Observational Humor — Case Study #78

Here’s another Observational Humor Monologue with an analysis of what makes the humor tick.

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

1.  The emcee of the evening was introduced by the club President.  His opening remark was “Thank You Mr President” in a very resonating and distinguished tone of voice.  He brought attention to it by saying: “I’ve always wanted to say that…Thank You Mr President!”  This repetition strengthened the set-up because of the repeat of the phrase and because it got a laugh.

2.  The theme of the meeting was Scuba Diving.

3.  The emcee talked about the physics of pressure on divers and the need for decompression.

4.  Scott Prichard, Third Place winner in the International Speech contest at last year’s convention in Las Vegas, was introduced as the American Idol of PowerHouse Pros Toastmasters Club.

5.  While talking about Scuba sign language, emcee Daniel demonstrated the many ways of signing OK.  From just using the hands and fingers, to using both arms to make a large circle, or using one free arm to make a circle with the hand touching the head.

6.  Wiring rolled up in an electrical box caught my eye for the first time at our club’s new permanent location. 

7.  Daniel talked about the history of Scuba Diving.  The first recorded dive was about 300 years ago.  The depth of the dive was not recorded.

8.  Describing breathing tanks for scuba diving, it was said that “breathing is over-rated anyway.”

9.  A speaker said that her goal when going boating is to not leave the boat.  She does not like to swim.

10.  The emcee said that the odds of having a malfunction of scuba equipment was “the square root of one percent.”  One of our members, an engineer, pointed out that the square root of .01 is .1 or TEN PERCENT.  He received a big laugh pointing out the fact that a 10% failure rate was not a good thing.

11.  Scott talked about a film featuring, among others, him and his friend Dink.  He joked about who was cast as his character.

12.  A speaker joked about chicken nuggets.

13.  Bill Parker told a story of losing his keys in a foul-smelling dumpster and climbing in to find them.


Thank you Master Evaluator…and thank you Mr President.
(Delivering Thank You Mr President in a deep voice.  A big laugh.  A perfect opener.)

We have had so much motivation tonight that we need to decompress.  We will do that by opening the floor to anyone with an Observational Humor remark.
(Light laughter.  But it didn’t matter because the line was serving as a transition point as we moved to member remarks.)

My name is John Kinde.  I lost to Scott Prichard in the International Speech Contest at the District level last year.  You could say I’m known as the Biggest Loser of PowerHouse Pros.
(When the American Idol of PowerHouse Pros was mentioned, I immediately thought “I am the BLANK of PowerHouse Pros” and went searching for the right title.  The Biggest Loser was perfect because it had a self-deprecation edge to it.  And it had the element of truth.  I DID lose to Scott.  Very good laugh.)

You may have noticed that I’m walking with a bit of a limp.  My hip is bothering me tonight.  But I’m OK.
(I delivered I’m OK in a whisper, mouthing the words, and gestured a large O with my free right arm.  A very big laugh.)

If this is your first meeting you’ll probably notice that we have been successful in eliminating verbal pauses, like AHS, from our talks.  We’ve discovered creative ways to do that.  I’m pleased to point out that they have installed the electrical wiring for our electric chair.
(I’ve used a similar line before, but I don’t believe it was at this location.  A good laugh.)

In the year 9050 BC, the first joke was told.  Back then they didn’t measure the length of the laughter.  But that doesn’t matter, because laughter is overrated anyway.
(Length of the laughter received almost no laughs.  Fortunately the topper, OVERRATED, saved the day and got a good laugh.)

My favorite sport is sky diving.  The chance of having a successful skydive is the square root of one percent.  My goal is to never leave the plane.
(Square root of one percent got a very big laugh.  Never leave the plane was a call back and a topper.)

If you were at the recent Sundance Film Festival, you may have seen a movie made about me and my friend…Dunk.  I was played by the first runner up of the Mr Rogers Look Alike Contest.
(The first laugh was at DUNK.  A funny play on sounds with DINK.  I needed a slight pause in front of DUNK to bring attention to the word.  The topper was Mr Rogers, a good self-deprecation joke.  Since Mr Rogers is no longer living, I created the look-alike contest to bring his character into the joke.)

Last week I stopped at a Burger King for some chicken nuggets and parked in the back.  I walked by the dumpster and ran into Bill.  “Hey John, could you loan me $20.  I can pay you back next week.”  So I gave Bill $20.  He wadded it up and threw it into the dumpster.  “Bill.  What are you doing?”  He told me that he had bought his dinner and received one dollar change.  When he was done eating he accidently threw the one dollar away with his trash.  “And there’s no way I’m going into that smelly dumpster for only one dollar!”
(This is a recycled old joke about accidentally dropping one dollar into an industrial portable toilet: “There is no way I’m going down there for just one dollar.”  A good laugh.  A good closer.)