Observational Humor — Case Study #84

Here’s another Observational Humor monologue and an analysis of what makes the humor work.

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

1.  The club had five guests that evening.

2.  The President announced that we would be serving cake at the end of the meeting.

3.  A speaker talked about wine.  He suggested that we might have wine with the cake.

4.  The Word Of The Day was LOOKISM:  Defined as prejudice or discrimination based on physical appearance.

5.  An impromptu speech subject (called Table Topics) was to describe what it took to be a good Sergeant At Arms.  The speaker said “a hook,” so that he/she could remove speakers who spoke too long.

6.  Our club President had the habit of making opening announcements usine a small slip of paper.  An evaluator suggested that he would be more effective if he went without notes.

7.  Club President Ryan has, on several occasions, announced the wrong date for an event.

8.  A speaker said that a great speech is often opened with a question.

9.  I was given an impromptu speech topic.  That rarely happens because I am usually assigned to lead the Observational Humor part of the program.  Table Topics are normally given to members who are not assigned major roles during the meeting.

10.  The Table Topics Master asked the audience, “How many people are petrified that the Table Topics Master will call on you?”

11.  A speaker jokingly mentioned that he watched a TV show he wouldn’t normally watch, “but nothing else was on.”

12.  The night before the meeting, the Miss USA Pageant was broadcast on a major TV network.


Welcome to our guests tonight.  We are PowerHouse Pros, also known as “the club where you can have your cake and eat it too.”
(Linked the announcement of refreshments to a cliche.)

And tonight we’re serving wine…at the end of the meeting.  We serve no wine before its time.
(Linked the mention of serving wine to a cliche.)

Our club practices Lookism.  We only permit the attendance of good looking guests.  Checking out the room tonight, I’d say we’ve been very successful.
(I call this an Ahhhhh-Joke.  That is a joke form that contains a soft compliment to a person or a group which might otherwise be a target for a joke.  The audience response to this form of a joke is to think “Ahhhh, how sweet!”  It’s a form I often use in a Roast monologue.  After hitting a person or group with a couple of zingers, I slip in an Ahhhh-Joke to soften the sting.  An Ahhhh-Joke can be ideal as a monologue closer.)

Tonight I was reminded of the Sgt At Arms in my first club many years ago.  He had a hook…and a peg leg and eye patch.  And because of him our club had an Arrrrgh Counter.  (The hook set up the pirate comparison.  That set up the topper which linked to the traditional club Ah-Counter.)

We’ve had some great suggestions for our speakers tonight.  It was suggested that President Ryan not carry a small note card when speaking.  Although I would suggest that he carry a calendar.
(A call-back to the slip-of-paper suggestion linked to the running gag of forgetting dates.)

Another speaker emphasized how great speeches are often started with a question. Which reminds me of:
   JFK’s speech, “Ask not what your country can do for you…ask what you can do for your COUNTRY?” (Capital letters indicate raised intonation making the statement a question.)
   Martin Luther King’s speech on the Washington Mall:  “I have a DREAM?”
   And the Gettyburg Address:  “Four score and SEVEN years ago?”
(I asked “what if.”   What if all famous speeches were opened with a question?  I included the Kennedy quote even though it was not a speech opener.)

Table Topics don’t petrify me.  I always sign up to be the leader of Observational  Humor, which means I’ll NEVER be called on for Table Topics (with pen, scratch out NEVER on my notes).  Make that USUALLY NOT be called on for Table Topics.
(The trigger is “what everyone was thinking.”  I’m not usually called on for Table Topics.  I was sure I wasn’t the only one that noticed that.)

I’ve been really busy lately and would certainly never watch the Miss USA Pageant.  But last night I was channel surfing, and nothing else was on.
(A call back linked to a current TV broadcast.)