Observational Humor — Case Study # 114

Here is another look at an Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting.  We’ll look at what set up the jokes, then we’ll look at the jokes themselves, and finally we’ll take a brief look at what made the jokes work.

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

1.  An evaluator commented on a speaker’s high-energy entrance to open his speech.

2.  A member giving an impromptu speech said his favorite kind of humor was that which “slaps you in the face.”

3.  Three people had to leave the meeting early.  One was a guest speaker, and two were people who had come to hear the guest speaker.  To accommodate their schedules they had requested that the guest speaker present early in the program.  The agenda showed the guest speaker as the third speaker, and he was moved to the number one speaking slot.

4.  A speaker gave us three tips for being funny.

5.  A speaker said that a coach gave him three tips for dealing with a heckler and then charged him $40.

6.  A speaker told us not to bluff when playing video poker.

7.  A speaker told a story about being asked to be someone’s bowling partner.

8.  A speaker told about a skilled stand-up comic who was Asian, Gay and very funny.  He connected with the audience because he was authentic.

9.  A speaker talked about doing comedy and dying on stage.


(I was introduced and made my usual slow-motion entrance using my walker)  Another high-energy entrance.
(Self-deprecation.  Also a good way to set aside the issue of my slower than normal pace.)

And another monologue of humor that slaps you in the face.
(SelfdeprecationAnd good call-back which worked with my contrasting style.)

You probably noticed that three people left the meeting early.  All three of them specifically asked if I could speak last.
(A reversalAnd another selfdeprecation line.)

My secret to being funny:
1.  Think funny
2.  Look funny
3.  Smell funny
(Playing with alternate word meaningFunny doesn’t always mean generating-laughter.)

And the secret to handling hecklersPay them $40.
(A twist.  Using the $40 to pay the heckler for his silence.)

We were told that to handle hecklers:
Comment on what they are wearing.
Comment on who they’re with.
Comment on what they said.

It was just my luck.  Last weekend I had a heckler:
He was naked.
He was alone.
 And he didn’t speak English.
(I used the dropmyselfintotheirstory technique and used an absurd triplett.)

Another tip.  Don’t bluff when you’re taking a breathalyzer.
(A call back.  I asked myself the question, where else would be a dumb place to bluff? Although I didn’t do it, this would have been a good place to use a triplett, three places where it would be stupid to bluff.)

I was at a night club Saturday night.  I saw a hot babe.  She came over, and whispered in my ear:  Will you be my bowling partner?
(Absurd.  Good call back.)

We were told that to make the big-time we should:
Be Asian
Be Funny
And be gay.
(sigh) If only I were Asian.
(Absurd response to the advice.)

I’ve never died while on stage.  But to be on the safe side, it would be a good idea to stop talking.
(Suggesting that the longer I talk, the less funny I’ll be.)