Observational Humor — Case Study #123

Here is another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting.  First we’ll look at the set-up for the jokes.   Then we’ll look at the jokes and a brief analysis of what made the jokes work.

Read the set-up information first, then you’ll be ready to watch the video of the monologue.  You’ve heard the expression when someone shares a funny event:  “You had to be there.”  Watching the video will give you a feel for “being there.”  It will help you understand the power of Observational Humor.

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

1. A speaker said she was compelled to do something, but used the word IMPALED instead of COMPELLED.

2. My Mother was visiting and attending the meeting.

3. My mother is from Arizona.

4. At a previous meeting four guests attended, all introducing
themselves as roommates of Ethan. He shares a large house with
several people.

5. A speaker said he was entering some data into the computer but
forgot to click SAVE when he was done.

6. Two first-time guests were visiting the meeting with their two
children, one was as very small baby.

7. Carolyn was wearing a top with a black-and-white, busy, abstract
pattern.

THE MONOLOGUE

Before watching the video, it’s important that you read the seven set-up items listed above. It’s the set-up that gives the monologue the context it needs to be funny. Click to play the video.


THE ANALYSIS

LINE ONE:
I wasn’t going to be doing Observational Humor until I was impaled by the President.
(A simple call-back of a mistakenly-used word.)

LINE TWO:
If I look bothered.  I’m out of my normal routine.   I usually relax myself by imagining my audience naked. But my Mother is here tonight…

(Playing with a cliche. A very big laugh.)

LINE THREE:
She said she was from Arizona. That’s not true…she is one of Ethan’s roommates.

(The set-up for this line was something that happened a month earlier
when Ethan brought four guests to a meeting. In spite of the fact that
half the audience was not familiar with the original set-up, it got a very
big laugh. For those who didn’t know of the set-up, the absurdity of the line was probably enough of a set-up to make the joke work even for them.)

LINE FOUR:
I was on a church web site, surfing. It said, Do you believe in God?
Click Yes or No. YES! But I forgot on the bottom to check SAVED.
(Playing with the double meaning of the word SAVE. I wasn’t sure that
the joke would be clear enough to the audience, but it received a very
good response.)

LINE FIVE:
And I’ve got the solution for building our attendance. We can
immediately double it if everybody brings a cute baby. And I can think of a dozen reasons why that would help our club.
(An absurd suggestion using a baby as a call-back. The baby was
adorable and the hit of the meeting.)

 

LINE SIX:
Carolyn would you please stand up. A lot of you don’t realize that she is wearing an army uniform. This is a camouflaged uniform for people who are fighting a color-blind enemy.
(I answered the question, “What’s the story behind this very abstract
B&W blouse?”)