Observational Humor — Case Study #122

Here is another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting.  An Observational Humor joke does not need to be the funniest joke in the world to get a good laugh.  The factor of “being there” is what magnifies the power of the joke.  Watching the audience response teaches you the power of Observational Humor.

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

1. We had a an excellent meeting. The speeches were motivational and inspiring.

2. Ethan, one of our club members, brought 5 guests. They were all
people who share a house. The guests were introduced as his room

3. One of the guests at the meeting was from Sweden. One was from
Canada. One club member had the last name of Polish. One guest had
the first name of Happy.

4. The guests were young men and some members were referring to
them as a Boy Band.

5. A speaker told us about her Grandmother receiving her high school
diploma at age 98. On receiving her diploma, her Grandmother said:
“Oh boy, my last day of school.” And her son replied with: “Now you
have to get a job!”

6. A member was assigned to give an impromptu speech topic on the
subject of “what would he name a month if he were to name it after

7. A guest gave an impromptu speech about a guy in a dress who kept
calling him to be his friend.

8. Member Bobby Williams talked about how his dog reacted after he
had been absent for a long period of time. When they reunited, the dog got excited and licked him.

9. The monologue video is presented from beginning to end without any cuts or edits. As I approached the end of the monologue I had a lengthy pause as I made a decision to drop two jokes and deliver the final joke which I wasn’t sure I wanted to use. The joke related to Bobby’s dog’s response welcoming him home. As I wasn’t sure about the joke, I stumbled over my own words getting the joke started. It got a good laugh and was ok as a closer. But usually when I’m not sure about a joke I leave it out. The excessive pause and the mixing up of my words were not the highlights of my humor that evening and they were not the best way to close the monologue.


Here is the entire monologue, presented at the meeting, recorded on
video. Watching the video of the monologue is the best way to see and understand the power of observational humor. A joke by itself is not nearly as strong as a joke within the context of “being there.”   Click Here to watch the video.



LINE ONE. In the interest of having a balanced program, I will now
speak on how to have an unhappy and unfulfilled life.
(This line was set-up by a meeting with excetionally motivational and
inspiring speeches. The trigger at work is a 180 twist.)

LINE TWO. Mr Toastmaster, guests, and the one person who has never lived with Ethan.
(This line uses a cliche, formal, speech opening with a call back about
Ethan’s many roommates. The trigger is an implied exaggeration,
suggesting that EVERYONE has been a roommate of Ethan’s.)

LINE THREE. One Direction and Abba having nothing on us.
We have:
A Swedish person,
A Canadian,
We have one Polish Person
We have one person who is Happy.
(This joke starts with a reference to two bands, a Boy Band and a band from Sweden. I then list a colorful list of people who were attending the meeting.)

LINE FOUR. And I received an inspiring insight tonight. In thirty
years I can get my high school diploma…and get a job.
(An excellent call back about the diploma and the get-a-job lines which
had received huge laughs earlier in the meeting. I dropped myself into
someone else’s story. I looked at the Grandmother’s experience, and I
said “I could do that.”)

LINE FIVE. I’m not interested in naming a whole month. One day
would be sufficient. February 29. I figure that one day every four years would be enough of me. And guys would celebrate this day by putting on a dress and calling John.
(Two call backs which linked the “month” speech with the stalking

LINE SIX. And finally, I always thought it was strange that if Bobby
hadn’t seen me for a long time, every time he would see me he would lick me.

(I had a lengthy pause and stumbled on my words as I debated whether I wanted to use this last joke. Usually when I doubt a line, I delete it. But this evening I went with it. The line got a good response but was not the best way to end the monologue. It’s also interesting to note that as time passes, the pause and the stumble are not nearly as noticable as I when I first experienced them. The lesson is that mistakes are often less noticable to the audience than they are to the speaker.)