Observational Humor — Case Study #115

Here’s another Observational Humor monologue.   We will look at the set-up, the joke, and what makes the joke work.

Observational Humor case studies are provided to help us become better at recognizing, writing, and delivering a joke when speaking from the platform.  The best kind of humor is that which is designed specifically for the audience.  Often it is a one-time-use joke which, if told later, may get weak laughter and the excuse, “You had to be there.”  When you create Observational Humor you and the audience ARE there, and the joke is often stronger than you would have expected.

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

1.  The grammarian opened his report with “John Kinde didn’t have anything,” meaning he didn’t have any errors or suggestions to report.

2.  Guest Billie Wilson was surprised to be called on to introduce herself as a guest at the meeting.  It was her first time to visit a TM club.

3.  Bobby Williams joked about how I always introduce him as the funniest person in District 33.  He said it was hard to be a funny speaker following such an introduction.  Then he suggested that I was the funniest person in the District.

4.  A speaker was praised for his use of colorful language, meaning his vibrant, descriptive language.

5.  I presented the Educational moment on the subject of copyright law. JD Smith added a lot of valuable information.  The segment was supposed to be two minutes in length and ran overtime.

6.  Jon is a new member.

7.  To locate the restrooms, the emcee suggested we should ask someone over the age of 60.

8.  A speaker was critiqued for not speaking clearly.  She said “gonna” instead of “going to.”

9.  Another speaker was critiqued for using the expression “try to.”  The evaluator said, “You never TRY you just DO.”

10. A speaker told about an armed robbery of two people, one younger and one older.  The younger person being robbed was told to get on the ground and put his hands behind his head.  The robbers knew that the younger man would have been capable of hurting them.

11.  Bill Lusk has a full head of hair at age 80.  He was introduced as having good hair genes.

12.  I was dressed in blue jeans and a denim shirt.

13.  Bill told us that he inherited a Porsche when he was young.  He eventually became a race car driver.

14.  Bill said that he and his car “became one.”

15.  My first car was a VW Bug.  It was a sporty car which I took to the drag strip.

16.  Bill said that when he completes a race, he feels like a young man.

17.  Bill was giving an inpirational speech and closed with “your life can be as full as mine.”

18.  Bobby used the expression “there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for John Kinde.”

19.  Bobby used the expression “for what it’s worth” three times.


I don’t have anything.  (I start to leave the speaking platform).
(A call back.  A good opener, one which I’ve used before.  Used as a current call-back, it freshens the joke.)

To start our humor session, Billie Wilson will now present some humorous observations.  Just kidding!
(This joke had pros and cons.  A trigger was the techniaque of building tension.  Putting a guest on the spot could be a negative.  You need to remove the pressure in a timely manner, not waiting too long to deliver the Just-Kidding line.)

The only thing worse than to be introduced as the funniest person in the district…is to be introduced as the person who is funnier than the funniest person in the district.
(The truth is funny.  And it added a layer to the onion by exaggerating the original humorous line that Bobby had delivered.)

It made me want to use some colorful language.
(Played with the double meening of the word colorful.)

I have a correction to the timer’s report.  It was noted that I spoke earlier for six and a half minutes.  The correct time for the Educational Moment was that I spoke for two minutes.  And JD Smith spoke for four and a half minutes.
(The first sentence builds tension.  The final punchline runs the danger of appearing that I was belittling JD’s excellent contributions.  I had the line written into the monologue, and I think it would have received a big laugh, but I chose not to deliver it.)

Jon (pointing to him), John (pointing to me), and John (pointing to the restrooms).

I’m gonna try some Observational Humor.
(Often, when I hear advice of something NOT to do, I look for a place to do it.)

Before I start I’m going to have Ryan and Jon get down on the floor and put their hands behind their heads.  They could both hurt me.
(The first joke got a good laugh.  The topper got a weak laugh.  I feel it was a good line, but got smothered in my delivery.)

I’m proud to say I have a lot in common with Bill Lusk. 
(Sets the scene for a series of jokes.)

Hair Genes.  Blue Jeans.
(Play with rhyme.  Simple joke.  Very good laugh.)

When he was young he got a Porsche.  When I was young I got a VW Bug.
(Just a set-up.  Not intended to be a joke, although could appear as one as I go from BIG to LITTLE.)

My VW Bug and I became two.
(Silly, perhaps whimsical.  Excellent laugh.)

My bug had headers, a tachometer, and mag wheels.
I raced it at the Ontario Motor Speedway.  Bill, you probably raced there. (Bill replied, “No that race track was closed before I got down there.”)

Now that REALLY makes me feel old!
(A funny line which came to me in the moment.  The truth is funny.)

When I was done racing, I felt like I was 60 years old.
(A reversal.)

Your life can be as full as mine.  And I am full of it.

There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for Bobby Williams.  And for what it’s worth, I’d like to thank Bobby for nothing.
(A call-back on Bobby’s remarks.  Good and funny closer.)