Observational Humor — Case Study #127

Here is another Video Blog featuring an Observational Humor monologue. It’s important to read the written Set-Up information before watching the video. Watching the video first is would be like listening to a humor monlogue of punch lines with the set-up lines hidden from view. The set-up provides the context for the jokes. Without proper context, most of the jokes won’t make sense. When a joke doesn’t make sensee, the expression is usually “you had to be there.”  Reading the set-up, in a sense, allows you to be there and helps you to understand the humor.

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

1. Tim Gard, one of the funniest people in the National Speakers Association, was the guest speaker for the Las Vegas chapter of NSA.  He presented some of his terrific signature stories, many which shared a humorous look at airline travel. If you have the chance to see him speak, don’t miss it. If you need a hilarious speaker with an impowering message, Tim is your speaker. www.TimGard.com

2. Tim’s program is a study on the use of humorous props. To keep from losing his bags on an airline flight, he has two rubber-chicken legs sticking out of his suitcase, and a large sign saying something like “this is not your bag.” To do justice to the routine, you need to see Tim at a live presentation.

3. Tim has created his own Official Rules of the Hospitality Industry.  He shares stories of creating his own rules which he uses when checking into hotels.

4. Tim uses the expressions “Woo Hoo!” and “Bummer” to express the ups and downs of travel.

5. Past speakers for the chapter have included Mike Rayburn (chapter President) and Dan Thurmon a speaker/gymnast.

6. A speaker referred to advice given by coach Ron Arden.

7. A speaker mentioned being naked to get laughs.

8. Someone mentioned eliminating the competition by killing them one by one.

9. A speaker used the technique of “turn to the person next to you and discuss…”

10. A speaker mentioned the “pull my finger gag.”

11. A speaker mentioned that he had his appendix removed 10 years ago.

12. Our meeting facility had Uni-Sex rest rooms.

13. At the start of the meeting my self-introduction was, “My name is John Kinde. I’ve come to the meeting this morning for the Uni-Sex restrooms.” This was one of the funniest lines of the entire morning.

Click here to view the monologue video.


(Physical actions with no spoken words. Arriving on the speaker’s platform. Placing on the table a briefcase with chicken legs sticking out. Audience laughter. Opening briefcase. Briefcase sign: This is not your briefcase.)

(Good laughs piggybacking on Tim’s signature story about his suitcase prop. Tim’s use of props and story is many times funnier than my short gag. I got some laughs with a simple prop call-back. This is also an example of “preparing to be spontaneous.” I came to the meeting ready with a one-time use gag. I wouldn’t use it again because the gag belongs to Tim. And I only used it because he included it in his content that morning. If he had not used his suitcase story, I would not have been able to use my briefcase gag.)

Before I get started, I’m going to read to you a few words from the Official Speaker Policy Manual.

(A good laugh. This was a set-up for the following lines.)

“Speaker Behavior and Professionalism Section 7 Paragraph 12. When a speaker at an NSA Chapter meeting follows a much funnier program speaker, a situation known as Bummer, the audience will understand this challenge and will laugh at the jokes of the lesser humorous speaker as a professional courtesy.”

(Huge laugh. Self-depecation).

Woo Hoo.

(Someone in the audience said Woo Hoo first, I said the expression anyway. Good laugh.)

Oh no, not another hilariously funny speaker.

(Self-Deprecation. Light laugh.)

I was called by the board and asked to be on the program today and I thought about it and I thought what a great idea, doing observational humor following the funniest speaker in NSA.

(Setting the context of someone following a hilarious Tim Gard program. Light laughter.)

That would be like being on the program after Mike Rayburn and playing a song on the guitar. That would be like being on a program after Dan Thurmon and doing a back flip.

(Very light response. In retrospect, I would have left these lines out. It had been many years since Dan presented his program to our chapter.)

Ron Arden said to me…you’re not funny enough to be naked.

(Very big laugh. Absurdity and self-deprecation.)

It’s a fact you may not be familiar with. There are only 141 funny speakers in NSA. Every time I meet one, I kill them. Tim, I’m your ride to the airport.

(“I kill them” received light reaction. The “ride to the airport” topper got a huge laugh. Often a weaker joke provides a great set-up for another joke which follows.)

Turn to the person next to you and pull their finger.

(A simple call back combining two obsservations. A big laugh.)

It’s been ten years since I’ve had my apendix transplant.

(Implied punchline, that the speaker was the donor of the organ. I wasn’t sure how the joke would play, but it got a good laugh. The punch line was a bit of a time-release joke. The laughs came in two waves.)

It’s been a really great program today. I’ve had a great time. I’ll see you in the restroom.

(Good call back of restroom coment from the beginning of the meeting.)