association, was the guest speaker for the Las Vegas chapter of NSA.  He presented some of his terrific signature stories, many which shared a humorous look at airline travel. If you have the chance to see him speak, don’t miss it. If you need a hilarious speaker with an impowering message, Tim is your speaker. www.TimGard.com

2. Tim’s program is a study on the use of humorous props. To keep from losing his bags on an airline flight, he has two rubber-chicken legs sticking out of his suitcase, and a large sign saying something like “this is not your bag.” To do justice to the routine, you need to see Tim at a live presentation.

3. Tim has created his own Official Rules of the Hospitality Industry.  He shares stories of creating his own rules which he uses when checking into hotels.

4. Tim uses the expressions “Woo Hoo!” and “Bummer” to express the ups and downs of travel.

5. Past speakers for the chapter have included Mike Rayburn (chapter President) and Dan Thurmon a speaker/gymnast.

6. A speaker referred to advice given by coach Ron Arden.

7. A speaker mentioned being naked to get laughs.

8. Someone mentioned eliminating the competition by killing them one by one.

9. A speaker used the technique of “turn to the person next to you and discuss…”

10. A speaker mentioned the “pull my finger gag.”

11. A speaker mentioned that he had his appendix removed 10 years ago.

12. Our meeting facility had Uni-Sex rest rooms.

13. At the start of the meeting my self-introduction was, “My name is John Kinde. I’ve come to the meeting this morning for the Uni-Sex restrooms.” This was one of the funniest lines of the entire morning.

Click here to view the monologue video.


(Physical actions with no spoken words. Arriving on the speaker’s platform. Placing on the table a briefcase with chicken legs sticking out. Audience laughter. Opening briefcase. Briefcase sign: This is not your briefcase.)

(Good laughs piggybacking on Tim’s signature story about his suitcase prop. Tim’s use of props and story is many times funnier than my short gag. I got some laughs with a simple prop call-back. This is also an example of “preparing to be spontaneous.” I came to the meeting ready with a one-time use gag. I wouldn’t use it again because the gag belongs to Tim. And I only used it because he included it in his content that morning. If he had not used his suitcase story, I would not have been able to use my briefcase gag.)

Before I get started, I’m going to read to you a few words from the Official Speaker Policy Manual.

(A good laugh. This was a set-up for the following lines.)

“Speaker Behavior and Professionalism Section 7 Paragraph 12. When a speaker at an NSA Chapter meeting follows a much funnier program speaker, a situation known as Bummer, the audience will understand this challenge and will laugh at the jokes of the lesser humorous speaker as a professional courtesy.”

(Huge laugh. Self-depecation).

Woo Hoo.

(Someone in the audience said Woo Hoo first, I said the expression anyway. Good laugh.)

Oh no, not another hilariously funny speaker.

(Self-Deprecation. Light laugh.)

I was called by the board and asked to be on the program today and I thought about it and I thought what a great idea, doing observational humor following the funniest speaker in NSA.

(Setting the context of someone following a hilarious Tim Gard program. Light laughter.)

That would be like being on the program after Mike Rayburn and playing a song on the guitar. That would be like being on a program after Dan Thurmon and doing a back flip.

(Very light response. In retrospect, I would have left these lines out. It had been many years since Dan presented his program to our chapter.)

Ron Arden said to me…you’re not funny enough to be naked.

(Very big laugh. Absurdity and self-deprecation.)

It’s a fact you may not be familiar with. There are only 141 funny speakers in NSA. Every time I meet one, I kill them. Tim, I’m your ride to the airport.

(“I kill them” received light reaction. The “ride to the airport” topper got a huge laugh. Often a weaker joke provides a great set-up for another joke which follows.)

Turn to the person next to you and pull their finger.

(A simple call back combining two obsservations. A big laugh.)

It’s been ten years since I’ve had my apendix transplant.

(Implied punchline, that the speaker was the donor of the organ. I wasn’t sure how the joke would play, but it got a good laugh. The punch line was a bit of a time-release joke. The laughs came in two waves.)

It’s been a really great program today. I’ve had a great time. I’ll see you in the restroom.

(Good call back of restroom coment from the beginning of the meeting.)

Observational Humor — Case Study #126

October 10th, 2014

Here is another VIDEO BLOG of Observational Humor presented at the end of a meeting. First we will look at the set-up for each joke.  Then we’ll hear (read) the joke. And finally, we’ll make some comments about why the joke worked.

To make sense of the video monologue, I highly suggest reading the set-up information first. Without the set-up information, it would be like watching a series of punch lines without the background context which makes the jokes understandable.

THE SET-UP (What happened and what was said, during the meeting,
before the monologue was delivered.)

1. When introducing me, the emcee told the audience that I had won
first place at eight district contests.

2. A speaker accidentally said PEOPLES. He immediately corrected
himself saying, “my mouth doesn’t always work correctly.”

3. A speaker talked about accents and demonstrated more than 30
accents and dialects.

4. A speaker told of an older woman who complained about a joke the
speaker told about another woman. The speaker responded with, “but I was telling a joke about my wife.”

5. We announced the club’s next special event on December 15,
Stand-Up Comedy Night.

6. Linda Bown talked about humor used by men and women. She
suggested that humor about ED might not be a good topic.

7. A speaker was just trying to be friendly when she told a joke to a woman standing in line in front of her. The joke made the woman who was ahead of her uncomfortable and she asked the speaker not to stand so close.

8. A speaker said “I miss my wife.”

9. There was a sign in the men’s restroom which said “aim at back of urinal.”

10. At a normal club meeting we usually have 15 people. At this special
meeting we had 40.

11. A speaker joked that he had a friend who once had Juan Valdez as his roommate.

12. Darren LaCroix mentioned the hazards of using a spell checker.

13. Members of the audience included: Carolyn Pelletier, Marty Bernstein, Scott Pritchard, Linda Bown, and Melanie Hope.




[You learned from my introduction that I've won eight district contests.
I tell you that not impress you,] I tell you that because I’m impressed.
(The portion in brackets was lost on the video recording.)

You people’s is great.
(A simple call-back of something which had earlier received a laugh.)

I tell you that in the French accent but when ever I speak in a French accent, it turns somehow into a Norwegian accent.
(That’s the truth. And the truth is funny. When ever I do a foreign accent, it somehow slides into Norwegian. That’s probably natural for anyone who grew up in North Dakota.)

I was telling a joke about a woman. After the program an old woman came up to me and said, “I didn’t like the joke you told about that woman.” I said, “Hey, that woman is my wife.” She looked at me and said: “That woman is my daughter.” I thought she looked familiar.
(I did a call-back by repeating the story line and then throwing in the
unexpected punch line “That woman is my daughter.” I then add a topper with “I thought she looked familiar.”)

In December we’re doing stand up comedy night. That’s our special program here at Power House Pros, December 15, Stand up comedy night. Linda Bown will be doing stand up comedy on ED.
(Linda had joked about being assigned her topic for this night’s program, suggesting that she didn’t feel like an expert on the topic. So I figured, why not also assign her a topic she is uncomfortable with for December 15.)

I was in Seattle. I was in a long line waiting to speak to the gate agent. I was just standing there with nothing to do, so I thought I’d visit with the lady in front of me. I said, Did you know that the odds of there being a bomb on an airplane is 400,000 to 1. But the odds of there being TWO bombs is 3 million to one. So I always pack a bomb. The woman said. Please don’t stand so close.
(The bomb joke is one I heard ten years ago. It worked well to blend it into a story call-back with the final punch line of “Please don’t stand so close.”)

Sometimes I miss my wife. But my aim is improving.
(Another old joke. Plays on the double meaning of MISS. I did the joke
because I like the structure of the word play.)

I don’t know if you’ve been to the men’s room, they have a sign:
PLEASE AIM AT THE BACK OF URINAL. That’s why we have a
theme for our club: Power House Pros…We aim to please.
(A recycled joke. I used it about 9 months ago. But I knew with the big
audience at this program, most people had not heard it.)

So I just had to sneak into the women’s restroom to see if they had a sign. Sure enough, in every stall, there was a sign, please remain seated during performance.
(Another recycled joke.)

We’re implementing new procedures if you come to the meeting next week. To help keep the restrooms clean, if you need to use the restroom, go out the door, turn left, and use the bushes.
(The recycled jokes opened the door for this new joke about stepping
outside. The trigger is absurdity.)

Signs are a great idea. Wouldn’t it be good to have signs to help the
speakers. Do you like that idea? (APPLAUSE sign)
(I’m starting a triplet of new sign jokes.)

And Bobby, I received a great insight tonight. Bobby said that he used to speak for money but made more money unclogging toilets. So I’m going to give up observational humor and go into the business of observational toilets. (LAUGHTER sign).
( I sequenced the signs in the order that I thought would build the

This is a bigger crowd than we normally have on Monday night, a
special night. But I didn’t realize that with more people you have more butterflies when you stand up to speak (REMOVE YOUR CLOTHES sign).
(Plays with the cliche of visualizing the audience naked or in their underwear to control nervousness.)

My roommate, Juan Valdez...
(The set-up served as the punch line. Just by saying the set-up, and then saying no more, was funny.)

Daren told us about funny things with a spell check or how you can run into problems with a spell check Which is true We have a lot of
unusual names of speakers, even common names If a spell check does not have a name in memory, it will give you alternatives. If don’t pay attention, you’ll put the wrong word for example with Pelletier.
(Two days before this program, I realized that a spell checker could provide me a funny seed for a joke. And the name twists I came up with actually came from my spell-checker. I used five names of people from the audience.)

Pelletier palletized. But as humorists we want to go one step further, and link to something else. Carolyn Palletized: A speaker who, when approaching the lectern, goes BEEP BEEP BEEP.

Marty turns into martyr. Martyr Bernstein. A speaker who does jokes to die for. (Marty ad libs from the audience, “You’re killing me!”)

Pritchard. Pitchfork. Scott Pitchfork. A speaker who sells eating
utensils on QVC. Scott Pitch Fork.

Bown. Bong. Linda Bong. A speaker who will put you at ease.

Hope. Harp. Melanie Harp. Listening to her speak is like dying and
going to heaven.
(My joke structure was using the spell-checker to provide a set-up twist, and to then make a humor connection with a tag line using the twisted name.)