Humor Role Models

May 27th, 2015

The contest theme for the month of May is Humor Role Models.

Contests are announced on the first of the month.

The next contest come out on June 1. 2015.

Here are seven top Humor Role Model submissions. It didn’t seem appropriate to rank them in first, second and third place. So instead, they are shared in no special order, because they are ALL special:

***

My brother Kevin is a humor sharp-shooter, because his wacky, outrageous, spontaneous witticisms always hit the mark. And his humor is disarming in tense situations.

Submitted by Terry Wall, Washington Township, New Jersey

***

My mother baked, a great roll model. She introduced me to words, always had Readers Digest around. I honed against my brother. Blame them.

Submitted by Marty Bernstein, Oak Park, Illinois

***

My dad Harry raised me as funny as he. We told jokes, watched and listened to comedians, funny records, read “funny papers,” etc. I learned.

Submited by Gerald Fleischmann, Fountain Valley, California

***

Sister John Michael would whoosh into our classroom with a joke or math problem. She taught us critical thinking and how to laugh.

Submitted by Sandy Kampner, Evergreen Park, Illinois

***

Currently, SE’s corny humor packs a charge. You say “revolt,” he says ”Ohm.” Like Cinco de Mayo is shipwrecked mayonnaise. He’s vegetarian. That’s no bull!

Submitted by David Novick, Dayton, Ohio

***

DAD JOKES! DAD JOKES! Dad’s boners and groaners and moaners always had us in stitches, especially on long summer road trips and vacations. Thanks, Dad!

Submitted by Tom Nee, Oak Lawn, Illinois

Observational Humor — Case Study #136 (Video)

May 25th, 2015

Here’s another Observational Humor monologue. It was presented at a monthly meeting of the Las Vegas chapter of the National Speakers Assn, where I present the humor wrap up at the end of the meeting.

This monologue-case-study blog post includes a video recording. To get the best learning experience from the post, I would suggest reading the SET-UP information first. The SET-UP information gives you the context of the jokes and will help you to make sense of the monologue.  Then watch he video. And last, read the text of the monologue which will include my comments on the jokes.

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

1. The month before, I had opened my humor-wrap-up monologue with a beer bottle gag which received a good laugh.

2. Mike Rayburn included a top-ten list in his opening comments. “Ten Ways I knew It Was a Bad Speaking Gig.” His list included a joke about Obama using a teleprompter, one senior nudist joke, one Amish Joke, two fart jokes, and one joke about one’s fly being unzipped.

3. Jana Stanfield was the first presenter. She said that she forgot to bring her guitar, and when she had arrived at the meeting she said, ”Dang. I forgot my guitar!”

4. Just up the street from the meeting venue is a huge truck stop.

5. Jana’s program included playing the guitar, singing, and a motivational message. We assumed that she ran home and picked up her guitar.

6. Jana told some funny lines about TV news anchors teasing you with minimal information about the upcoming segment, “If you don’t listen, something dangerous will happen.”

7. We were meeting in a church facility, and our meeting room was a recreation room with a big roll-up door, similar to a garage door.

8. Jana told a story and sang a song about someone spending time in South East Asia who met someone on Match.com.

9. Jana said that clients hire speakers for the person they are. They don’t hire a speaker for his/her topic or subject.

10. Chad Hymas mentioned Oprah.

11. Jana said that opportunity was abundant. Speakers shouldn’t think that they can’t play the guitar and sing in their keynotes because “Jana has their slot.” Her point was that there is room for everyone.

12. Chad placed a live phone call to Mike Rayburn’s wife Tara. He asked for her favorite restaurant. She named a Thai restaurant. Chad said that Mike would be coming home tonight and bringing Thai take-out.

THE MONOLOGUE

You have two options. The text of the monologue is presented below. We have also included a video of the presentation. The video is primarily presented to give you the feeling of “being there.” I would suggest that you read the SET-UP information first, if you haven’t already done that. It will give you the context of the humor. The video will allow you to exprience of the audience reaction to the humor.

The monologue text:

(Introduction by Mike Rayburn)

We have a few closing words from Mr John Kinde.

(Notice that the microphone picks up two people commenting that I had a beer bottle. It was actually a soda bottle, but it was a brown bottle that looked like a beer bottle. The beer-bottle gag, from the previous month’s monologue, was acting as part of the set-up for my opening joke. For those who remembered the gag from the previous month, it created anticipation for the coming joke. The anticipation increased tension and helped to magnify the joke. For those who didn’t remember previous month’s gag, who didn’t attend the month before, or who didn’t notice the bottle, Jana’s comment “forgot my guitar” was by itself a strong enough set-up to support the joke.)

I arrived here this morning, I said, “Dang, I forgot my beer.”

(Paralleled the comment: “Dang, I forgot my guitar.” Good laugh.)

So I went up to the truck stop and bought one.

(Small laugh.)

Jana was in there buying a guitar.

(The format was Joke, Joke, Topper. This line was a perfect topper. It was totally unexpected. It plays with the absurdity that a truck stop would sell guitars. Yet a touch of believability because it was a HUGE truck stop which probably sold lots of things. And it answered the question, how did she get a guitar so she could present her program. It probably helped that Jana was in the front row and really laughing. She was a great audience.)

Where is my teleprompter.

(Mike’s joke was used to poke fun at the Presidential use of the teleprompter. That allowed me to use the joke in a self-deprecation form.)

My name is John Kinde and I’m a senior nudist.

(A call back to Mike’s top-ten list. I wasn’t sure how strong the joke was, but it got a good laugh.)

I’ll be telling jokes. If you don’t listen, something dangerous will

happen.

(The weakest joke of the monologue. It surprised me that it got almost no response. After a slight pause, I just ignored the lack of response and kept moving.)

People have always said to me…for years they said, “Kinde you’re pretty good, but you’ll never speak in a church garage.”

(I wasn’t sure the joke would work. It WASN’T a garage, but had a door similar to one on a garage. I wasn’t sure the audience would make the same connection that I had made. I implied that “I had arrived.” A very good laugh.)

I signed up on Match.com and I met a man from VietNam. Now if I can only put that to music.

(The-call back received a good laugh. Then the topper, “put that to music,” got a bigger laugh. Your use of a topper should have a stucture where the topper gets a bigger laugh than the joke lines which set it up.)

I have something in common with Jana. She said that people don’t hire her for her content, for the subject. People don’t hire me either.

(The set-up implies that I also don’t get hired for my topic/subject, but stops short of saying that, suggesting that people just don’t hire me. It is a joke with some risk, because the audience is required translate what was previously said, based on the words I had left out, in order to get the joke. This activates the superiority factor. Fortunately the joke played really strong. I was also using self-deprecation.)

Mike Rayburn was a model tonight for how to use corporate humor.  Here’s the Mike Rayburn recipe for successfully using corporate humor.

Tell one nudist joke

Tell one Amish joke.

Tell two fart jokes.

And unzip your fly.

(A call back which used comic license while recalling his top-ten list jokes. My list stretched the specific content of his jokes. For example, one of his jokes was a “bean” joke, not directly a fart joke, but it was implied. And although he did a “fly” joke, he didn’t unzip one. The lines were close enough, and were increasingly funny to get good laughs.)

I knew I was having a bad gig. I took the stage with my guitar then Irealized I don’t play the guitar.

(A call-back to Mike’s top ten list theme.)

I knew it was a bad gig. I was on Oprah, and she said, “Get off of me.”

(A call-back to the Top Ten list and to Oprah. Absurdity.)

I knew it was a bad gig. I had a dream that I was speaking to 1000 people and when I woke up, I was.

(Absurdity. Very good response.)

I always wanted to be a singing keynoter, but Jana Stanfield had my slot.

(A bit of a groaner. Moderate response. But I never know for sure until I try.)

(Pretended to text Mike Rayburn’s wife on my cell phone.)

Hi Tara. What’s your favorite car. A red Lamborghini convertable?

Mike will be bringing the Thai take-out. He’ll be coming home in a Red Lamborghini convertable.

(A good call-back, humorously suggesting that Mike would have to run out and buy, rent, borrow, or steal a Lamborghini. The audience got the joke immediately, in fact sooner than I expected. They started laughing before I reached the intended punch line. Excellent response.)

Back to Mike.

Creativity Exercise

May 21st, 2015

Loren Ekroth, Dr Conversation (Better Conversations EZine), shared a play- on-words joke which he created from the word Hinterland. While talking to a friend who was performing a one-woman show at a local church, he realized that although she was was not playing on Broadway.  ”She was performing Hintertainment.”

I started me thinking about the play-on-words creative process. We start by defining the key word. The definition of the word will help us focus as we exercise our joke writing skills.

Some of the definitions of Hinterland are:
- Less developed parts of a country.
- The back woods.
- An area more picturesque than urban areas.
- Lying beyond what is known.
- Not near cities and towns.
- Where life is less complicated.
- Inland from the coast.
- Away from metropolitan or cultural centers.
- The definitions of Hinterland are neither good nor bad, they generally
state that the Hinterland is just a place that is different from other
places.

As a writing execise, and with a little thinking, we could come up with a
Top-Ten list:

TEN THOUGHTS FROM THE HINTERLAND

1. Two small countries can easily become hinterdependent.

2. The Voyager space craft was to make an exploratory fly by of Pluto.
However, before it got there, Pluto was declassified as a planet making
the mission hinterplanetary.

3. The road to the Bridge To Nowhere begins at a remote hintersection.

4. Universities are offering reduced-fee degrees in Political Science with
a focus on Hinternational Relations.

5. There is a movement of people from rural to urban areas and visa
versa. By nature people are hinterchangeable.

6. Moving to a rural setting requires that a slower lifestyle be
hinternalized.

7. Is it possible that more conservative religions as a group tend to be
hinterdenominal? And are they more likely to have revivals which are
hinterfaith?

8. A city psychologist moving to a rural area may need different skills
for hintervention.

9. Agricultural colleges are involved in activities which are
hintercollegiate.

10. If you live in a boring town, doing a word exercise like this is
hinteresting.

THE CREATIVE PROCESS

1. I exercise my mind just for the value of the process. Through exercise the brain gets stronger.

2. A writing exercise develops the ability to make connections and see
relationships. This strengthens your humor skills.

3. I usually recommend working from lists when you have a goal for
creating new humor. In the case of writing jokes based on the word
Hinterland, a person could build a list of INTER words (interact,
intercepion, intercom) from which one would create new HINTER
(hinteract, hinterception, hintercom) words. Usually I try to work from
two contrasting lists to find fresh connections. But in this case we’ll
work with just one list, INTER words.

4. For the sake of the exercise, I normally start out with building a
HINTER list from INTER words which I discover in my own head. It
would be faster and easier to just use a reference source, like a
dictionary, to find a long list of INTER words, but if I force myself to
build a top-ten list just using my own thinking, the exercise will be more of a stretch for me.

5. So step one was to come up with as many INTER words as I could,
and then create a one-liner joke for each word, switching INTER to
HINTER. I completed a list of ten jokes doing this process.

6. Step two was to go beyond my list of ten and make a longer list.
Humor writing is a numbers game. The more lines I can write, the more
I’ll have to choose from when I pick my ten best lines for the final list.
One technique to Go Beyond is to look in the dictionary under INTER
and see how many words I could identify as candidates for writing a
joke. I found 28 more words which I hadn’t used in my original top-ten
list. I know I could have written 28 more joke lines, one for each new
word. Instead I quickly scanned the list and picked six which looked
like excellent possibilities for creating new jokes. And in a short writing
period, I came up with six more joke lines.

7. The process of taking INTER words and turning them into HINTER
jokes is not your usual joke writing process of looking for connections
from two different lists. Instead you have a HINTER word which is a
new punch line. You then work backward to create a set-up which gives context to the HINTER word. Your goal is to create a set-up which gives meaning to the new punch word.

8. As I looked over my new list of jokes, I realized that most of the lines needed some structural editing. The punch word, in my initial effort, was not normally at the very end of the line. So he next step in the creative process was to re-write the lines so that the punch word was always at the end. That was easy to do, it just took a deliberate focus to do the editing. Line #4 didn’t sound right with Hinternational as the last word, so I ended that line with Hinternational Relations.

9. Now I’m ready to create the final produce, the Top-Ten list. I’ve
written 16 lines. It’s my job to predict which ten lines are the best and
belong in the final Top-Ten list. Having over-written the number of
jokes…needing ten and writing sixteen. I’m ready to de-select the
weakest jokes. The challenge in joke writing is NOT to know what’s
funny to you, but to know what will be funny to your listener or reader.
It’s a guess, you never know for sure. But the more you edit, the more
educated your guess becomes, and your choices become funnier. This
skill becomes important when you have written two or three Observational Humor lines and you want to pick the best one to open a speech.

10. The top-ten list you found earlier in the article is he result of this
writing exercise.

11. Some people challenge their mind to cross word puzzles. Some play video games. Some master the Rubic’s Cube. Some play trivia games. I look for a seed idea, often from something I see or hear, such as the statement: “She was performing Hintertainment.” Then I challenge myself to write a Top-Ten list on a theme. For me, it’s more fun than watching a TV drama. It keeps my brain active. It helps to focus my humor radar.

The Contestant Interview–Case Study #135 (Video)

May 10th, 2015

Here are a couple of simple observational lines I’ve used during speech contest interviews.

To be ready with an observational line when you are being interviewed after a competition, attempt to create a funny line that will answer one of the standard questions being asked of each contestant. Typical questions like, “What is your home club?” And, “Is there anybody you’d like to thank?”

At a contest last month, someone who was interviewed before me mistakenly said Los Angeles when he meant Las Vegas, our hometown.  The mistake got a big laugh.

So when I was asked, “You’re a member of Power House Pros?” My reply was, ”Yes.  Power House Pros of Los Angeles.” A big laugh. A perfect line.

A simple observational line could be based on the observation that you drew the speaking position which qualified you to speak last (when that happens to be the case). And the question: “Is there someone you would like to thank?” The answer is, “Yes. I’d like to thank the other speakers for warming up the audience.” That’s good line which has worked for me in the past.

Another technique is to create several observational lines, and hope that something inspires you during the interview to use one of your prepared lines. At a typical meeting I can usually come up with eight observational lines. And the odds are good that one of them will fit into the interview if I’m alert to the opportunity.

A basic technique is that you pay close attention to the contestants being interviewed before you and look for things to which you can connect for the purpose of getting a laugh. The more recent the set-up event link is, the stronger the line will be. Being relaxed and in the moment allows you to pay attention and look for links both before and during your interview.

The contestant interview is one of my favorite parts of a contest. It ranks right after hearing my name announced as the winner. And since that’s a rare event, that puts the interview at the top of the my list.

New Contest — Humor and Happiness Role Model

May 1st, 2015

In 25 words or less, who has been your number one role model for humor and happiness in your life?  You can’t nominate yourself.  And you can’t nominate me!

My top role model was my Uncle Harry. It’s difficult to experess my thoughts in 25 words. But here it is:

“Uncle Harry was a joy-leader. Whether it was entertainment around the campfire or games on a road trip, Harry was the fun-planner supreme.”

Coming up with your entry, you might do what I did. I wrote a longer piece, 800 words, based on my memories of Uncle Harry. I called each of his three daughters and we chatted on the phone. My longer article is posted in my May Humor Power Tips Newsletter. The process of discussing the positive qualities of your role model with family and friends is a good experience for everyone.

Then take your longer article and trim it down to the most important 25 words to share with our readers. You don’t need to identify the person’s whole name unless you want to. You could just use a first name, or a nickname. Nor do you need to identify a specific city where the person lives.

We will recognize the top three entries. And  some Honorable
Mentions.  Send us your one entry of Who is your Humor and Happiness Role Model and Why. Also send us YOUR name and city.  We will need your entry by May 15, 2015.  Send it to HumorPowerTips@HumorPower.com

A Pro Taking a Risk

April 30th, 2015

Here are two examples of Josh Groban taking a chance by singing with an audience member. It demonstrates that with risk comes reward.  Groban and the audience members are thrilled with the excitement and the surprise that happens in the middle of a show.  Audience members love seeing something special that unfolds before their eyes. Of course, if the segment is totally off-the-cuff, there is the risk of bombing. On the other hand, there is always the option of planned spontaneity, in this case by having the audience members pre-audition before they are invited on stage. If the star never saw the audition, it would still have the feel of spontaneity for both the star and the audience. These two clips have the genuine feeling of being in-the-moment and have results that will impress you. Also, improvised interaction with the audience increases the authenticity of the performer by connecting them with
their fans. The star is able to drop his or her guard and become more genuine. I think you will enjoy both the clips.

Josh Groban with a woman audience member.

Josh Groban with a man audience member.

Subscriber Survey Results

April 30th, 2015

We are pleased that 173 subscribers gave us their opinions about our Humor Power Tips Newsletter.

If were too busy to take the survey, you can do it now if you would like to. Your opinions would be valuable to us. It will take you about five minutes. Click here to go to the survey.

If you are not a subscriber, you can sign up now. It’s free. You’ll get the newsletter each month and Two special reports: Show Me The Funny and When They Don’t Laugh!   Click here to subscribe.

Here is a summary of the survey results.

Percent of subscribers completing the survey:
Current subscribers 8% (of those who “opened” the newsletter)
New subscribers 25% (of those who responded to the verification email)

How do new subscribers find us:
Internet Search 60%
Referral by Friend 30%

Why do new subscribers sign up?
Add humor to my life 70%
Just curious about the newsletter 20%
Add humor to my speeches 10%

Current Subscribers Would like to see More of:
Observational Humor 64%
Adding humor to a speech 64%
Motivational humor for positive attitudes 57%
Humor triggers for funny lines 54%
Resources for learning humor 46%
Humor skills for writers 44%
Basics of joke writing 42%
Video clips that teach humor 42%

New Subscribers are Interested in:
Observational Humor 80%
Humor for relationships 71%
Humor for positive attitudes 71%
Humor triggers 63%
Adding humor to a speech 60%
Resources for learning humor 54%

76 comments on things people like about the newsletter. Thank you for your kind comments and support.

74 suggestions for improving the newsletter Thanks for your thoughtful suggestions. The suggestions were not focused in any one area. Some of the suggestions:
- More video. Our goal is to feature more video segments as a learning
tool. I’m still on the beginner’s side of the learning curve for using my
video camera and Windows 8 laptop computer. As I gain more skills in
the video editing department and become better at uploading the video to the internet, I’ll be doing more of it.
- Bring back the cartoon caption contest. I’m considering doing that
and am discussing it with a cartoonist. And I need to learn how to post
cartoons to my web site.
- When offering links to blog articles, give a summary of the article so
we don’t have to click on the link to see what the article is about. Good
idea.
- Recap and review past insights.
- More recognition of the contestants. I’m considering having a “Meet
The Contestant” feature. It might include some short biographical
information, a photo, a website, other relevant links. This would be
interesting to some of our readers, and it might be a good resource for
networking.
- The most frequent comment was that subscribers like the newsletter
as it is.
- There were comments on improving the format, and a small number
of comments that the humor wasn’t funny. While these were in the
minority, we realize that many who would agree with those comments
are already unsubscribed. So we do much appreciate the constructive
comments of every kind.

Comments about the contests:
- 75% enter or read the contests each month. 25% find the contests not relevant to their needs.
- One subscriber always shares the contest results with friends he/she
jokes around with.
- Another posts the contest results to a humor bulletin board at work.
- A few comments suggested that contest selection of winners tends to be subjective. I agree. The results are totally subjective. If you want to know more about how our contest winners are selected click here.

Speaking Experience of our subscribers:
An experienced speaker 50% (current subscribers)
An experienced speaker 35% (new subscribers)

Age of Subscribers:
Our average subscriber is in his/her late 50s.
29 and below 4%
30-40s 18%
50-60s 60%
70s and up 18%

A special Thank You to everyone who participated in our survey. If you have NOT participated in the survey and would like to do it now click here.

Contest Results — New National Holidays

April 23rd, 2015

It’s time for the best lines of our April Contest. The theme for the month is New National Holidays.

New contests are announced on the first of the month. The next contest will be introduced in the May 1 newsletter.

Here are the top lines for New National Holidays:

** FIRST PLACE **

National Fiction Day: Not a real holiday

Marty Bernstein, Oak Park, Illinois

** SECOND PLACE **

National Procrastination Day: To be determined.

Gerald Fleischmann, Fountain Valley, California

** THIRD PLACE **

Write Backwards Day: 1 LIRPA

Sandy Kampner, Evergreen Park, IL

HONORABLE MENTION (in random order)

- Calculate Pi Day, 3/14/16. A day that never ends.

- Eat More Butter Day: Put it on everything. Deep fried butter sticks. Great in a cone. Give it 20 seconds in the microwave oven and drink it. Celebrated the day before Healthy Heart Day.

- National Rational Day: Celebrated when it makes sense.

- New Ears Day: Celebrating plastic surgeons.

- Formal Monday. The first Monday of the month. Wear a suit to work.

- National Nothing Day: A holiday from all other holidays.

- Garage Sale Exchange Day: On the first Saturday of May, from the neighbor on your left, you take all their stuff, as the neighbor on your right, takes all your stuff. Children and family pets not included.

- Buy a New Car Day; Every February 29th.

- Road Hog Day: Slow drivers get to put on their Danica Patrick and A.J. Foyt helmets and floor it!

- Illinois voter day: April 7. 1. Vote. 2. Watch the returns. 3. Look in your mailbox for your stipend.

- Groucho Marx Day: Everybody walks and talks like Groucho for 24 hours.

- Kinde Day: April 15th. Every contest entry is a winner today.

- Walk Funny Day: You’ve always wanted to. A stone in your shoe is optional.

- Dennis Day Day: Everybody acts like Dennis Day. Celebrated the day after Gladys Night Night.

- Doc Holliday Holiday: A holiday for doctors.

- It’s Mine Day: On your birthday everything is yours.

- Native Americans Day: Give the U.S. back to the Native Americans to see if they can do better.

- Stay at Home on Your Birthday Because You Are Well Day.

- Chew Out Your Boss Day: Scheduled on your last day at work Buy Something Silly Day, January 26: Help your local merchant unload his overstock of pet rocks, chia animals, and last year’s joke-a-day calendars.

- Contact an Extraterrestrial Day: August 13. They’re all around you.

- Take Your Nukes to Work Day: The day after signing the nuclear treaty with Iran. If signed in April, it will also be April Fool’s Day.

- It Depends Day: Allows you to prevaricate and lie by waffling on any Politicians celebrated daily by politicians.

- March Sadness: Month-long grieving by teams that get bounced form the NCAA basketball tournament on bad referee calls.

- Inauguration Day: Also known as Buyer’s Remorse Day.

- National Procrastination day. Starts May 7,ends August 16.

- National Funny Day. On this day, people who think they are funny actually must be funny.

- National Straight line day. Celebrated on 1-11 – National Defense Industry Day: Tanksgiving.

- Celebrating longer days for personal grooming: Daylight Shavings Time.

- National Geography Day. Customer service line personnel must tell you their actual location.

- New Ears Day. Celebrating plastic surgeons.

- Holiday Recovery Day. The first weekday after January 1. You get a day off to recover from the holidays.

- March Sadness Day. The day after the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. If your team lost, you get the day off to recover from the disappointment. If your team won, you get the day off to celebrate. If you didn’t fill out a bracket, you are obviously working too hard, so you get the day off as well.

Selecting Our Contest Winners

April 14th, 2015

On a recent survey of subscribers, a few comments suggested that the selection of contest winners is subjective. I agree. The results are totally subjective. What is funny to one person is often not funny to another.
- Here is some background on the judging process for our contests.
- I try to minimize the subjectivity factor by having at least 8 – 10 judges for each contest. And usually the panel of judges is different each month. Sometimes I take the ballots to an improv workshop, sometimes to a Toastmasters meeting, sometimes I email the ballot to friends who I think would be good judges.   The judges do NOT know who authored the jokes.
- The judges usually range in age from 20s to 80s, and are usually about half men/women. But the bottom line is that the selection of one judge is just an opinion. There is no clear-cut, objective way to arrive at the Top Three entries each month.
- The results of the contests will naturally also be affected by our use of mostly American-English-speaking judges.
- And each month I’m reminded of the subjective nature of humor. My favorite entry is usually not the favorite entry of the judges. In fact, sometimes my favorite entry is not even in the top three!
- Have you ever thought that one of the Honorable Mention entries should have been in the Top Three, and wondered why it wasn’t? Or maybe you wondered why one of your submissions didn’t even make the Honorable Mention list?
- We have already mentioned that the big factor is the subjectivity of humor. What is funny to one person may not be funny to another.
- Another factor might be that a particular joke didn’t make it past the editor (me). I apply a certain standard of corporate-quality humor and also act as the Politically Correct Police for the contests.
- Also, it’s not practical to produce a judge’s ballot with 500 jokes on it. Someone has to narrow the field down to a manageable number of jokes. I usually prepare a ballot with what I consider the top 20 jokes. Then the judges pick the top three. If I have at least five judges, I don’t vote for the Top Three selection.
- The judges don’t know who submitted the individual jokes. Occasionally, but not often, the judges may pick select a Top Three which includes two jokes by the same author. When that happens, I pick that author’s best joke (as determined by the judges) to include in the Top Three and I move the fourth place joke into third. This expands our winner recognition.
- Another factor why an Honorable Mention joke may be your favorite and not be one of our winners, is that the joke may be submitted by the person who suggested the theme for the month. When someone creates the joke theme for the month, they are permitted to be on the Honorable Mention list, but not in the Top Three.   We feel it wouldn’t look right for the person who contributed the theme to also be the winner.
- Sometimes some of the Honorable Mention jokes were written by me. It’s not often I include my own jokes, but sometimes I do. My jokes never appear in the Top Three.
- So there you have a little insight into the judging process and why one of your favorite jokes only made Honorable Mention or didn’t even appear on the list at all.

Observational Humor — Case Study #134

April 7th, 2015

Here is another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of an NSA Las Vegas chapter meeting. First we’ll look at the set-up. Then we will look at the joke and what triggered the humor. The strength of most observational humor is “being there.” Humor which is funny for the audience will not be nearly as funny when studied as an academic exercise. But this is presented as a humor piece which has passed the test of a live audience.

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

1. I brought a Virgil’s Soda to my NSA chapter meeting. It’s brown
glass which looks like a beer bottle.

2. Bill Bachrach set up a magic trick by planting a special cup on the
front table, asking the woman sitting at the front table to pretend that
the cup was hers. He told us about this coordination with the woman
after he did the magic trick.

3. Darren asked a question about a speaker using something another
speaker had said or had done earlier during the meeting.

4. Bill said it worked to his advantage that he was funnier than people
thought he would be.

5. Mark is always colorfully dressed. That morning he was wearing an
orange blazer and orange-color, checked pants.

6. A speaker joked that she might have a wardrobe malfunction during
the meeting.

7. Marilyn was wearing a bold-pattern pair of pants. It looked like a
print of vines, black on white.

8. Mike opened with a top-ten list: Ten Ways You Know when You’ve
Spoken too Long.

9. A speaker mentioned a comedy show, Confessions of a Showgirl.

10. The entrance to the meeting room was a large garage-style door.

11. The decor at the back of the stage was four brightly-colored doors.

12. A speaker talked about living in a room on the top floor of the
Flamingo hotel.

13. A speaker talked about the challenges of starting a new show on the
LV Strip. He said that each month he writes a check for the privilege of
performing.

14. A speaker said that when you’re starting out, you’re not great.
“The first time you’re hired to speak, you suck.”

15. A speaker told about being a speaker for Charles Schwab, and
mispronounced the word SPEAKER, like it was a difficult tongue
twister.

16. The speaking room was equipped with a FoosBall table and an Air
Hockey machine.

17. A speaker said, it’s self-defeating to think “this is as good as I’m
going to get.”

18. Bill Bachrach said, “If comfort is your goal, success is not in your
future.”

THE MONOLOGUE

(Placing my soda bottle on the front table and speaking to the woman
sitting there.) Pretend this is your beer.

(Pefect opener. Started getting laughs just putting down the bottle. Big laugh when I delivered the line.)

(Making eye contact with Darren.) You can use that line.
(Very big laugh. The trigger was Absurdity.)

I’m funnier than I look.
(Good call back. Big laugh.)

This is a classy group. Look at how people are dressed.
(I had three outfit observations, good response although not among the better lines.)

One is dressed in an outfit that doesn’t rhyme.

(I figured this would work for an orange or a purple outfit, words that
do not rhyme.)

One is dressed in clothing from the Janet Jackson collection.
(A reference to Jackson’s Super Bowl performance several years ago.)

And one is wearing camouflaged pants worn when fighting an enemy that is color blind.
(A bold outfit attracted my attention, and I figured the attention of the
audience as well.)

Ten Ways I Can Tell I’ve Been Speaking Too Long. Or confessions of a showgirl.
(Anytime I hear a top-ten list in a program, I look for the possibility of
creating my own top-ten list on the same theme. And following with an
absurd topper call-back got a good laugh.)

I Iknew was speaking too long when I had a dream that I was speaking, and when I woke up, I was.

(Not an Observational joke, but a joke made up to fill in the top-ten
list.)

When I’m speaking in a room that looks like a garage.
(Simple observation. OK response.)

When the audience laughs uncontrollably until  I start speaking.

(Medium response.)

When I give the audience a choice of a joke behind Door number one. Door number two. Or door number three.

(Good response,)

When my funniest material is something I just made up.
(Weaker response than I expected.)

When I’m wishing I could move from my room in the Motel 6 to a room in the Flamingo.
(Big laugh.)

When I do the wrap-up humor at each monthly chapter meeting,
because I write a check.
(Good call back, implies that I pay to be on the program.)

When I continue to get hired even though I still suck.
(Self-deprecation using a call-back of a phrase used earlier in the
program by one of the speakers.)

When I’m caught looking in the bathroom mirror saying “Charles
Schwab serves speakers at the sea shore.”
(A call back of something that happened which had gotten a laugh.)

When my stiffest competition is a FoosBall game and an Air Hockey table.
(One of the weaker lines.)

You know I’ve been speaking too long when you can see my mouth
moving.
(A generic joke line for the Top Ten List which I deleted from the
monologue by accident. I like he line. Self-deprecation.)

When I start thinking: This is the funniest I’m going to get.
(Twisted a phrase used by a speaker. Adapted it to a humor theme.
Good response.)

In closing, the thought for the day: If comfort is your goal, being funny is not in your future.
(Good close. Good response.)