Observational Humor — Case Study #81

I attended an excellent humor workshop presented by Dawn Elizabeth.  She was fine-tuning her workshop which was to be presented at the upcoming District 33 Conference.  Before the workshop started, Dawn asked me if I would present some Observational Humor halfway though the meeting, to demonstrate how to create fresh humor making funny connections. 

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

1.  Dawn opened the workshop asking the audience what they would like to learn about humor as a result of attending the workshop.  Someone said, “Learning to understand John Kinde’s humor.”

2.  Before the workshop started, everybody in the room did a brief self-introduction.

3.  The workshop was hosted by Lunatics Toastmasters Club.  The meeting started at 1:00 pm.

4.  The meeting was held in a clubhouse inside a gate-protected community.  We were given the gate code with the note that we were to press just the number provided, no symbols (referring to the asterisk and pound sign).

5.  Dawn shared the technique of creating humor in your stories by using character dialogue.

6.  We had to park on the far side of the building and had a hard time finding an entrance door that was unlocked.

7.  Our District leader Jesse Oakley III (the THIRD, but Jesse has used it to brand himself by referring to it as I-I-I).  We met Jesse outside and he joined us in our search for an unlocked door.

8.  My friend, Loren Ekroth, said in his self-introduction that he and I were from Duluth and that he was my uncle, neither of which is true.

9.  The Grammarian introduced the word-of-the-day:  Avant Garde.  She specifically commented on how she was having a hard time reading the word-of-the-day announcement

10.  Dawn illustrated humor points with a joke:  Men want women to be like underwear.  They like support with a bit of freedom.


I’m still waiting to understand John Kinde.
(A good call back.  Self deprecation.)

They told me that if I attended today, by the end of the workshop, I’d be funny.
(This line was not actually part of the monologue.  I used it at the opening of the meeting when it was my turn for my self-introduction.  A very big laugh, which was made possible because I was well known by the audience as a humor speaker.  If the audience had not known me, the joke would not have worked.)

It’s really strange…this afternoon I’m attending Lunatics Toastmasters.  And last night I was attending the Solar-tics Toastmasters.
(I played with the Lunatics name, implying that it came from the root MOON.  I linked MOON with DAY and SOLAR with NIGHT.  There is no Solar-tics club.  I used a humor license to make it up.)

I had a hard time finding the meeting location today.  Carolyn provided me with gate code information.  When we pulled up to the gate, I handed the instructions to Alex and told him I didn’t need them…I had memorized the procedure to get through the gate.  I punched in 0813 and crashed my cymbals.  The gate didn’topen.  Alex said, “You’re doing it wrong.  The code is 0813 with no symbols.”
(When I saw Carolyn’s instructions of NO SYMBOLS, I immediately pictured myself crashing cymbals.  The triggers at work are: 
  – Sound alikes.
  – An act-out of physically demonstrating the crash of cymbals.
  – The use of dialogue.
The joked worked well.)

That was funny because Alex provided the punchline using dialogue.
(A call back to the use of dialogue in comedy.)

Then when we got to the clubhouse, every door seemed to be locked.  We ran into Jesse, our next District Governor, even our distinguished leader couldn’t find an open door.  Thankfully we didn’t have President Obama helping us to get in.
(The trigger was asking WHAT IF:  I noted that we couldn’t get in.  Even our District leader had a hard time finding an open door.  Imagine WHAT IF President Obama were helping us, how difficult it would be.)

I think it’s odd how Jesse has become our district leader…because there is no “I” in TEAM.
(The cliche, “There is no I in TEAM” provided a perfect punchline.  A huge laugh.  “Jessie Oakley I-I-I” had been repeated dozens of times over the past several years.  This repetition provided a very strong set-up for the joke.)

Deluth is a place where your uncle can also be your father.  In Deluth I’m known as the Man From Uncle.  It’s great to see my Dad here today.
(I’m not from Deluth.  But Loren joked that I was, so I went with it.  I made a reference to an old TV show The Man From Uncle.  I noticed the audience was old enough that I thought they would remember the show.  A good laugh, the joke worked.)

You’ve probably noticed that Dawn is taller than most people here today.  That’s why she is so funny.  You probably also noticed that I’m taller than Dawn.
(Dawn is tall.  Dawn is funny.  I implied that she is funny BECAUSE she is tall.  This set me up for a topper, which was a reverse-self-deprecation line, implying that I am funnier than Dawn.)

A suggestion to improve the flow of your meeting.  I would suggest having the Word Of The Day announcement printed in Braille.
(This is the only joke I dropped out of the monologue…by accident.)

A woman is like underwear.  Like a boxer I know she will eventually punch me.  I just want it to be brief.
(Another joke using Boxers/Briefs.  Different than the original joke.  Not the funniest line, but it was good for a laugh.)

After the meeting we’re all going to the Avant Garden Italian Restaurant.
(I thought Avant Garden sounded enough like Olive Garden, if I said it fast.  The joke worked, getting a good laugh.)

This has been an exciting humor workshop.  To open the program, the audience provided the overview (pointing at the flip chart).  I’m filling in the middle of the program.  And I can’t wait to see who among us will close the program.
(The humor trigger at work is exaggeration.  The members of the audience were NOT creating the bulk of the program, I just implied that they were doing that for the sake of the humor.  I was also using the humor technique of EXTRAPOLATION to arrive at a punchline:  This is what opened the program.  This is what’s happening in the middle of the program.  And this must be what will happen at the end of the program.  I was able to say if A happened, then B happened, obviously C will happen.)