Archive for August, 2013

Observational Humor — Case Study #102

Friday, August 9th, 2013

It’s that time again.  Another Observational Humor Monologue.  Let’s look at the set-up, the joke, and what makes the joke work.

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

1.  I was surprised by being assigned an impromptu Table Topic, “Can anyone learn to use humor?”   I shouldn’t have been surprised, since I didn’t have an assigned role.  I’m slow to rise from my chair, and was sitting in the back of the room.  I started talking as I was standing.  By the time I had taken two or three steps, I had already been talking long enough to qualify for minimum time.  I concluded while still at the back of the room.  “The answer to your question is YES.”

2.  Our General Evaluator said “Are we supposed to vote for best evaluator?  It’s on the agenda.”

3.  A speaker opened with “Mr Toastmaster and Invited Guests.”

4.  A group had dinner with our Guest Speaker and we arrived later than planned, just before the meeting was scheduled to start.

5.  Dawn gave a speech about jumping off the Stratosphere Tower (an attraction available to the public).  She said that she was weighed three times before she was allowed to jump.

6.  We had a Club Business Session at the beginning of the meeting.  It was much longer than most of our business sessions.

7.  We had a guest speaker, Marty Bernstein.  Someone said that Marty was a professional humorist.  When Marty opened his speech, is clarified that he was NOT a professional humorist.

8.  Someone commented that Marty was sitting next to his wife, when in fact he was sitting in the row BEHIND his wife.

9.  Carolyn said she was working on being a Geriatric Toastmaster and said that Bill Lusk was her role model.

10.  Someone mentioned Champagne.


As I was saying in my Table Topic…
(Pretending that my monologue was a continuation of my short impromptu Table Topic.  A big laugh.)

Am I supposed to do Observational Humor?  Because it’s on the agenda.
(A call back to “because it’s on the agenda.”)

Mr Toastmaster, invited guests and non-invited guests.
(Playing with the label “invited guests,” assuming that if we have invited guests, we must also have non-invited guests.)

We were late arriving at the meeting tonight.  A few of us met for dinner.  Dawn joined us and when we were done eating…they weighed us.
(A call-back to being weighed.  An unexpected punch line.  Huge laugh.)

I’d like for our first-time guests to know that this is not a usual meeting.  Our business sessions are not normally so short.
(Played with the fact that our business session was rather long and that business sessions can be rather tedious.  Implies that having a longer business session would be an incentive for guests to attend another meeting.)

Our regular members could tell we had a special guest tonight…because I dressed up.
(I wore a shirt with a collar.  Normally I wear a T-Shirt.  A big laugh.)

I have a correction to make.  Marty is not a professional humorist.  He is not a professional speaker.  He is not a professional writer.  He is not sitting next to his wife.  He is not a man. 
(Not sitting next to his wife, big laugh.  Topper, He is not a man, bigger laugh.)

Carolyn, I am happy that you aspire to be a Geriatric Toastmaster like Bill Lusk.  But I must say this.  I know Bill Lusk.  Bill Lusk is a friend of mine.  And you’ll never be as old as Bill Lusk.
(Good callback.  Unexpected punch line.  The standard phrase would be  “And you’ll never be a Bill Lusk.”)

Next week at our meeting we will be serving Champagne.  For our invited guests, the meeting starts at 6:15.  For non-invited guests, the meeting starts at 7:45.
(Nice end to the monologue since we had previously mentioned Champagne and also had mentioned non-invited guests.  Not a huge laugh, but a good laugh and a good closer.)

Marty Bernstein Speaks in Las Vegas

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Power House Pros Toastmasters Club was honored to have Mart Bernstein as a guest speaker last night.  He gave us a peek “Inside The Mind of a Humor Practitioner.” He opened by sharing two competition-quality speeches featured in a Pun Contest in Austin, Texas. 

Marty knows how “to be in fun” when he speaks.  It’s important to enjoy your humor and it’s obvious that Marty is having a good time when he presents.  His take-home wisdom included: 

  – Have a passion for what you do.
  – Become a student of what you love.
  – Specifics are funnier than generalities.
  – Becoming good at humor takes discipline.
  – Writing is a numbers game.  When preparing for a contest he often writes dozens of lines.
  – There are lots of talented people in the world.  Learn from them.

It was terrific having Marty attend our meeting.  It was a fun time and our members learned from a winner.  We’d love to have YOU as a guest also.  Las Vegas is a great place to visit.  Call ahead and find out when we meet and schedule your next vacation or business trip to fit in with our meeting schedule.  We’d love to see you. 

The next post will be the Observational Humor monologue from the meeting Marty attended.

New Joke Contest — Time Savers

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

The theme for the August Joke Contest is Time Savers.  We’re looking for humorous time saving tips.  This probably means we’re not looking for REAL time saving tips, like:  Never handle a piece of paper more than once.  Or, start your day by planning and prioritizing your daily activities.  No.  Those are NOT what we are looking for.

Instead, we’re looking for funny tips which are not to be taken seriously. For example:  Wear a watch on both wrists.  You can check the time no matter which way you’re looking.

Here are three examples:

  – Put a refrigerator and microwave in every room.  When you want a snack you won’t need to waste time walking to the kitchen.
  –  Become a nudist.  You won’t have to spend time getting dressed in the morning or getting undressed to take a shower.
  – Serve only food you don’t have to chew: mashed potatoes, pudding, Jello, creamed spinach, baby food.  Eat. Swallow. Eat. Swallow.  Skip the tedious chore of chewing.

See how many lines you can create.  Then submit your three best lines by August 15, 2013.  Your top three lines will be judged for Top Three recognition by our panel of judges.  You can submit more than three lines.  The additional lines will be eligible for Honorable Mention.  Send your entries to   Include your name and where you live (city/state).

Our next joke contest will be announced September 1, 2013.