Archive for December, 2009

Observational Humor — Case Study #48

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

Here’s an Observational Humor monologue from a Darren LaCroix humor workshop in Las Vegas.

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

1.  Darren mentioned that he is a very physical, high-energy speaker (which is true).

2.  Darren said that anyone contributing something to the program as an audience volunteer would receive a free CD of the program.

3.  We practiced creating a joke using the rule-of-three to set-up and deliver a punchline.  One joke was:  To motivate people you need sincerity, conviction and a gun.

4.  Darren demonstrated how the punchline tricks the mind, using the classic line:  Take my wife…please.

5.  Darren demonstrated character development in a story by giving one of his female characters the qualities of an Amazon woman.

6.  Darren mentioned that an ex-girlfriend was a teacher of the Law of Attraction.

7.  Darren presented an exercise, half and half:  I’m half French and half German…which means (punchline).

8.  I’m Norwegian heritage.

THE MONOLOGUE (Not delivered due to lack of time.  Remember that 90% of the value is in the creation of the monologue, not in the delivery.)

I know what you’re thinking…Oh no!  Another high-energy speaker.
(Self-deprecation.  I opened by immediately commenting on my contrasting, low-energy style.)

Is that enough to get my free CD?
(A topper and a quick and unexpected callback.)

I have a really funny joke to tell you.  I have a setup.  I have a punchline.  And I have a gun.
(A triple which sets up a punchline which is a callback.)

Take my wife…she’s an Amazon.
(Inserts a callback to switch a classic joke.)

Comedy secret #9.  Do what Darren does.  Surround yourself with people who are good at what they do.
  – His financial advisor is broke.
  – His fitness guru is in intensive care.
  – And his EX-girlfriend teaches the Law of Attraction.
(This is a triple that sets up a callback.  It’s based on the possible dis-connect, not the reality, between an attraction expert being an EX girlfriend.)

I’m half humorist and half Norwegian.  Which means that I’m funny…but you’d never know it.
(Self-deprecation.  I am funny, yes.  But most people would never guess it when first meeting me.)

Watch for the January 1 Ezine which will include an article on how to create “savers” (what to say when a line doesn’t work) based on Observational Humor.  We’ll examine three, original, one-time saver lines created during Darren’s workshop and analyze which is the most sure-fire one to use.  Subscribe to the ezine at

Christmas Cheer to Make You Smile

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Check out this fun arrangement of  The Twelve Days of Christmas, Straight No Chaser, Men’s A Capella, Indiana University.  Entertaining and very professionally done.  I heard about it from Loren Ekroth, Better Conversations Ezine.

Observational Humor — Case Study #47

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Here’s another monologue and analysis.  It was presented at the end of a Toastmasters meeting.

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

1.  Our club President opened the meeting with a toast.

2.  We had two guests who appeared to be about 16 years old.

3.  Ryan and David are two members in their early 20s.

4.  Our emcee for the evening announced the meeting theme:  “Kicking Bad Habits.”

5.  A speaker opened a quote starting with:  “Einstein once said…”

6.  A speaker gave a talk on The Science of Prime Numbers.

7.  A speaker gave a speech based on the book Love Languages.

8.  In an impromptu speech Barbel mentioned watching the “adult channel” in her bedroom.


I’ve been in Toastmasters for 36 years.  This is the first time I’ve seen a toast.  My life is complete.
(Irony.  One would expect that Toastmasters would always be doing toasts.  “My life is complete” is a topper.)

It’s great to see our young visitors tonight.  I’m especially happy they’re here, because Ryan and David can see what it feels like to be old men.
(This joke is a reversal.  Turning young people into old people.  Very good laugh.)

When Krista announced the theme of Kicking Bad Habits, I thought she said Kinking Bad Habits.  I thought that was strange, because that is the theme for next week.
(A joke based on a sound-alike word.  I suspected that I wasn’t the only one who heard “kinking” and I was right.  The “next week line” was a topper.)

Einstein once said:  “The person who can explain the science of prime numbers is not a nerd.  The person who can explain the science of prime numbers is a nerd squared.”
(Joke, topper, topper.  The first laugh line was “Einstein once said.”  Squaring the nerd fit the theme of the speech and was an alternate way of saying Super-Nerd.)

I’m writing a book on Love Languages.
     And heavy breathing
(A parody of the original book.  A huge laugh.)

Which reminds me to announce that after the meeting, there’s a party…at Barbel’s.  I’ll be taking notes for my book.
(A perfect closer.  The topper is a callback.)

Joke Contest Results — Blended Cities

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

It’s time for the results of our Blended Cities joke writing contest.  The contest theme was inspired by Sol Morrison of Santa Barbara.

New Joke Contests are announced mid-month.

New Cartoon Caption Contests are announced on the first of the month.

Here are this month’s top lines:


Maryland and Tijuana — Mary-Juana:  A city Bill Clinton visited but didn’t inhaled once while he was there.
     Darin Thompson, Smithfield, Utah, USA


Boulder and Landover — Boulderover: Where to impress that special lady.
     Marty Bernstein, Oak Park, Illinois, USA


Omaha and Oshkosh:  Omikosh: A town of many fantastic surprises.
     Gerald Fleischmann, Fountain Valley, California, USA

HONORABLE MENTION (in random order)

  – Council Bluffs and Anchorage — Courage: The city of bold innovation.
  – Antioch and Reno — The city of Anti-No: So which one is it?
  – Woonsocket and Atomic City — SocketTomi: The home of the Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In museum.
  – Sitka and Compton — SitCom: The town that’s a laugh a minute.
  – Altoona and Birmingham — ToonaHam: The home of new improved mystery meat.
  – Cincinnati and San Fransisco — Sin Sinsisco
  – Topeka and Simi Valley — Peekasimi: Home of annual hide and go seek tournament.
  – DeSoto and Fargo — Sofartogo: A way out of the way town.
  – Lincoln’s New Salem and Winston-Salem — Lincoln’s New Winston-Salem – Honest Abe smoked here.
  – Gerlach and Boise — Boislikegerls: A town steeped in traditional values.
  – Winnemucca and Mystic — Winnamystic: The city famous for its annual guru lottery.
  – Spokane and Boron — Spokabore: Last city that still lacks a Toastmasters club.
  – Tucumcari and Altoona — Twocancarryatoon: More duets per capita than in any other town.
  – Pensacola and Pittsburgh — Burgercola: This town holds Guinness record for eating the most fast food.
  – Pahrump and Goose Bay — Gooseparump: A town where people don’t let anyone get behind them.
  – St Petersburg and St Louis: A Heavenly City
  – Honolulu and Highlands Ranch — Lulu Land: A community of rare Lulu pigeons.
  – Copenhagen and Wellington — Copewell: A tropical city that has disaster plans for blizzards as well as alien invasions.
  – Limerick and Norfolk — Limefolk: Country town where they make (and eat) green cheese.
  – Winnipeg and Wellington — Winwell: A city of good sports.
  – Milwaukee and Baltimore — Waukmore: Where public transportation is your feet.
  – Wichita, Washington DC and Wellesley — Wishingwell: Where your dreams can come true.
  – Bird-in-Hand, Fort Worth, Two Rivers, Indianapolis and Bushland — Birdinhandworthtwoindybush: Come to our town and hold on to your bird!
  – Stinking Bay and Los Banos — Stinking Banos: Avoid this town.
  – Chicago and Baltimore — Gomore: Where Ex-Lax and Feenamint are made.
  – Big Sandy and Bangkok — Big Bang: Carl Sagan’s hometown.
  – Hannibal and Montana City — Hanna Montana: Teens favorite town.
  – Santiago and Climax — Anticlimax: Where to live when it’s over.
  – Minneapolis and Vancouver — Minnevan: The place to buy a family car.
  – Fort Worth and Toronto — Fortonto: Birthplace of The Lone Ranger’s sidekick.