Observational Humor — Case Study #7

This case study presents observational humor delivered after an NSA chapter meeting.  Here is the background information on what happened during the meeting before the observational humor was presented:


1.  It was monthly meeting with guest speaker and branding expert Dick Bruso.  He presented an awesome program and I highly recommend his services.

2.  Anita Johnston, chapter Membership VP, showed up early to help with room setup.  Also helping were her husband and four other men.

3.  Dick Bruso’s style is very pleasant, relaxed and friendly.  The whole day was focused on Branding.

4.  Dick shared with us that he was the oldest of eight children.

5.  He mentioned a client who had developed a successful business after surviving a fall into an 80 foot crevasse.

6.  Patricia Fripp mentioned that she knew someone who had been affected by the Charles Manson murders but didn’t think the story was a good one to support a speech on customer service.

7.  In brainstorming someone’s brand someone used the term “drop dead.”

8.  Dick used an early Volkswagen commercial’s slogan “Think Small” as an illustration of good branding.

9.  Dick used two great branding ideas where books were packaged in milk cartons and cereal boxes.

10.  It was mentioned that I was a retired USAF officer.

11.  Dick cited a successful branding campaign using the slogan “Chef C and the Dancing Mangos.”

12. Dick quoted Mother Theresa:  “Most pitiful is the person who has sight, but no vision.”


This is a friendly group.  Setting up the room before the meeting started was Anita, her husband and four other men.  Anita was at the back of the room and shouted across the room to her husband, “Oh Honey!”  And every man in the room stopped what they were doing and looked up.
(What triggered this joke in my mind was that when Anita said “Oh Honey” nearly every man in the room froze and looked up.  Sometimes good observational humor comes from just reporting the facts.  When revisited and given focus, it becomes funny.)

As I watched the program today I couldn’t help but thinking I was watching the Mr Rogers of Branding…who grew up with the Brady Bunch.
(Dick has the Mr Rogers look, straight looking, conservative, good looking.  I could picture him in a sweater.  He mentioned coming from a large family several times, making it a good setup for the Brady Bunch.)

It was a great program.  I have some plans to improve my business.
(Here I’m using a LIST.  This is a good technique for creating and delivering humor.  Not unlike a Top-Ten list, it’s a list of supposed steps I’ll take as a result of the program presented.)

By the end of this month, I’ll take a trip to Red Rock Canyon…and fall into an 80 crevasse.
(Red Rock Canyon is a local scenic spot.  If I couldn’t think of a place locally, I’d I would have used the Grand Canyon.)

And then I’ll develop some drop-dead motivational humor about the Charles Manson murders.
(This line could be on the edge of bad taste depending on how it was brought up during the meeting.  I thought my line was absurd enough to make it safe.  Absurdity is usually safe.  It got a good laugh.)

And I’ll make sure people know that if they’re looking for a professional speaker…think tall.
(I was playing with rhyming, sound-alike words.)

I’m planning on mailing an egg carton to prospects.  It’ll contain my new book, A Dozen Egg Jokes.
(I wanted a joke which tied into food-container packaging.  And I linked Yokes with Jokes.  Silly, but it worked.)

And I’ll be known as Colonel K and the Prancing Papayas.
(Again, a silly line.  But a good laugh.)

I’ll close with a quote from Mother Theresa:  “Most pitiful is the person who has jokes and no timing.”  So I think I’ll sit down.
(I wrote severeal Mother Theresa spin-off lines, and chose to use only this one.  I could have chosen to make a list of lines, but felt that this was the strongest and most relevant line.  Less is more.)

Copyright 2007 by John Kinde