Observational Humor Master

Here is a response to several questions about the Observational Humor segment in a Toastmasters meeting, posted in the comment section of Observational Humor Case Study #25, By Sol Morrison, Santa Barbara, California, USA.

The Observational Humor segment comes just before the General Evaluator evaluates the overall meeting.  It is placed there so that nearly the entire meeting has been conducted, yet the Observational Humor is still held accountable for good taste because the General Evaluator has the last word.  The segment is listed on the printed agenda. 

The Observational Humor segment replaces the Joke Master (where a member tells a joke). 

The position of Observational Humor Master is rotated among the members who want the challenge.  Before the OH Master presents his/her monologue, the floor is open to all members to present observational humor lines.  At a typical meeting of 25 members, about 7 members will have observations to share.  No one is forced to do Observational Humor.   The entire Observational Humor part of the meeting might take 10 minutes.

We do Observational Humor at every meeting.  For most people, it’s one of the high points of the meeting.  Our club has the reputation of having fun and energized meetings.  We have one of the largest clubs in the District, about 40 members.  Our meetings are 90 minutes.  The majority of our members also have membership in another club.  We have about 60 clubs in Las Vegas.  It’s a great Toastmasters town.

I’d say that our members enjoy the Observational Humor.  We try to keep the humor non offensive.  However over the years, there may have been a small number who didn’t enjoy it (for whatever reason), and I would guess that they’re now enjoying the company of another club.  One size does not fit all. 

One new thing we’re adding to our OH (Observational Humor) segment is to ensure that the Best Humor Ribbon does not necessarily go to someone speaking during the OH part of the meeting.  Occasionally it goes to the Toastmaster of the Evening who does a fun and funny job of putting the meeting together.  Or it might go to a guest who gets a laugh introducing him or herself to the club.  Sometimes it might go to a member who almost never uses humor who delivers one great line during the OH session, perhaps winning over the OH Master who delivers a good monologue.  Or to a speaker or table topics person who demonstrates a humor technique that we’d like to highlight.  We explain WHY the person is winning the Best Humor Ribbon,  making it an Educational Moment.