Observational Humor — Case Study #99

Here is another set of humorous observations from a recent meeting.  We’ll look at the set-up, then the joke, and then we’ll analyze what made the joke work.

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

1.  Bobby Williams said, “Many people think that the most important part of the meeting is the speech evluations.  But that’s not true.  The most important part of the meeting is when I’m speaking.”
(Bobby used the technique of self-aggrandizement, which is the opposite of self-deprecation.  It works for him because he is known as a funny speaker.  He got a good laugh from the group, and that set up the comment as a target for a future observational humor line which I used to open my monologue.)

2.  We had three members (Corrine, Gordon and Jim) who were attending the meeting after an absense.

3.  During a roast six months earlier, we joked about our past President creating a robot version of his wife.  We compared the place where we meet, Pololu Robotics, to the classic movie Stepford Wives.

4.  A speaker told us about a world-record game of “Telephone” in which a phrase was whispered from one person to the next.  The phrase “Mac King is a Comedy Magic Genius,” ended up being:  “Macaroni Cantaloupe Knows the Future.”

5.  A speaker used an acronym in her speech from the RoadRunner Cartoon:  YIKE.

6.  Corrine admitted to not liking house work and that she was collecting dust.)

7.  The emcee of the meeting shared Las Vegas trivia with us, which included the making of the world’s largest cake.

8.  Bobby Williams is one of our senior members.


Some people think that the most important part of the meeting is when we’re listening to a funny speaker.  But that’s not true.  The most important part of the meeting is when Bobby Williams is speaking.
(A roast-like line.  It implies that Bobby isn’t funny, although the truth is he is VERY funny.  The implied punchline allows the audience to “get the joke.”  The superiority theory of humor kicks in.  The structure is nice because it takes the pattern set by Bobby’ which earned him a laugh, and by using the same pattern, allows me to create a joke by only changing the first part of his joke.  It turns the joke on him.  A good laugh.)

It’s been awhile since we’ve seen Corrine, Gordon and Jim.  It’s great having them attending the meeting again.  Stepford Robotics has been busy.
(Although the set-up for the joke was well in the past, I felt that people would remember it or at least make the connection with the movie.  Very good laugh.)

I’m now presenting a new Keynote speech titled: 
Fettucini honeydews are cognizant of tomorrow.

The theme of my Keynote follows the acronym OOO, which stands for:
  – Oops.
  – Off-Da
  – Oi Vey
(The pattern of O-Words sets a pattern of funny-sounding words which indicate a mistake or unintended result; each word coming from a different cultural background.)

It’s pronounced O O O!
(I pronounced it as though I was reacting to being poked from behind.)

Corrine collects dust because the Bible says God made man from dust.
(A simple joke linking Corrine’s dust comment to a biblical reference.)

We’re making a birthday cake for Bobby Williams.  It won’t be the world’s biggest.  But it will have a record number of candles.
(Implies that Bobby is old.  Although he isn’t the oldest member, it’s close enough to make the joke work.  It also book-ends my monologue.  I started with poking fun at Bobby and close by doing the same.  I was only able to do that because Bobby is one of our funniest members and also because he had thrown two zingers at me during his general evaluation of the meeting.)