Observational Humor — Case Study #2

I was the Observational Humor Master at two Toastmaster meetings this week.  For more on the feature of Observational Humor at a TM meeting check out our first Observational Humor case study.

A quick review.  The Observational Humor Master takes notes during the meeting and reports humorous insights about the meeting at the end of the evening.  This case study is presented to show you how the process works, not to make you laugh.  As usual, for it to be really funny “you had to be there.”

Here’s part of what happened at the meeting.

1.  Our theme for the meeting was The Inner Child.

2.  In support of the theme, the Toastmaster of the Evening, John Bernstein, gave everyone a Tootsie Pop as the meeting began.

3.  The word of the day was dauntless (meaning fearless).

4.  The Toastmaster of the Evening, by profession, is a mime.

5.  I am a Norwegian from North Dakota.

6.  A dual-club member, Bryant Pergerson, (someone who is a member of two clubs) was recruiting another member to be a guest speaker at his second club.  Three of our members have been guest speakers at that club in the past two months.

7.  The meeting’s printed program identified the AH counter as OPEN or VICKI KALLMAN.  Vicki was present and served as AH counter.

8.  Speaker, Peter Pizor, talked about controlling a canoe by standing up in it. 

The Script.  Here is the text of my segment of Observational Humor at the end of the meeting with my footnotes.

1.  For our guests who are here for the first time…we always open each meeting with everyone doing their best Kojak impersonation.  (A referral to the Tootsie Pops for which Kojak was famous.)

2.  We can use tonight’s meeting to build a promotional campaign to recruit new members.  

    – Does public speakiing make you dauntfull? (a twist on dauntless)
    – Join a speaking club where the MC is a mime.
    – Where the Observational Humor expert is a Norwegian.
    – And where, as a new member, you’re guaranteed to be asked to speak at Yucca Mountaineers TM Club.

3.  If you check the program for tonight you’ll notice that the AH counter is “OPEN or VICKI KALLMAN.”  (It needed to be pointed out, as part of the setup because most would not have specifically noted that entry on the program.)  The word OR is normally used to link the words OPEN and VICKI KALLMAN.  Last night I was running late and arrived at a Cold Stone Ice Cream Store at about 10pm.  An employee was standing in the doorway.  I said “are you OPEN?”  He said, “No I’m VICKI KALLMAN.”  (I used a HE rather than a SHE to accentuate the surprise and disguise the punchline.)

4.  Years ago I was on a canoe trip and tipped it over on a curve in the river.  NOW I know that it could have been prevented…if only I would have stood up!  (A “yeah right” thought triggers this joke.)

5.  Our theme of The Inner Child reminds me of the saying, “Inside every person is a child trying to get out.”  Well, inside our Toastmaster of the Evening tonight (who modeled child-like qualities during the meeting) there are three children trying to get out.  Some other common sayings you may not have heard:

    – Inside every dieter there is a thinner child trying to get out.
    – Inside every lotto player there is a winner child trying to get out.
    – Inside every church member there is a sinner child trying to get out.
    – Inside every cannibal there is a dinner child trying to get out.
(I call this a “series of jokes on a theme” and is a good vehicle for creating and delivering humor.)

6.  Another member, Steve Pavlina, used the same technique to piggy-back humor on something I had said earlier in the evening about teaching a young person to drive.  “How would a humorist teach someone how to drive?”  He listed several bullet items:

    – Turn off your signal…you’re telegraphing your lane changes.
    – Slow down.  Drive like a Norwegian from North Dakota.
    – If you step on the brake pedal and the car doesn’t stop, just keep going.  The passengers probably didn’t notice.
    – If you get pulled over by a cop, use observational humor sparingly.

7.  Click here for more information on Toastmaster Clubs.