Observational Humor — Case Study #116

Here is another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting. We’ll look at the set-up for the joke. Then we’ll examine the joke and what makes it tick.

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

1. The Sgt At Arms opened the meeting saying “Please find your seat.”

2. A speaker shared a riddle to which the answer was NOTHING.

3. The meeting was our club’s annual speech contest. We had a mix of VERY experienced speakers and one brand new speaker.

4. A speaker who was born in Vietnam gave a Tall Tales speech in which he made up “scars” of his life experiences.

5. I was raised in North Dakota.

6. A speaker mentioned being “bald as a pickle.”

7. A speaker told about wanting to fly as a boy and taking an umbrella and jumping off a porch. He also talked about racine a Porsche as a senior citizen.

8. A speaker told a story where someone referred to him as “Dear.”

9. A speaker made fun of his own singing of Over the Rainbow. And he told of asking someone “who originally sang that song.” He was told, Judy Garland.

10. Bill Lusk gave a Tall Tale about his dog who spoke German.


(In an old man’s voice) I can’t find my seat!
(When the original reference was made by the Sgt At Arms, there were a couple of jokes using the double meaning of the word SEAT. It felt like it would be fun, but it turned out not to be a strong opener.)

What is worse than Observational Humor…Nothing!
(A call-back with strong audience response.)

This was a typical Toastmasters Club level speech contest. Competitors included:
– An International finalist.
– An International semi-finalist.
– A 55 year Toastmaster member.
– And a new Toastmaster giving his first speech.
(I knew this was not a strong joke, but pointed out the difference in experience of the contestants. As expected, not much laughter. I would include it again. The perspective is interesting, and Observational Humor is all about perspective.)

I was raised in North Dakota and have scars that are difficult to share with you.
(Moderate response. Used as a set up for the jokes that followed.)

I was afraid I was going to grow up to be bald as a pickle.
(Simple call back. Good response.)

And I always wanted to be like Mary Poppins. I got an umbrella and jumped off a Porsche.
(Absurdity of Mary Poppins. Call-back of umbrella. Used Porsche as a sound-alike substitute for PORCH. Very big laugh.)

My mother called me Dear…John Deere.
(The twist is John Deere. Strong response.)

I used to like to sing “Over the Rainbow”. One day I asked my mother who sings that song? She said “Over the Rainbow” is sung by Scott Pritchard.
(Very big response.)

Last week I went to lunch at Bill Lusk’s home.
(Sets up the dog lines which follow.)

His dog answered the door. “Bonjour Monsieur. Soyez le bienvenue!” I was amazed. His dog spoke French!
(Good laugh. Set-up for a series of language jokes.)

The dog then said “Mi casa es su casa!” Incredible, the dog was bilingual.
(Stronger laughter.)

By the way what are we having for lunch? The dog replied, “Wienerschnitzel und Hagen Daz.”   German? 

(Tongue-in-cheek German. Not meant to be taken seriously. A direct call back to the speech. A good laugh.)

How many languages do you speak? The dog responded: “Mot, hai…chin, muoi.” (I counted from one to ten in Vietnamese). Ten languages. Amazing!
(Very good response. I included Vietnamese because one of the speakers had a theme of Vietnam for his speech.)

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was better than nothing.
(A good closer, book-ending the speech.)