Observational Humor — Case Study #21

This is a review of an Observational Humor monologue presented at an NSA meeting featuring guest speaker Aldonna Adler.

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

1.  Aldonna mentioned that many speakers caught the flu at a recent NSA Speaker Palooza meeting two weeks earlier.  She said that’s why she might not be as perky as expected (she’s a very energetic speaker).

2.  An inside joke at my chapter is that I look like Mr Rogers.  (Not really…but my soft-spoken style is similar to his.)

3.  It was mentioned that all speakers can, at times, be “vanilla.”  Gaye joked that even she (an African American) could be Vanilla.

4.  Aldonna asked:  “Does anybody else get a rush when they cross a task off their Task List?

5.  During a break, the men noticed that the men’s room was filled with Santas.  They were having conference down the hall.

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7.  Twice during the meeting Aldonna referred to PPP twice (Previously Poor Person AND Patient Partnership Program).

8.  A question was asked:  “What does divorce cost?”  And it received a big laugh.

9.  It was noted that when people appear not to like us, it’s just that they’re preoccupied.

10.  It was noted that doing a teleseminar is like speaking to a group of people in their shorts.

11.  Someone said that there was a business selling PhDs for $125.


I attended Speaker Palooza two weeks ago.  Which may explain why I’m not as perky as you expected.
(This call back worked because I linked it to my low-key style.  A bit of self-deprecation.)

Like you expect perky from Mr Rogers.
(A call back to an inside joke.  Again poking fun at myself.)

I’m perky and Gaye Freedman is vanilla.
(A good connection.  A good call back.  A good laugh.)

(crossing off joke on my notepad)  Does anybody else get a rush when they cross a joke off their list?
(I was surprised that the action of crossing off the joke got a good laugh.  That was probably due to the effect of Riding-The-Wave.  They were already laughing at nearly everything I said.  The spoken line turned out to actually be a topper.)

What an unusual day.  I walked into a men’s room filled with Santas.  I wandered down the hall to see what kind of sessions they had at their conference. 
  – Elf Management
  – Ho Ho 101
  – I’m OK…You’re a Brat
(The Santas provided a VEHICLE for creating a list.)

I spoke to the US District Court in Des Moines a few months ago.  This is my lawsuit.
(This got a laugh, but was used primarily as a set-up for the following two jokes.)

That was a PPP.  A Pretty Painful Pun.
(A call back.  Worked well.)

I learned today that I in my suit I’m good looking, sophisticated and professional.  What concerns me is, what does that say about me when I’m NOT wearing a suit?
(Self-deprecation.  A good laugh.)

The program today was great.  I learned what’s funny and what’s not.  And I learned a lot about audiences.  Today’s funniest line was:  “What does divorce cost?”
(An observation.  A chance for the audience to laugh at themselves.  A good laugh.)

And I learned that if people don’t laugh at my jokes…it’s because they’re preoccupied!
(A call back.  A good laugh.)

When we put today’s workshop into action…in three months we’ll be speaking to guys in their shorts.  I’m not going to be able to sleep tonight.  And as soon at morning comes, I’ll jump on the phone and order my $125 PhD.
(Nicely wrapped up the monologue with “here’s what I’ll get out of today’s program.”)