Observational Humor — Case Study #111

Here’s another Observational Humor monologue.  Learning to use Observational Humor adds a fresh touch to your prepared speeches.  Audiences love in-the-moment humor.  We’ll look at the set-up, the joke, and then examine what makes the joke tick.

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

 1.  Several of our speakers were limping, for different reasons, as they walked to the platform.  One of our members joked that he didn’t feel like a member since he didn’t have a limp.

 2.  A speaker made the comment that my style reminded him of Robin Williams.  He was joking because my laid-back style is far from the frenetic style of Robin Williams.

 3.  A speaker talked about the difficulty of using the correct modifier, adjective or adverb, to modify a word.

 4.  A speaker joked that you’d be a better speaker if you had two shots of vodka before speaking.

 5.  A speaker led a creative exercise:  How many Toastmasters does it take to screw in a light bulb?

 6.  A speaker joked, how is fresh fish like inlaws who are visiting?  You need to get rid of them after three days.

 7.  Ryan gave a technical speech on an engineering topic.

 8.  Greg suggested to a woman member that she introduce her role to our guests.  She said that she would do that later in the meeting, just before she performed the role.  Greg joked that once again, he had been turned down by a woman. 


I am such an experienced member of this club that when I limp I need a walker.

(The original joke was triggered by a repetitive set-up, several people who were limping.  The trigger for my joke was “something funny that had been said.”  I used exaggeration, bragging that my limp was bigger.  It also used the trigger of TENSION, since I was using a walker for only the second time at a club meeting.  People had not had enough time to consider the walker as my new normal.)

 Here I go with another impersonation of Robin Williams.

(A callback and self-deprecation.)

The aim of this part of the program is to fulfill your goal of using humor gooder.

(I couldn’t resist the mis-use of adverbs.  It also provided a good set-up for the vodka joke.)

What is the secret to using humor weller?  Two shots of vodka.

(This is a subtle use of TENSION.  I let them know a “secret” is coming.  It’s a signal that a joke is about to happen. Anticipation is a form of tension.)

How many Toastmasters does it take to change a light bulb?  One, but he has to imagine that the people watching him are naked.

(Plays with the cliche that speakers control nervousness by imagining people in their underwear or naked.)

For Thanksgiving I was going to serve fresh fish.  But at the last minute I just decided to cook my inlaws.  After three days I have to toss them out anyway.

(Probably popped into my head because we DID have fish for Thanksgiving.  A call back.)

Ryan, that was the first time I’ve heard a Toastmaster speak Greek.

(Played with the cliche used when hearing something that’s hard to understand:  “That’s Greek to Me.”

I have bad news and good news.  The bad news was that Greg got turned down by two women.  The good news is that he was not turned down by any men.

(Greg was the emcee for the program.  Great response.  Excellent closer for the monologue. )