Observational Humor — Case Study #126

Here is another VIDEO BLOG of Observational Humor presented at the end of a meeting. First we will look at the set-up for each joke.  Then we’ll hear (read) the joke. And finally, we’ll make some comments about why the joke worked.

To make sense of the video monologue, I highly suggest reading the set-up information first. Without the set-up information, it would be like watching a series of punch lines without the background context which makes the jokes understandable.

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

1. When introducing me, the emcee told the audience that I had won
first place at eight district contests.

2. A speaker accidentally said PEOPLES. He immediately corrected
himself saying, “my mouth doesn’t always work correctly.”

3. A speaker talked about accents and demonstrated more than 30
accents and dialects.

4. A speaker told of an older woman who complained about a joke the
speaker told about another woman. The speaker responded with, “but I was telling a joke about my wife.”

5. We announced the club’s next special event on December 15,
Stand-Up Comedy Night.

6. Linda Bown talked about humor used by men and women. She
suggested that humor about ED might not be a good topic.

7. A speaker was just trying to be friendly when she told a joke to a woman standing in line in front of her. The joke made the woman who was ahead of her uncomfortable and she asked the speaker not to stand so close.

8. A speaker said “I miss my wife.”

9. There was a sign in the men’s restroom which said “aim at back of urinal.”

10. At a normal club meeting we usually have 15 people. At this special
meeting we had 40.

11. A speaker joked that he had a friend who once had Juan Valdez as his roommate.

12. Darren LaCroix mentioned the hazards of using a spell checker.

13. Members of the audience included: Carolyn Pelletier, Marty Bernstein, Scott Pritchard, Linda Bown, and Melanie Hope.




[You learned from my introduction that I’ve won eight district contests.
I tell you that not impress you,] I tell you that because I’m impressed.
(The portion in brackets was lost on the video recording.)

You people’s is great.
(A simple call-back of something which had earlier received a laugh.)

I tell you that in the French accent but when ever I speak in a French accent, it turns somehow into a Norwegian accent.
(That’s the truth. And the truth is funny. When ever I do a foreign accent, it somehow slides into Norwegian. That’s probably natural for anyone who grew up in North Dakota.)

I was telling a joke about a woman. After the program an old woman came up to me and said, “I didn’t like the joke you told about that woman.” I said, “Hey, that woman is my wife.” She looked at me and said: “That woman is my daughter.” I thought she looked familiar.
(I did a call-back by repeating the story line and then throwing in the
unexpected punch line “That woman is my daughter.” I then add a topper with “I thought she looked familiar.”)

In December we’re doing stand up comedy night. That’s our special program here at Power House Pros, December 15, Stand up comedy night. Linda Bown will be doing stand up comedy on ED.
(Linda had joked about being assigned her topic for this night’s program, suggesting that she didn’t feel like an expert on the topic. So I figured, why not also assign her a topic she is uncomfortable with for December 15.)

I was in Seattle. I was in a long line waiting to speak to the gate agent. I was just standing there with nothing to do, so I thought I’d visit with the lady in front of me. I said, Did you know that the odds of there being a bomb on an airplane is 400,000 to 1. But the odds of there being TWO bombs is 3 million to one. So I always pack a bomb. The woman said. Please don’t stand so close.
(The bomb joke is one I heard ten years ago. It worked well to blend it into a story call-back with the final punch line of “Please don’t stand so close.”)

Sometimes I miss my wife. But my aim is improving.
(Another old joke. Plays on the double meaning of MISS. I did the joke
because I like the structure of the word play.)

I don’t know if you’ve been to the men’s room, they have a sign:
PLEASE AIM AT THE BACK OF URINAL. That’s why we have a
theme for our club: Power House Pros…We aim to please.
(A recycled joke. I used it about 9 months ago. But I knew with the big
audience at this program, most people had not heard it.)

So I just had to sneak into the women’s restroom to see if they had a sign. Sure enough, in every stall, there was a sign, please remain seated during performance.
(Another recycled joke.)

We’re implementing new procedures if you come to the meeting next week. To help keep the restrooms clean, if you need to use the restroom, go out the door, turn left, and use the bushes.
(The recycled jokes opened the door for this new joke about stepping
outside. The trigger is absurdity.)

Signs are a great idea. Wouldn’t it be good to have signs to help the
speakers. Do you like that idea? (APPLAUSE sign)
(I’m starting a triplet of new sign jokes.)

And Bobby, I received a great insight tonight. Bobby said that he used to speak for money but made more money unclogging toilets. So I’m going to give up observational humor and go into the business of observational toilets. (LAUGHTER sign).
( I sequenced the signs in the order that I thought would build the

This is a bigger crowd than we normally have on Monday night, a
special night. But I didn’t realize that with more people you have more butterflies when you stand up to speak (REMOVE YOUR CLOTHES sign).
(Plays with the cliche of visualizing the audience naked or in their underwear to control nervousness.)

My roommate, Juan Valdez...
(The set-up served as the punch line. Just by saying the set-up, and then saying no more, was funny.)

Daren told us about funny things with a spell check or how you can run into problems with a spell check Which is true We have a lot of
unusual names of speakers, even common names If a spell check does not have a name in memory, it will give you alternatives. If don’t pay attention, you’ll put the wrong word for example with Pelletier.
(Two days before this program, I realized that a spell checker could provide me a funny seed for a joke. And the name twists I came up with actually came from my spell-checker. I used five names of people from the audience.)

Pelletier palletized. But as humorists we want to go one step further, and link to something else. Carolyn Palletized: A speaker who, when approaching the lectern, goes BEEP BEEP BEEP.

Marty turns into martyr. Martyr Bernstein. A speaker who does jokes to die for. (Marty ad libs from the audience, “You’re killing me!”)

Pritchard. Pitchfork. Scott Pitchfork. A speaker who sells eating
utensils on QVC. Scott Pitch Fork.

Bown. Bong. Linda Bong. A speaker who will put you at ease.

Hope. Harp. Melanie Harp. Listening to her speak is like dying and
going to heaven.
(My joke structure was using the spell-checker to provide a set-up twist, and to then make a humor connection with a tag line using the twisted name.)