Observational Humor — Case Study #46

Here’s an Observational Humor monologue used at the end of the first day of a Fripp Speakers School.

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

1.  Fripp mentioned that a speaker was tall, and had long, pretty hair.

2.  An effective phrase as part of a speech opening might be:  “In the next few minutes you’ll learn…”

3.  Someone suggested, as part of a speech opening, that you could say:   “…information which you will take away.”

4.  Fripp pointed out that the word “stuff” is weak, non-specific and does not build credibility.

5.  Fripp said it’s best not to put your hands in your pockets, especially for men:  “Men are genetically prone to jingle.”

6.  A speaker put his hands in his pockets.  Fripp grabbed his pockets to see what was inside.

7.  Fripp shared that, “Logic makes you think.  Emotion makes you act.”

8.  A speaker opened a story about someone dying in a hospital with “I wish you could have been there.”  Fripp suggested that you only use that opening for a fun and happy event.

9.  We were told “there is not such thing as a boring subject…only boring speakers.”


I know what you’re thinking.
Sure you’re tall.
But your hair isn’t long.
And it’s not pretty.
How could you possibly be funny.

(A call back to the tall/long/pretty comment.  A disconnect between those physical descriptions and being funny.  A bit of self-deprecation mentioning the thought that I don’t look funny.)

In the next few minutes you’ll laugh…or you’ll take away some techniques not to use.
(Self-deprecation suggesting that my humor might bomb.)

I’m going to share some funny stuff.
(A simple line re-visiting the word STUFF.)

It’s time for a jingle.
You heard the speaker was really hip.
So you packed your bag and took a trip.
It’s more than fluff.
Much more than stuff.
The speaking master’s name is Fripp.
(This “jingle” was just a simple limerick.  It wasn’t meant as a stand-along joke, but was used only as a set-up for the following two jokes.)

I’m a man…I’m genetically prone to jingle.
I bring that up hoping that Fripp will want to feel what’s in my pockets.

(The first line received a good laugh.  The second line, a huge laugh.)

Today I learned that:
Logic makes you think.
Emotion makes you act.
And stuff makes you laugh.

(Making STUFF a running gag.)

I wish you could have been there.  He was strapped to a gurney in the execution chamber.  It was so much fun.
(Using the opposite of a happy situation to re-visit the “wish you could have been there” line.  Big laugh after “It was so much fun.”

As a final thought:  There is no such thing as an un-funny subject.  There are only un-funny speakers.
(Not a huge laugh, but a good closer recalling a piece of advice and substituting the word FUNNY.  Simple and effective.)