Archive for August, 2014

Observational Humor — Case Study #125

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

This was a strong monologue. Part of the credit for the big response was the
larger-than-usual audience size.

We will look at the set-up.  Next we’ll review the joke.  And then we’ll examine what made the joke work.

The SETUP (what happened and what was said during the meeting before he monologue was presented.

1. We had twenty-five people attending our meeting. The attendance was higher than average because we had nine speakers.

2. All nine speakers were past District Contest winners. I had won 8 district contests.

3. Bill Lusk is a race car driver. Paul Newman also races cars.

4. A speaker was going to share three tips for contest success, each tip would start with the letter P. She then gave us four tips. The speakers which followed added five, six, seven tips starting with the letter P.

5. a speaker said you could re-use a contest speech if you had not won with it in the last 12 years. Someone corrected the speaker, saying that th rule was “within the last 12 months.”

6. A speaker talked about the importance of being well dressed for a contest. He told us of a woman speaker who wore the same outfit as another woman.

7. Bobby told us of a humor contest where he used a purse and dressed in drag.

8. Scott shared a joke about a woman banging on his door and waking him up 2:30 in the morning when he was sleeping in a hotel room. He said he finally got up and let her out.


Do you remember when our Fifth-Monday events used to attract 50 peoeple? I figured out how we can make that happen for our next Fifth-Monday event. I’m going to schedule 40 speakers.
(The joke pointed out that we had a large attendance thanks to the large number of speakers on the agenda. I used the trigger of exaggeration to suggest the solution for having a big crowd attend our next special event.)

I bring you good news. I’ve on 8 first-place trophies at District Contests. How hard can it be?
(Self-deprecation. Suggesting the “he doesn’t look like a funny and an excellent speaker.”)

Bill Lusk is the Paul Newman of Toastmasters. I love his salad dressing.
(A call-back with the twist of salad dressing.)

Here are some observations on the eight district contests I won. 
(Set-up for a series of jokes.)

I was nervous each time I competed and won. Every one of my 8 speeches started with P.
(Continuing the running gag with the letter P, turning it into a bodily function joke.  I would advise caution using this type of joke.)

Each contest speech I delivered had not won within the previous 12 minutes. (12 years had been changed to 12 months. I took the liberty of changing it to 12 minutes.)

At one contest, another contestant was wearing the same dress.

(Did a switch so that I was wearing one of the dresses.)

For one contest I borrowed Bobby’s purse and used his makeup kit to freshen up.  And at 2:30 in the morning I was banging on the door until Scott opened it and let me out.
(Call-back on Bobby’s purse. Dropped my self into Scott’s story. Part of the trigger was SOMETHNG FUNNY. I used Scott’s funny line to get a laugh of my own. A huge laugh.)

I lost one contest because of the title of my speech. Let me take you to the contest to show you what happened: “Ladies and Gentlemen. Speaker number four. John Kinde. The judges are idiots. The judges are idiots. John Kinde.”
(A very simple joke with an absurd contest speech title.)

Contest Results — Almost TV

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

It’s time for this month’s contest winners. The theme for the contest is ALMOST TV. The challenge is to come up with the title of an imaginary TV show that almost sounds like a real show. Then follow the made-up title with a brief description of the show.

Here are the top lines selected by our panel of judges (improv players and speakers).


Leopardy. Quiz show where if you don’t have the right questions about predatory animals, you really lose.
Marty Bernstein, Oak Park, Illinois


The Wig Thang, Deary: How to make homemade hairpieces.
David Novick, Dayton, Ohio


The Tazing Chase: Cops armed only with tasers go after panhandlers,
jaywalkers, and parking violators.
Terry Wall, Washington Township, New Jersey

HONORABLE MENTION (in random order)

– Tooth or Consequences: Dental students guess which tooth to pull.
– American Midol: Contestants try to obtain over the counter drugs
under Obamacare.
– R*A*S*H: Top dermatologists try to identify new skin diseases.
– Hawaii VO5O: Top Island hairdressers show their stuff.
– The Grate Race: Chefs shred their favorite cheeses to beat the clock.

– 30 Rocks: Contestants from primitive cultures learn to count.
– Duluth or Consequence: Three wrong answers and you’re out in the
– Prancing on the Parallel Bars, on Mars: Gymnastics in low gravity.
– The Offshore Rig Pyongyang Theory: Find oil in international
waters near North Korea without getting killed.
– Nay, Kid, I’m Afraid: How to teach children not to take unnecessary

– Under the Chrome: A competition to rip you off the most while
pretending to fix your car.
– Under the Foam: World Series of Beer Pong
– Meal or no Meal. Parents of teenagers return home after work to see
if their children ate all the food. Winners are the parents with the least
food to eat. The prize is dinner at their child’s favorite restaurant,
where the parents eat but their children only get to watch.
– Password? Anyone over 50 who remembers 50% or more of their
passwords receives a suite of programs, each program with it’s own
– Are you smarter than a 28th grader? Winners get an honorary PhD

– Let’s make a meal: Contestants swap half the ingredients of their
favorite recipes with each other, and then see who comes up with the
best dish. Winner gets their ingredients back and dinner at the show
host’s house.
– Family Freud. Guest psychologists attempt to analyze your family.
Loser must live with your family for one month.
– The Rice is Bright. Cooking contest to see who can make the shiniest
side dish.
– Behind Closed Doors: The program for peeping toms.
РCriminal Mimes: Marcel Marceau leads his young proteg̩ on a new
crime spree every week.

– Shiv Another Day: Armed with only his wits and a knife, Jack Bauer
has to survive his first day in Leavenworth.
– 2 Broke Merles: Down on their luck Dixon and Haggard become
waiters in a Country Western Zombie bar.
– Dancing with Their Cars: A cross between a dance competition and a
Demolition Derby.
– The Fracklist: Disgruntled oil & gas driller wants to expose corrupt
EPA officials.
– Guillotine Island: Castaways set up a dictatorial government.

– Rome Improvement: Tourists partake in making over famous ruins
of the world.
– Under the Superdome: Fans become trapped in the stands at a
never-ending football game.
– Fiends: Ghouls, zombies, and werewolves get together every week at
the same bar to recall old crimes.
– The Big Wang Theory: Series documenting aspects of whether size
really matters.
– Have Buns, Will Travel: Adventures of an itinerant baker.

– Wild, Wild, Vest: Upper body fashion show.
– Sons of Apathy: Sequence of stories about lackluster guys.
– Perqs and Recreation: Intrigue as to why the head Ranger gets all
the side benefits.
– Mall in the Family: “Shop ’til you drop” is this family’s watchword.
– Bored to Death: CEOs meet untimely demises, one by one.
– Silicone Valley: A breast augmentation doctor’s adventures.


Observational Humor — Case Study #124

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Here’s another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting.   We will look at the set-up, the joke, and the triggers that made the joke work.

SETUP (What was said and what happened during the meeting before the monologue was presented.)

1. A speaker said, “I’ll now deliver my yet-to-be organized contest speech.”

2. A speaker defined and discussed GROUP THINK.

3. The printed agenda for the meeting accidentally had a very large font size selected for my name and for the Observational Humor part of the program.

4. In setting up the word of the day, the gramarian used the word
conundrum. Later in the meeting a speaker used the word conundrum,
even though it was not the word of the evening.

5. Out going President Dianne requested an audit of the club’s treasury.

6. A speaker was advised to speak up so he could be better heard.

7. A speaker said she went to California where the most logical thing to do was to GO SURFING. She had been instructed to get on the board, do a push-up, and jump to her feet.

8. Carolyn gave a speeeh in which she sang.


My name is John Kinde, and I’ll now be delivering my yet-to-be funny monologue.

(I used parallel construction to let the YET-TO-BE phrase link to my monologue.  Self-deprecation.)

I will be practing humor. And YOU will be practicing group laughter.

(Good response.  I asked the question “what other activity acould be group-oriented besides GROUP THINK.)

You may have noticed that the Observational Humor segment listed on the program was printed in a very large font. That’s not a reflection on the quality of my humor…it’s a reflection on the quality of my eye sight.
(Self deprecation. Poking fun at a sign of aging.)

We need to have more guests and we can do that by telling them about how great our club is. We need to beat our own conundrums.
(Implying that a conundrum is a type of drum.)

Actually the definition of conundrum is what you have after a
(Poking fun at clunky, rarely-used words.)

Sherri is counting laughs in my monologue. Dianne has requested an audit.

(A call-back on Dianne’s request for an audit, linking it to my

Last week, someone in the back of the room said he couldn’t hear me. Awoman in the front of the room said:  “I’ll trade places with you.”

(Self-deprecation. This is an old joke. I don’t know the original source.
Having a list of generic jokes in your tool kit comes in handy.)

I’m from North Dakota where he most logical thing for a humorist to do is GO SURFING. So I hopped on my surfboard, did a push-up, grabbed my walker, and jumped to my feet.

(The trigger is something that would not be a logical activity for
someone in North Dakota. It also paints a funny picture of someone on
a surf board with a walker.)

I learned not to be drinking water while Carolyn is speaking. When she started singing, my glass shattered.

(This links Carolyn’s singing with the cliche of an opera singer breaking
a wine glass when she hits a high note.)

Comedy Musician on America’s Got Talent

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

This two-minute performance illustrates several humor principles. The humor could be described as off color, but it passed the TV censors…so how bad can that be? It would be the perfect entertainment for a night-club lounge.

Lessons learned:

1. The performer uses humor to be likable. He is witty from beginning to end. His style is very conversational.

2. It illustrates the permission principle that older people can often get away with things that a younger person can’t. The performer is 84.

3. He uses humor when having a problem with the equipment.

4. The funniest line of the song is a great example of Self-Deprecation.  I’m sure you can pick it out. Poking fun at yourself is usually a good choice.

5. Some people may consider the lyrics homophobic. In my opinion it’s just the opposite and is something that could probably be a hit in a gay nightclub, performed by someone like the late Rudy de la Mor.

6.  Click here to watch the video.

New Joke Contest — Almost TV

Friday, August 1st, 2014

The theme for our August contest is:  ALMOST TV.  Create a title for an imaginary TV show that almost sounds like a real show.  Then tag it with a sub-title that tells what the imaginary show is about.

New joke contests are announced on the first of each month.

Here are three examples based on this month’s theme:

So you stink in your rants.
A competition between ranting comedians who aren’t funny.

Meal of Four Chins
A cook-off featuring recipes that give you multiple chins.

A merry Cannes bridal.
Behind the scenes at a happy French wedding.

Write as many new Show titles as you can. Then pick your top three to
submit. You can submit additional lines which will be eligible for
Honorable Mention. Submit your entries by August 15, 2014, to Include your Name, City, State.