Observational Humor — Case Study #95

Here are several more Observational Humor lines presented at the end of a meeting.  We’ll look at the set-up (What was said and what happened during the meeting before the Observational Humor lines were delivered).  Then we’ll look at the lines and the process that made the lines funny.


1.  The officers were not ready to open the meeting on time.  The Sgt at Arms called the meeting to order on time and then declared a five minute recess to allow the officers to finalize the agenda.

2.  The Joke Master opened with: One nun to another, “Have you heard? There is a case of Gonorrhea in the convent.”  “Oh good…I’m getting tired of White Zinfandel.”

3.  A speaker mentioned “howling at the moon.”

4.  A speaker told the story of Dr Lister who performed one of the first surgeries with antiseptic on his sister.  The speaker then joked about the sister trusting her brother.

5.  Four members presented a panel discussion on Gun Control.

6.  A speaker suggested that more people were killed by fists than guns.

7.  A speaker traced the career of Lincoln, telling us that he lost in love, business, and politics before becoming President.

8.  A speaker said that the Gettysburg Address was one of the greatest speeches in history.

9.  The meeting room was filled with many long-time, successful Toastmasters.


I liked the way you made sure we started on time.  You opened the meeting at 1:00 pm and then took an immediate 5 minute recess to tie up loose ends.  I think this would be a great way to solve our problems with Congress.  When the new session of Congress opens in January, they should bring the session to order and take an immediate 5 minute recess during which there will be no new federal spending.  At the end of the 5 minute break, they’ll come back to order and spending will resume as usual. 
(A bit lengthy for a joke, but pokes fun at the club’s technique for ensuring that the meeting starts on time.  And it jokes about congress and its inept dealing with spending.)

This is my kind of club.  It opened with a gonorrhea joke.
(Makes an appropriate comment about the off-color, yet tame, opening joke.  A bit of self-deprecation, linking me to the questionable joke.)

All meeting I’ve been waiting for someone to moon…just so I could count the number of people that would howl.
(Plays with the alternate meaning of MOON and links it to the word HOWL, providing a call-back.)

On my way to the meeting I picked up some Listerine and some cotton balls.  I’m opening a surgery clinic for those who don’t trust their brothers. 
(I was afraid the joke would be too obvious.  But the response was really big.  I think the “trust your brothers” was a surprise punch line, compared to “so if you need some surgery.”)

FACT:  I’d be funnier if I were packing a handgun.  (Looking at Scott)  Didn’t you think that joke was funny?
(What followed “I’d be funnier if…” with a surprise choice.  Then I followed with a topper, implying that I might use the gun.)

FACT:  More people are killed by jokes each year than by guns.
(A twist of a cliche.)

The message of Table Topics is:  “If a loser can give the world’s greatest speech in 3 minutes…what can you do in three minutes?”
(Linked the message of one of the speakers with the process of giving Table Topics impromptu speeches.)

What a group of people we have at today’s meeting:  Our District Governor.  A past District Governor.  Two competitors from the International Competition Stage.  Several District Contest winners.  An Accredited Speaker.  The President of the local NSA chapter.  Division and area governors.  Mr Mentor in the front row.  Wow.  I’m wondering if we sent our third-in-command to a secure underground bunker.
(A very big laugh.  Surprise factor.  The punch line was unexpected.  Superiority theory.  It sets the audience on a pedestal.)