Observational Humor — Case Study #97

Here’s another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting. I’ll provide the set-up, the joke, and a brief look at what made the joke work.

The set-up items are listed in the order that the jokes were presented. They are not in the order that they occurred during the meeting. I sequenced the jokes in what I thought was the best order for the monologue. Everything I’m sharing below is listed in monologue order of flow for ease of understanding the analysis.

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

1. The Emcee for the meeting explained that he was sick and would not be shaking hands with anyone he introduced during the program.

2. In the upper right corner of the White Board in the front of the room was “CISCO123” written in a small box.

3. Speaker Al Jensen used the phrase “taking up space.” He also said, “I take up a lot of space.” He was using self-deprecation. Al is a big guy.

4. A speaker suggested that we serve cocktails at our meeting. Someone added that we should use topless servers.

5. Earlier in the day, a speaker had been talking to a phone salesperson at the mall. He was asked if he was interested in an ORGY. Then he realized he misunderstood that he was being asked if he was interested in 4-G.

6. Al Jensen delivered a program titled: A Square Yard of Humor. He created the title which made reference to his full-day workshop called Acres of Humor. His title that evening, implied that the content would be a small part of his bigger workshop.

7. Daniel delivered a brainstorming session. A speaker said that Daniel had been “peppered” with questions.


(The Observational Humor Master called on me to present my observations. I walked to the front of the room. I started to reach out for a handshake, but when I got within touching distance, I spread my arms as though I was expecting a hug. We immediately hugged.  I specifically timed the “hug request” to be at the last second.  I wanted it to happen without a second thought.)

 I have the Ebola Virus…so I’m not shaking hands. (My approaching the speaking platform built the tension. People knew something was up since I normally presented my observations from my chair.  I wouldn’t go to the front of the room for nothing. The elevated tension drew attention to my opening line, and provided a tension to be broken by the first punchline. A very big laugh.)

Ladies and Gentlemen, and especially CISCO123. (This played with the trigger of “something everyone noticed.” People had seen CISCO123 written in the corner of the white-board for many weeks, without knowing what it meant. I pretended it was a person who was present at the meeting. I delivered the joke without acknowledging or pointing to the white-board, which brought the superiority theory into play. People made the connection immediately. A big laugh.)

I have a lot in common with Al Jensen. I’m a member of Power House Pros. I specialize in humor. And I do comedy magic. Think of me as an Al Jensen…who takes up less space. (A call back to the phrase “takes up space.” Very big laugh.)

 I have good news and bad news. The good news is that next week we will have topless cocktail servers. The bad news is…the servers will be Al Jensen and me. (Self-deprecation joke. But I couldn’t resist the chance to make Al the target of the joke too. So I used both of us. Very big laugh.)

Invite guests to our next meeting. Tell then the theme of the meeting will be 4-G. They may misunderstand you, but it will build the attendance. (That was a call-back of 4-G. Connection to ORGY was implied. Good laugh.)

I went by Al Jensen’s house last week. Like many Las Vegas homes, he has a small front yard. There was a small grass patch, about 10X10. And it was surrounded to bushes sculptured into cartoon characters. It didn’t surprise me to see that he had “a square yard of humor.” (A call back to the title of his program. The humor trigger was a picture created from a literal interpretation of his Al’s speech title. It was a stretch, but it worked. A good laugh.)

Daniel, during your speech you were “peppered.” And before you leave the meeting tonight…you will be assaulted. (The word PEPPERED had been referred to three times during the meeting. The repetitive quality set it up for a joke. The joke was linked to the unspoken SALT AND PEPPER. It worked. Good laugh.)