Observational Humor — Case Study #16

Here’s a short Observational Humor monologue presented at a Toastmasters meeting yesterday.

THE SET-UP (what was said and what happened before the monologue was presented)

1.  A speaker talking about sales presentations suggested pumping yourself up before a sales call by saying to yourself, “I like myself.  I like myself.  I like myself.”

2.  The grammarian introduced the Word Of The Day, CELEBRATE.  We were told that it was a transitive verb.  A couple of members indicated that they didn’t know the definition of Transitive Verb.

3.  A fire-safety engineer gave a speech on smoke control.  He specifically focused on smoke control in high-rise buildings.

4.  An evaluator, while suggesting that a speaker should had used more energy in his delivery, asked the question:  “Would an audience want to listen to that all day long?”

5.  Clark told the story of a boss who told him, on his first week on the job, “Come see me in two weeks and I’ll share with you the secret of success.”  Ten years later, he was still waiting to be told that secret.


(as I was standing to speak) I like myself.  I like myself.  I like myself!
(I thought, why not pump myself up before my monologue.  Perfect opener.  Big laugh.)

When the Word Of The Day was introduced, I thought:  “What a strange word.”  Then I realized the word had an R.
(I got the laugh letting the audience figure out what that word was.  I knew that for some of them, that word had already crossed their mind, and I could tell from their reaction that I was right.  I needed to keep the structure short, and not too wordy.  The letter R needed to be at the very end of the joke.)

Until I realized that there was an R, I was thinking:  “Celebate…is that a transitive verb?”
(A topper.  And yes, it’s really spelled Celibate…but close enough for the sake of the joke.  Comic license.)

Let me give you a fire safety tip for the next time you check into a hotel.  Do what I do.  Always ask for a non-smoking room.
(A clean and simple connection which plays with a double meaning.)

I have to admit, I’ve often asked myself: “Would anyone want to listen to me all day long?”  And that’s why I don’t speak all day long!
(There is humor in the truth.  I’m not a high-energy speaker.  I normally only do speeches which are one hour in length.  Although my humor adds the audience appeal and energy…it works well to poke fun at yourself even if you’re exaggerating or stretching the truth.)

Clark, since you gave a humorous speech today, I’ll share with you the secret to using humor…if you’ll come see me in two weeks.
(A perfect closer.  I paused before the punchline, while actually feeling a need to rush it a bit because I felt the punchline was too obvious.  But the pause helped magnify the punchline and it was a perfect closer.  I think maybe a couple of people saw it coming, but most did not.  The risk is that someone would give the punchline before I did!  The trick is to just relax and listen for the rhythm of the audience response.)