Observational Humor — Case Study #74

Here is the analysis of an Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a Toastmasters meeting.

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

1.  Ryan announced that he would be stepping into the role of MC for the evening because Mary, the person scheduled for the job, could not attend the meeting due to family problems.

2.  A speaker talked about telling a story in the third person.

3.  A speaker ran overtime.  His evaluator suggested that, to save time, he could have dropped the part of the speech where he made side comments to David about his Physics speech the previous week.

4.  At the start of the meeting, the President pointed out where the restrooms were located.

5.  We were meeting for the second time in a new location.

6.  Directly behind the speaker was an office door.  It was room 318.  The room number was marked with a Post-It Note.

7.  The word of the day was Install.

8.  We used to meet at the US Bank Building next to Palace Station Casino.

9.  The walls of the room were covered with 100+ nail holes patched with white plaster which had not been painted over.

10.  In the front corner of the room, eight electrical sockets had been installed.

11.  Bill gave a speech about playing the clarinet.  Had three volunteers demonstrate the right way to blow on the reed.  There was a good amount of loud squawking and screeching.

12.  Bill’s speech ran a little overtime.

13.  Bill had three volunteers join him to demonstrate the proper technique for playing the clarinet.  He had one of them blow into the instrument while Bill pressed the keys to play a song.  His speech evaluator suggested that he could have collected the mouth pieces and reeds from the other two volunteers and sent them back to their seats, since they were just standing there watching with nothing to do.

13.  Bill used the Yiddish word KIBITZ.  His speech evaluator said that he didn’t know what that word meant.

14.  Frank, an accomplished piano player, was attending the meeting.

15.  A speaker presented a magic show/speech using a mind-reading goose.

16.  An audience member was asked to think of a number.  The goose predicted that he would think of NINE.

17.  Herman Cain, Republican presidential candidate, was currently promoting his tax plan called 9-9-9.

18.  I noticed that the evaluation portion of the meeting (which includes the Observational Humor segment and which takes about 20 minutes) was scheduled for 15 minutes on the printed agenda.

19.  We had three prepared speakers.  All three failed to meet either the minimum or maximum time limits for their speeches.


I almost didn’t make it here tonight.  I was having trouble with Mary’s family.  I was especially having trouble with the third person.
(I was playing with the absurd suggestion that Mary’s family had an impact on my getting to the meeting.  I was also “dropping myself into the story.”  Mary’s family was not about me…but I put myself into the story anyway.  The THIRD PERSON reference provided a good topper and got a very good laugh.)

We’re short on time tonight so I won’t use any filler material.  That’s a physics problem, isn’t it David?
(A good call-back as I modeled a behavior which had been criticized.  The  technique is MODELING THE FORBIDDEN.  Anytime someone suggests that something specific should not be done, doing it will often get a laugh.  I frequently use this technique.)

If you need to use the restroom, you’ll find it (gesturing out the window) at the US Bank building across from Palace Station.
(This was an absurd suggestion since the US Bank building was nearly ten miles away.)

This is Ryan’s office.  That’s where the restrooms really are…indoor plumbing.  In his office you’ll find the Install.  When it’s out of order you can go to the parking lot and use the Outstall.
(The OFFICE joke set up the INSTALL joke and the OUTSTALL topper.)

We introduced an innovation at last week’s meeting.  People who used too many AHs faced a firing squad.  I’m pleased to see that they patched the bullet holes.
(This joke came from Asking-The-Question.  The walls had been prepared for painting, the nail holes in the drywall had been patched.  I asked, what else could this be.  Also the element of “something everyone notices” makes it a good target for humor.  Then I made it relevant to the group by connecting it with counting-AHs.)

And I noticed that it looks like we’ve had sufficient wiring installed to hook up our electric chair.
(This follows the theme of innovations.  I also asked the question:  Why so many plug-in outlets?)

You probably noticed that there are no cats here.  The reason…clarinet lessons. 
(The cats set up the recall of the squeaky clarinets.)

Bill didn’t collect the reeds because he didn’t want to be accused of schlepping reeds.
(A great way to recall the reference to KIBITZ was to use another Yiddish word.)

Next week I’ll be playing the piano.  I’ll be standing behind the piano…Frank will be pressing the keys.
(This joke paints a funny picture.)

On weekends, Al rents out his mind-reading goose to Herman Cain.   Nine-nine-nine.
(I linked the random selection of NINE to something in the news.)

This building is in as time warp.  That explains why we’re able to schedule the Master Evaluator’s report, Evaluator one, Evaluator two, Evaluator three, The Ah counters report, the Gramarian, the Timer’s report, AND the Observational Humor, all in 15 minutes.  That’s also why our speeches appeared to be outside the time limits, but actually weren’t.
(This joke links two time-related observations with the concept of time warp.  Silly but it worked.)