Observational Humor — Case Study #50

Here is another Observational Humor monologue from the second day of a Fripp Speakers School.

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

1.  Someone sitting next to Isaak mentioned that her fingers were tingling.  Someone else joked that it wasn’t BECAUSE she was sitting next to Isaak.

2.  Fripp said that Botox, used in facial cosmetic surgery, causes the face to lack expression.

3.  Fripp used a gesture when she said “the words” (fingers sweeping from below the chin to in front of the mouth).  She said that it had an obscene meaning in Italian, but that she wasn’t using it in that way.

4.  Fripp introduced a penalty-bowl and charged a one-dollar fine for anyone using the word STUFF.  Guy Burns was assessed more fines than anyone else.

5.  Fripp used the word CEREBRAL three times and had trouble pronouncing it each time she used it.

6.  When students asked questions, they were normally handed a microphone to capture the question on the recording.  A few times, the microphone didn’t reach them.  Fripp was wearing a wireless headset and would lean into them:  “Speak into my cheek.”

THE MONOLOGUE (Not delivered due to lack of time.)

I thought it would be appropriate, as the workshop ends, to answer some of your questions.  First, I’ll give you the answer and then I’ll read your question:  (The entire monologue is in the reverse-question format, popularized by Johnny Carson as Carnak the Magnificent. Most people are familiar with this format and those who are not seem to pick it up quickly, without a complicated explanation.)

The answer is:  My fingers started tingling.
And the question is:  What happened when you first met Isaac?

(Dropping myself into the story.)

The answer is:  Botox.
And the question is:  What is the key to your great deadpan delivery?
(Self deprecation.  A reference to my low-key delivery.)

The answer is:  No bookings in Italy.
And the question is:  What is the result of “the words” (doing the Italian gesture) Fripp uses?
(Using cause-and-effect to create a punchline.)

The answer is:  Guy Burns.
And the question is:  Who is a one-man money machine for the Stuff Bowl?

(A simple observation.  Funny because it’s something that everyone noticed.)

The answer is:  Cerebral.
And the question is:  What do Mensa members need to be, even if they can’t pronounce it?

(Makes the logical assumption that Fripp would be a likely candidate for Mensa and sets aside the pronunciation issue by making light of it.)

The answer is:  Speak into my cheek.
And the question is:  What has a dangerous double-meaning if you say it while bending over?
(Plays with the double meaning of the word CHEEK.  A good closer.)