Observational Humor — Case Study #10

These are notes and a monologue from a National Speakers Association chapter social networking meeting. 

**THE SET UP** (What was said or what happened during the event before I delivered the monologue.)

1.  Someone said a famous actor showed up drunk before a play.  The point they wanted to make was that because of his talent and solid technique he was still able to perform his Shakespearean role in a professional manner.

2.  The subject of Life Balance came up.  Someone said that there was no such thing as balance.

3.  Randy said that the only book he could market from a certain publisher was one titled:   I’ll Cook For Sex.

4.  Peter said he needed a good-looking assistant who could keep him going with an occasional poke from a cattle prod.

5.  Jim said that he was the President of the National Listeners Association.

6.  The National Speakers Association has specialty groups called Professional Expert Groups or PEGs.

7.  Someone said they started a Back Pain Relief web site.

8.  Someone said that a Haunted Cane sold on Ebay for $56,000.  Another person expressed great disbelief that anyone would pay that much.

9.  One person referred to another member who was present as the Michelle Kwan of Marketing, then corrected it to be the Carl Lewis of Marketing since she was referring to a man.


We learned from a famous actor tonight that the best way to deliver a great speech is to show up drunk.
(Humor created by twisting the real meaning of the story.)

Contrary to what we heard tonight, there is something called balance.  A balanced diet for example is a Twinkie in each hand.
(Just a silly visual picture.)

I’m writing a book which Randy could easily sell:  I’ll Make You Laugh For Sex.
(This line twisted the original book title by laying my subject expertise, humor, into the title.  This could be twisted for almost any expertise.)

Peter, I’d like to help you refine your want ad for an assistant:  Want an assistant who is handy with cattle prod and looks good in leather.
(Handy is a funny word.  Leather has a humorous connotation which dresses up the Looks Good line.)

Jim, here are some suggestions to get your National Listening Association off to a good start.  First you’ll need to establish some PEGs:
   – Motivational Listeners
   – Inspirational Listeners
   – Humorous Listeners
(For people familiar with the NSA and the professional speaking business, this is a list that brings a laugh.  Remember that observational humor is often good only for the specific audience and place for which it was created.)

It’s important as speakers to realize which PEG group your audience members fit into.  For example, if you have an audience of Humorous Listeners and you’re giving a motivational speech…every time you deliver a profound motivational point…they’re going to laugh.
(A nice topper to the PEG lines joke.)

The second suggestion for the National Listeners Association would be to use the advertising slogan:  When we listen…people talk.
(I twisted the cliche advertising slogan “When we talk…people listen.”  The reversal is so backward that it’s really funny.  This was the funniest line of the monologue.)

The third suggestion would be to refer to yourself as the Michelle Kwan of listeners.
(Excellent response.  An easy line to create.)

I’ve got a great idea for a couple of business web sites:

And I have something I want you to be the first to know about.
This…is a haunted pen.
Normally it would sell for $56,000.
But tonight only…it can be yours for $37,000.

(I paused after THIS to draw attention to the first punch line and build anticipation.  HAUNTED PEN got a huge laugh because I think it was totally unexpected.  It received a very big response.  Then adding the two price lines provided  toppers that also worked well.)

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