Archive for April, 2010

Observational Humor — Case Study #54

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Here is an Observational Humor monologue presented a the end of a club meeting.

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

1.  It was announced that today was David’s birthday.  David spoke up and said that today was NOT his birthday.

2.  A speaker (from Korea) said that some of the first phrases in English he learned were:  Hi, Bye, Thank You and I’m Hungry.

3.  I noticed that Ryan usually laughed at his own jokes.

4.  Pam said that she hated Three Stooges movies and would only watch one if you Duct-Taped her to a chair.  He partner is Bryant.

5.  Karen said that her first home was built in 1910.  She is one of our senior Toastmasters.

6.  A speaker mentioned the word DYSLEXIA.

7.  Darren sang a few bars of a song, but prefaced his singing with saying that he can’t sing.


March 1 is pick your own birthday day.  The great thing is that you can pick your year. 
(This is a joke with a topper.  The first line creates a non-existent holiday.  The topper plays with people’s desire to pick their own age.)

I perform humor at a Korean school.  I don’t speak Korean, but I know key humor phrases, such as:  Hi, Bye, Thank You and I’m Hungry.
(A good call back of phrases which are not thought of as funny.)

Here’s a humor secret from the Ryan Mulligan School of Humor.  To guarantee that your jokes are funny…laugh at your own punchlines.
(An observation which was good for laugh.  It helps that other people probably noticed the same thing, but they didn’t give it much thought.)

Last week Pam said that she would only watch a Three Stooges movie if you duct-taped her to a chair.  On the way home I stopped at WalMart and saw Bryant buying a Three Stooges DVD and a roll of Duct Tape.

(Of course I didn’t really see Bryant at WalMart.  But the joke implies that Bryant is getting ready for a fun video night at home.)

Karen said that her first home was built in 1910.  I was impressed that for their first home, they would have bought a new one.
(This is a time-released joke which required a larger pause than normal.  It will take the audience time to process the implied joke.  It implies that Karen must be over 120 years old.)

I have a friend who has dyslexia.  He says bad things about Lexus cars.
(DISS-LEXUS.  I wasn’t sure this line would work…but it did.)

Darren told us he can’t sing.  And then he spent 60 seconds proving it.
(Linking the apology with PROVING it.)

Humor Contest Results — Celebrity Couples

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

It’s time for the results of our Celebrity Couples humor contest.  This month’s theme was suggested by Sol Morison from Santa Barbara. 

New Joke Contests    are announced on the first of the month (alternating months).

New Cartoon Caption Contests are announced on the first of the month (alternating months).  The next caption contest is May 1, 2010.

Here are this month’s top lines selected by our panel of ten judges (speakers and improv players):


Peter and Val A. Parker
     Jim Spero, Las Vegas, Nevada


Farrah and Lee K. Fawcett
     Marty Bernstein, Oak Park, Illinois


Harrison and Iona Ford
      Tom Nee, OakLawn, Illinois

Muddy and Delta Waters
     Candace, Crofton, Maryland

HONORABLE MENTION (in random order)
  – Kevin and Maykin Bacon
  – Citizen and Candy Kane
  – Orlando and Rose Bloom
  – Hardy and Ben D. Rhodes
  – Michael and Ima Savage
  – Will and Silver Smith
  – Elton and Onda John
  – Johnny and Anita Cash
  – Steve and Wanda Jobs
  – Bill and Pearl E. Gates
  – Harry and Miss Reid
  – John and Sharon Candy
  – Billy and Candy Graham
  – John and Bambi Deere
  – John and Doe Raimey
  – Barack and Tuscaloosa Al Obama
  – Nicolas and Tiger Cage
  – Kate and Pete Moss
  – Sean and Ivory Combs
  – Brad and Cheri Pitt
  – Brad and Olive Pitt
  – Doris and Valentine Day
  – Charlie and Gus Sheen
  – Dalai and Dolly Lama
  – Dinah and Sandy Shore
  – Lloyd and London Bridges
  – Ansel and Gretel Adams
  – Dick and Daisy Cheney
  – The Wright Brothers and the Wong Sisters
  – Stephen and Bea Stills
  – Diane and Boom Boom Cannon
  – Ernie and Robin Banks
  – Mary J. and Ima Blige
  – Kim and “Ma” Jong-Il
  – Eartha and Etta Kitt
  – George and Sunny Burns
  – Anita and Ginger Cookie Baker
  – Elijah and Ebony Wood
  – Garry and Les S. Moore
  – Eddie and Dee Cantor
  – Pauly and Sandy Shore
  – Isla and Marlin Fisher
  – Norman and “Stonewall” Rockwell
  – Christopher and B. Mia Guest
  – Sheryl and Raven Crow
  – Johnny and Summer Winter
  – Carrot and “Pop” Top
  – Johnny and Penny Cash
  – Dinah and Rocky Shore
  – Paula and A. Prentiss
  – Mickey and Olive Oyl Spillane
  – Wilson and Ivana Pickett
  – Steven and Jonathan Livingston Seagal
  – Gerard and Juan Way
  – William and Bea Holden
  – Kate and River Hudson
  – Max and Woody Planck
  – Lee and Sargeant Majors
  – Willie and April Mays
  – Sid and Viv Vicious
  – Stevie and I. May Wonder
  – Beatrice and King Arthur
  – Drew and Cordie Roy
  – Artie and Rick Shaw
  – Henry and Ivana B. Kissinger
  – Nelson and Ima Riddle
  – Anna and Carmela Kournikova
  – Rhoda and Moe R. Grass
  – LeBron, LeSilver and LeGold James
  – George Roy and Beverly Hill
  – J. Paul and S. “Pa” Getty
  – Teri and C. Garr
  – Charles and Diamond Ringling
  – Ringo and Lucky Starr
  – Tyra and Robin Banks
  – Russell and Juana Crowe
  – Ted and Page Turner
  – Bernie and Sue Mac
  – Michael and Sugar Caine
  – Morgan and Ivana B. Freeman
  – Michelle and Al Obama
  – Tom and River Cruise
  – Tina and Paige Turner
  – Tiger and Twiggy Woods
  – Jamie and Sly Foxx
  – Henry Cabot and Moose Lodge
  – Rev. Jeremiah and Eileen Wright

Observational Humor — Case Study #53

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Here’s another Observational Humor monologue.  It’s not provided to make you laugh (you probably had to be there), but to give you insight into what makes humor work.

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

1.  A speech evaluator pointed out how a speaker increased the energy in the opening of her speech by standing at the back of the room immediately before being introduced.

2.  The theme of the meeting was “Being Happy for No Reason.”

3.  Bill told us he was a retired Air Force air crew member.  He also said he raced cars.  He was “the fastest old man in the group and the oldest fast man.”

4.  A speaker who was a juggler said he didn’t want to tell his mother he had become a professional juggler…so he told her he was in jail.  He also joked that growing up he had no friends.

5.  A speaker told about playing soccer with the Czech national team.  He mentioned dribbling and passing the ball.

6.  Dana said that I was a funny person and drove a funny car.

7.  A speaker talked about whether you should “rent or own” and related it to original material for your talks.


Before I was introduced, I stood up at the back of the room.  Which explains my high energy.
(Self-deprecation of my low-energy style.)

At the end of this monologue you will be happy…for no reason.
(A call back provided a great opening line.)

I have several things in common with Bill.  I’m retired from the Air Force.  I am a former air crew member.  And I’m the slowest old man…and the oldest slow man.
(The rule of three.  And a reversal.)

I’m a typical humorist.  I grew up with no friends.  And my mother thinks I’m in jail.
(Good call back, dropping myself into somebody else’s story.)

I played soccer with the Czech national team.  They were not impressed.  The entire time I was on the field I was dribbling.
(Activated by the double meaning of the word DRIBBLE.)

Dana said I drove a funny car.  That’s not true.  But it does hold twenty clowns.
(A twist provide by the stereotype of a clown car.)

Should you rent or own?  When it comes to humor…jokes are renting.  When you use Observational Humor…you own it.
(Not especially funny, but great closer which makes a good point.)

Fun In The Workplace

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Two years ago, I was meeting a friend for lunch at a cooking school in Las Vegas.  I knew the school was in a large complex of new office buildings, but didn’t know exactly where it was.  My first choice is always to ask for directions, so I stepped into the first office building I came to.  It was lunch time and there were about 20 people in the front office, coming and going.  The room was filled with laughter and happy faces.  It felt like a party was happening.  One of the people walked me outside pointed me to the cooking school which was about a block away.

The energy in that office made a lasting impression.  It turned out to be the headquarters.

Last week I had the opportunity to tour Zappos and meet CEO Tony Hsieh.  What an amazing company!  And Tony impressed me as an analytical person with a focus on long-term growth.  He cares about people.  Ideal qualities for a leader.

The tour was set up by Liz, who listed her job description as Time Ninja.  The web site referred to the people who work at Zappos as Zapponians.  I knew I was in for an interesting tour.

When I arrived for the tour, the front office was again filled with laughter and smiles.  It was obvious that people were enjoying their day.  The one-hour tour included all areas of the headquarters which is home to about 800 people.  Nearly everyone had their own cubicle, including CEO Tony.  No big fancy office for the Chief.  Each team’s area was decorated differently, from fantasy themes, to jungle themes, and other unique environments.  We walked by the “nap room” where two people were sound asleep.  In the lunch room I discovered there is such a thing as a free lunch.  It was a happy place to work.

In the front office I had noticed what appeared to be a mini book store. Personal development books, maybe forty titles, lined the shelves.  I asked Tony if it was a Lending Library.  He said, “No.  It’s a Giving library.  If someone sees a book which looks interesting, they’re welcome to take it.”  That includes employees and visitors!  Tony picked out three of his favorites and gave them to me to take home.

The corporate culture of Zappos has evolved over the past ten years to what it is today.  They now share with other companies how they can create a WOW customer experience.  Anyone can take a tour.  They make it easy.  It’s free.  They’ll even send a shuttle to pick you up at your hotel. In addition to their web sites, they offer workshops for other companies, sharing their success story.

Watch for Tony Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness, which is being released in June 2010.  It will give you great insight into the building of a unique and thriving company which went from zero to over one billion dollars in sales in less than ten years.  I’ve read an advance copy and I highly recommend the book.

I mentioned the tour to my mother while chatting on the phone.  Mom is a retired switchboard operator and former call center supervisor for Disney.  She is 85 years old and I wasn’t sure she would know the name Zappos.  But she did.  “I remember calling them.  It was one of the nicest experiences I’ve had.”

If only everyone we did business with was so nice!

Joke Contest — Celebrity Couples

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Our contest theme for April, Celebrity Couples, is inspired by Sol Morrison from Santa Barbara, California.  Here are some examples:

Eddie and Bunny Rabbitt
Pat and Bab Boone
Don and Toulouse Knott

Your challenge is to create an imaginary couple using one person’s real first and last name and making up a partner’s name which lends itself to a humor twist.  The made-up partner first name should be a real name or possibly a real nickname.  Don and Square Knott has a nice twist, but it’s not likely that Square would be someone’s real name.

How many couple names can you create?  Edit your best ones and submit them to by April 14, 2010.  Your first three entries will be eligible for Top Three recognition.  Additional entries may be published as Honorable Mention.