Observational Humor — Case Study #55

Here’s another Observational Humor monologue.  The set-up information helps you understand the context of the humor.  The monologue includes comments and analysis of why the humor works.

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

1.  The theme for the meeting was 9 to 5 (work and professions).

2.  A speaker was introduced as The Man, The Myth, The Legend.

3.  A speaker was delivering an Interpretive Reading speech.  We were told that this type of speech required excellent vocal variety.

4.  The emcee referred to the world’s oldest profession.

5.  I am a magician.

6.  The word-of-the-day was OUTSOURCING.

7.  The name of our club is PowerHouse Pros.

8.  My name badge indicates that I joined Toastmasters in 1973.

9.  Club member Bill Lusk joined Toastmasters more than ten years before I joined.

10.  We were told that the first people to be paid to work (Roman

soldiers) were paid with salt.

11.  Frank was assigned an impromptu speech topic:  If you were a fruit, what fruit would you be?

12.  It was implied that Pam knew more than Wikipedia.

13.  Pam’s partner is named Bryant.

14.  A speech evaluator critiqued a speaker for concluding his speech with a comment that his speech was mediocre.


The odds that this monologue will be funny are 9 to 5.
(A call back and uses the principle of “double meaning” of a phrase.)

I am your Observational Humor Master…The man…the myth…the legend.
(A call back.  And it’s the opposite of self-deprecation, which works well for someone who uses a lot of self-deprecation.  It received a very big laugh.)

Observational Humor is also known as Interpretive Humor…which fortunately does not require vocal variety.
(Self-deprecation.  An implied reference to my low-energy style.)

A lot of people don’t know it, but I’m a magician…the world’s oldest profession…doing tricks.
(An old magician joke recycled.  A topper using alternate word meaning.)

The truth is most of our members are in outsourcing professions.  So many, in fact, that our board is considering renaming our club Outhouse Pros.
(Word substitution to put a twist on our club name.)

I was looking at my name badge tonight and read “member since 1973.  I was feeling really old.  Then Bill Lusk walked in.
(Bill often jokes about his seniority.  That makes him a good target for a joke.)

I don’t want to say Bill and I are old, but our first payday we took home a bag of salt.
(Dropping myself into someone else’s story.  Placing Bill and me into a time in history.  I chose to make the joke about Bill AND me which helped create permission to do the joke.)

Until tonight I didn’t realize how versatile Frank is.  He’s a fruit, a nut and a ham.
(A play on food words, using ones that had double meanings.  It’s the alternate word meanings that trigger the humor.  And it uses the rhythm of a triplet.)

I saw an ad in yesterday’s paper:  Set of encyclopedias for sale.  Wife knows everything.  So I called to see how much.  Bryant answered the phone.
(I recycled an old joke and dropped Pam and Bryant into the story.)

That concludes my monologue…which was mediocre at best.
(Note the opening line of the monologue.  I book-ended the monologue with using similar-themed jokes to open and close.  A call back.  Excellent response.)