Observational Humor — Case Study #92

Here is another Observational Humor monologue analysis.  I’ll give you the set-up, the joke, and a look at what made the joke work.

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

1.  Several people had a difficult time correctly pronouncing Ronny Angelke’s name.  It became a running gag.

2.  A speaker led an exercise for creating humor based on the double meaning of words.  I presented a joke that got a big laugh.  Someone said that the joke was funny but didn’t use a word with double meaning.  I pointed out the word which had a double meaning that activated the joke.

3.  A speaker talked about learning to fly a plane.  His flight instructor told him that if he felt he was losing control of the plane to clap twice and throw his hands in the air to indicate that the flight instructor should take over the control of the plane.

4.  I noticed a new janitorial sign in the men’s restroom before the meeting.

5.  A speaker demonstrated how the emphasis of one word over another can change the meaning of a sentence.  He gave an example with a target sentence: I never kissed my wife.  “I never kissed MY wife.” (I kissed your wife.)  “I never KISSED my wife.” (I hugged my wife.)

6.  A speaker talked about running a marathon.

THE MONOLOGUE

Mr General Evaluator, Fellow Toastmasters and Ronny Angel-Clunk.
(I picked up on the running gag of mis-pronouncing Ronny’s last name, and used the principle of exaggeration to drive home the joke.)

For your convenience, I’ll point out my jokes with double-word meanings.  Since my word choice is subtle, I’ll indicate double meanings by pulling on my ear lobe. 
(The pull-the-ear joke sets an expectation for the physical gag to appear again in my monologue.  This expectation is a form of tension which helps activate the joke.  Also the superiority theory is in play when people catch the quick ear tug which I have planned.)

I’m not sure about this first joke (Clap, clap, hands in the air).
(I was prepared to drop this joke if someone else made a joke of the clap-clap illustration from the Learning-to-Fly speech.  I was surprised that nobody mentioned it since it was repeated twice in the speaker’s talk.  I also wasn’t sure how strong the response would be to my line, but it got a good laugh.)

I noticed that a sign in the men’s restroom said “Please aim at back of urinal.”  So that’s what I’ve been doing wrong.  It made me wonder if the women’s restroom also has signs.  So when nobody was looking I stepped into their restroom.  Sure enough, a sign in each stall read:  “Please remain seated during performance.”  (I pulled on my ear lobe.)
(The seated-during-performance line received the biggest laugh of the monologue.  The ear-lobe gag got a laugh, but I’m not sure how much of that was the extended laugh from the spoken joke.  I suspect that it helped extend the spoken joke’s laughter, more than creating laughter as a result of the physical sight gag.)

I want you to know that I’ve never RUN a marathon…I’ve DRIVEN a marathon.
(A call back of the marathon using the word-emphasis exercise to trigger a joke.)