Observational Humor — Case Study #69

Here is another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting.

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

1.  Linda Evans was the emcee for the program.  The theme was FLAMBOYANT.  Woven into the flow of the meeting were facts about the life of Liberace, famous entertainer in the 1950s-1970s.  The Liberace Museum in Las Vegas had recently closed.  As a prop, she used a large ribbon with the word LIBERACE printed on it.

2.  A speaker talked about Hot Yoga where you stretch and exercise in a hot room.  She humorously referred to it as Hot, Horrible and Sweaty.

3.  Nine days before the meeting I won Third Place at the District 33 International Speech Contest.

4.  At the start of the meeting, the club President mentioned doing something “so that you’d remember my face.”  Soon after, one of the first speakers referenced the same phrase:  “So you’d remember my face.”

5.  Two speech evaluators mentioned that speaking without notes improves your presentation.

6.  In a speech evaluation, Pam said that she didn’t like it when a speaker starts a speech asking the audience to close their eyes.  She joked:  “I’m afraid someone will steal my purse!”

7.  Ryan was given an impromptu speech topic and asked to deliver it in a flamboyant, Liberace style.  His natural style is non-flammable.

8.  Ronny gave a speech where he talked about his phobias of flying and being underground in a mine.

9.  Ronny referred to STALAGTITES as STAGTITES.

10.  Linda was referring to the candelabra on Liberace’s piano and accidentally said “candelabra on his refrigerator.”

11.  A speaker talking about yoga mentioned the downward-dog pose and the corpse pose.

12.  A speaker talked about a road trip thru Utah.  She noticed a deer lying in the middle of the road.  As she passes, the deer raised its head.  It was alive.  She was afraid to move the deer, so she called 911 and waited for the Highway Patrol to arrive.  On arriving, the officer said: “I think you should be on your way.”  As they pulled away, they saw the officer take his rifle out of the patrol car.  It appeared that the officer was going to “put the deer out of it’s misery.”

13.  Linda, the program emcee, performed a magic trick to introduce the Observational Humor Master (me).  She used the Liberace ribbon which she had been displaying for the entire meeting.  Performing the torn-and-restored ribbon trick, she tore up the Liberace ribbon and then unfolded it and the restored ribbon read John Kinde…but it was upside down.  Then I was introduced.

THE MONOLOGUE (A strong monologue with 16 good to huge laugh lines.)

I’m not going to stand on my head.
(Good response primarily because the set-up happened immediately before I delivered the line.  Keep your eyes and ears open until just before you begin your remarks.)

It was hot.  It was horrible.  It was sweaty.  And I still managed to take third place.
(The punchline was based on a call-back and switch.  I picked up my third-place award and held it up.  I created the awful place and it turned out to be the District contest.  All in fun, for the sake of the joke.  It wasn’t horrible at all.)

(I opened the floor to Observational Humor from the members.  Ryan volunteered first and told a joke that didn’t immediately connect with the audience.)
Ryan told you that joke so that you’d remember his face.
(I had a variation of this line in the monologue:  “People always ask me why I volunteer to be the Observational Humor Master.  It’s so you’ll remember my face.”  After Ryan’s joke, I reworded the line applying it to him.  It worked perfectly, and appeared to be more spontaneous used that way, than as a planned, scripted line.)

I considered delivering this monologue without notes…but I decided that I’d rather be funny.
(The truth is funny.  I’d rather remember the lines than count on an unreliable memory.  A bit of self-deprecation, implying that I’m not capable of memorizing my own monologue.)

One of the speakers at the District Speech Contest had the audience close their eyes.  That’s when I stole Pam’s purse.
(I dropped myself into Pam’s story/phobia.)

I remember auditioning for a part in a play about 12 years ago.  The director had me read some lines.  He then told me to repeat the lines and flame out.  Like Ryan…I don’t flame.
(True story.  Connected Ryan’s non-flamboyant style with my own non-flammable style.)

Next week you’ll see a new ribbon on our banner.  Liberace.  You saw it here first…tonight.
(A simple link of the Liberace ribbon, which was displayed many times by the emcee, to the many banner ribbons which were on display at the front of the room for the entire meeting.)

I’m planning a dream vacation on a two-person submarine diving to 15,000 feet.  I’m going to remind myself not to go with Ronny.
(Huge laugh.  Ronny referred to up-in-the-air and under-ground phobias, so I thought it would work to add under-water to the list.)

Ronny mis-pronounced stalagtites as staglites.  I looked up staglites in the dictionary.  It has two definitions:
  – The favorite beer of single men.
  – Illumination from a candelabra on a man’s refrigerator.
(I took the liberty of changing his STAGTITES mis-pronunciation to STAGLITES.  Then I referenced my imaginary dictionary.  In the second punchline, I revisited the candelabra reference.)

It’s time for my yoga pose demonstration. 
(Big laugh.  Stiff, old me?  Do yoga?  Right!  Self deprecation.)
I was going to do the downward dog.  But the ambulance isn’t here yet.
(Self-deprecation.)
So instead I’ll do:
  – The Pink Flamingo
  – The Smiling Cat
  – And the dead deer…also known as the corpse pose.
(Made up two poses to set up the call back of the dead deer and reference to the corpse pose.  All my poses looked identical to the corpse pose.)

If you’re ever driving through Utah and you see me lying in the middle of the road.   When you see me raise my head…listen closely…as I’ll be saying:  “Don’t call the cops!”
(Dropped myself into someone else’s story.  Implied punchline: “I survived being hit by a car.  I don’t want to die.” Very big laugh.  Good closer.)