Observational Humor — Case Study #30

Here’s another Observational Humor Monologue presented at a Toastmasters meeting.  If you’re not a Toastmaster, keep in mind that these case studies apply equally to any speaking situation:  A business meeting, a networking meeting, a PTA meeting, and more.  And your end goal is not to create monologues, but to sharpen your ability to create just one Observational Humor line to open a presentation.

This is a long and excellent monologue.  It was presented at the end of a high-energy meeting with about 35 members and guests present.

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

1.  The theme of the meeting was generated by the visit of Kai Steinbach who lives in Spain.  The meeting’s theme was:  Coming To America.

2.  Kai served as our General Evaluator (someone who critiques the conduct of the entire meeting).  Some of the comments he made:
  –  He noted that this was a funny club.  He said that he had been to other clubs where you find that occasionally a speaker is funny.  In this club, he noted that you have to look hard for a speaker who ISN’T funny.
  – He noted that time limits for our impromptu speeches (30-90 seconds) were shorter than what many other clubs use (one to two minutes).

3.  Immediately after Kai’s General Evaluator Report, he introduced me, the Observational Humor Master.

4.  Bryant Pergerson gave a talk on how to write a speech.  He took suggestions from the audience to create a speech on the spot.  It ended up being a speech about Aliens.  One of the questions asked was, “Do aliens gamble?”

5.  Bryant commented on the coincidence that my last two contest speeches were about Space Aliens and Gambling.

6.  Bryant was sitting in the front of the room.  His son, visiting from out-of-state, was sitting in the back of the room.  Their last name is Pergerson.

7.  The person assigning impromptu speech topics to members, gave a topic to a member whose name he didn’t know.  He said, “You…Sir.”   This was later critiqued by the General Evaluator who suggested that we use name badges.

8.  A member mentioned Area 51, the Top Secret government area where Space Alien research is allegedly conducted.

9.  My Tall Tales speech last spring was about Space Aliens and I “came out” as a space alien.

10.  S Frank Stringham, The Toastmaster (emcee) of the meeting, introduced a speaker saying that the speaker’s goal was to eventually give a competition speech what would beat a speech given by S Frank Stringham.

11.  This fall I won First Place in our club humor contest.  S Frank Stringham also competed in that contest.

12.  Inspired by the meeting theme (Coming to America), the subjects that came up during the meeting were:  Columbus, Indian Reservations, Is the world flat?

13.  Someone commented that if someone from the other side of the world were dropped into the middle of Las Vegas, they wouldn’t know what to think of it.

14.  People who have been to Las Vegas and walked the famous Las Vegas Strip are familiar with the people on the sidewalks who pass out “adult entertainment–escort flyers.”  To get your attention, before they try to hand you a flyer, they hold the flyer in one hand and flap it on the open palm of their other hand.

15.  A speaker gave a speech about a guy on a date who had an accident in his pants.  What he thought was going to be gas turned out to be a solid.  And he was wearing tan pants.


I have this uncomfortable feeling that I’ll be the first one tonight who isn’t funny.
(My first two jokes followed on the heels of the Master Evaluator’s comments.  My monologue was written as I listened to his remarks, and I created my first two lines in my head just before I was introduced.  Opening with something that just happened is a great way to open your remarks.)

Our observational remarks tonight will be one to two seconds in length.
(This is the second line I was talking about.  I took the “short impromptu speech” remark to an extreme and applied it to the Observational Humor segment.)

As the expert…Yes…Aliens gamble. 
(The pauses built the tension for the punchline.  It combined the content of Bryant’s talk with an implied reference to my two previous contest talks.)

When I came to the meeting tonight, I had no idea Bryant would be writing my next speech.
(Stating what seemed to be a pretty obvious connection.)

It’s great to have the Perger family here tonight.  In the front of the room is the Perger-Dad and in the back of the room is the Perger-Son.
(Their real name is Pergerson.  I couldn’t resist playing with the name.)

Does anyone have any observational humor tonight.  Yes…You sir!
(A medium but good response.  The weakest line of the monologue.)

I came to America…from Area 51.  I’m proud to be the original alien.
(A call back to my Tall Tales Speech.)

I have a goal to give a humorous speech that will beat a humorous speech by S Frank Stringham.
(A call back using parallel construction.)

Wait…I’ve already done that.  (taking pen and boldly crossing an item off my list)  Don’t you just love crossing something off your To-Do List?
(Since this line was actually a topper, it was unexpected, and that gave it more power.  A huge laugh.)

Columbus discovered America…and all the people who were already living here. 
(Stating the obvious is funny.)

Actually the world is flat.  It may look round, but it isn’t.  A pie looks round…but everyone knows that Pie-R-Square.
(A connection between FLAT and the sides of a SQUARE.  I used a cliche mathematical term to drive the joke.)

I attended the District Conference two weeks ago.  I had trouble checking into the hotel.  They asked where I was from.  I told them Las Vegas.  The CITY of Las Vegas, they asked?  Yes.  “I’m sorry…you can’t check in unless you have a reservation.”
(The subject of Reservations was brought up several times during the meeting.  The line received a strong response.)

If you drop a stranger into the middle of Las Vegas, I don’t think they’d have any trouble understanding the Neon Lights, the Volcano, the Fountains.  But I don’t think they’d understand the guys in front of the hotels…(doing the flap gesture with a flyer.  Then I shrugged as if “who would ever understand something like that.”  Just the gesture with no words.)

I learned something tonight.  This is the last time I’ll ever wear tan pants!
(It happened that I WAS wearing tan pants.  I knew that the “accident in the pants” speech would be the topic of many jokes that evening.  And it was, maybe 10 or 12 jokes during the meeting…some of them extremely funny.  Except for my closing line, I intentionally avoided the topic in my monologue.  The first reason is that the joke would be too easy.  Second, the joke would be worn out by the time I used it.  Third, I’m inclined to stay away from jokes that involve bodily functions, although I must admit they can be very funny.)