Observational Humor — Case Study #15

Here’s an examination of an Observational Humor monologue presented at a Toastmasters meeting.

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

1.  An evaluator critiqued a speaker’s clasped-hand gestures.  “If we we stuck a daisy between your fingers and laid you on the table…you’d look dead!”  Big laugh.

2.  A new member gave a speech about his business which serves largely the Hispanic community.  The Spanish language became a running gag for a few speakers later in the meeting.

3.  The Grammarian had selected PLETHORA as the word-of-the-day.  The theme of the day was Being Big.  The Toastmaster of the Evening (MC), before he introduced the Grammarian to give the word-of-the-day, used the word PLETHORA.  He didn’t know it would be the word-of-the-day.  It was just a coincidence that he used it.

4.  The word PLETHORA was introduced, defined, and its Latin roots were mentioned.

5.  A speaker shared the story about Roger Bannister running the mile under four minutes.  In the year after that milestone event, 30 people ran the mile under four minutes.  The next year, 300 people broke the four minute barrier.

6.  A speaker shared that every time he would tell people he was going to do something, they’d usually say: “You’re crazy.”  He would then proceed to be wildly successful at it.

7.  A speaker told of her younger days when the hot jock at school, Bob Baxter (not the real name), wouldn’t “give her the time of day.”

8.  Randy, our Treasurer, told us that being the club Treasurer was an easy job.

9.  Randy, in a speech about the club’s history, praised long-time member Bill Lusk, who was not present (he arrived after the speech was over).  Randy said that Bill was the only person who could correct the facts in his speech.

10.  This was the meeting before Thanksgiving.  A couple of people mentioned what they were thankful for.


If I don’t start talking…I’m going to look dead.
(Deadpan delivery.  The line worked for me since I’m a low-key, laid-back speaker.)

We should change our club name to Hablemos Espanol Toastmasters.
(Several call-backs to the Spanish language during the meeting set this up.)

You may not know it but Plethora, the Word-Of-The-Day, actually has Spanish roots.  It comes from PLET which means many and HORA which means hour.  It means many hours…or abundance.
(A gibberish definition.  Not true.  Just made it up for the laugh.)

Tonight was the first time in history that a Toastmaster of The Evening opened his remarks with the word PLETHORA.  In the next 12 months, that will happen 30 times.
(This was a perfect tie in.  The group was very amused that the TM had, just by chance, used the word.  The Roger Bannister comparison was perfect.)

I remember years ago when I told people I was going to become a humorist.  They said:  “You’re crazy!”  That’s why I’m so good at it.
(Joke and a topper.  Big laugh.)

I ran into Bob Baxter last week.  I asked him:  “What time is it?”  And he gave me the time of day.
(Plays with the double meaning of “gave me the time of day.”  It got a bigger laugh than I expected.)

Randy told us the truth.  Being treasurer is an easy job.  I’m treasurer of the National Speakers Association Chapter.  All I have to do is:  Collect the money.  Deposit the money.  And go to the roulette wheel.
(An easy triplet.  A good laugh.)

Bill Lusk was late today.  Actually he wasn’t planning on coming, but his ears were burning.  And he needed to be here to correct the facts in Randy’s speech.
(A good connection between a speech and a late arrival.  Joke.  Topper.  Excellent laugh.)

In closing, I’m thankful…that you laughed at my jokes!
(A good closer.)