Observational Humor — Case Study #132

Here’s another Observational Humor Monologue from an NSA Las Vegas chapter meeting. First we will look at the set-up. And then we’ll review the monologue and what made the jokes tick. It was an average monologue with a terrific closer.

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

1. A speaker commented that many people from North Dakota had stoic, peaceful, laid-back personalities.

2. A speaker commented on the importance of having energy in your
presentation.

3. A member, in his self-introduction, joked about being in the Witness
Protection Program.

4. I’ve joked in the past that I look like Mr Rogers.

5. Walter Bond said that to be a point guard you need the right physical gift and you need to work hard.

6. Marvelous Mark said that was unique and never duplicated.

7. A speaker mentioned the Wild Birdfeeder Organization.

8. A speaker mentioned Chick Flicks.

9. A speaker mentioned Jesus.

10. A speaker mentioned Brian Williams.

11. A speaker mentioned that he had 13 professional engagements in
January.

12. Judy Moreo was wearing black pants and a suit jacket with bold
black and white stripes. Marvelous Mark was wearing a black suit coat
and pants with bold black and white stripes.

THE MONOLOGUE

I’m from North Dakota…where this is high energy.
(Self-deprecation. Poking fun at my easy-going personality.)

I met a famous speaker who said: “Why don’t I know you?”
The reason she didn’t know me was that I’m in the Witness Protection Program.
(A good laugh, but not a big laugh.)

Being in the Witness Protection Program is a lot of work. On each day of the week I need to be a different person:
(The Witness Protection Programs lines were set-up lines for the
following list.)

On Sundays I’m Mr Rogers.
(Good laugh.)

On Mondays I’m a point guard.
(Fair laugh.)

On Tuesdays I’m Marvelous Mark
(Good laugh.)

On Wednesdays I’m a Wild Bird Feeder.
(Fair laugh.)

On Thursdays I’m a Chick Flick Star.
(Bigger laugh.)

On Fridays I’m Jesus.
(Good laugh.)

And on Saturdays I’m Brian Williams.
(Fair laugh.)

Last month I had 13 paid gigs…in Afghanistan.
(Big laugh. This was a topper to the Brian Williams line.

I recommend arriving a our meetings early. You learn interesting
things about our members. Would Judy and Mark please stand? I was in the parking lot when Judy and Mark arrived. They shook hands. And before they entered the bulding, they shook traded jackets.
(They were dressed in a way that it appeared that Judy came to the
meeting in a Black Suit…and that Mark came to the meeting in a suit
with bold Black and White Stripes. And before they entered the
building, they traded jackets. This joke received an absolutely huge
laugh. I figured the joke would work, and that’s why I used it as a
closer. But I was pleasantly surprised how big the response was. The
factors of SURPRISE, SUPERIORITY, ABSURDITY, and probably some others, resulted in the biggest laugh I’ve had in a year. The SURPRISE factor had people thinking, “Yeah, that’s right. It’s amazing that someone made that connection.” The SUPERIORITY factor counted on the audience being able to figure out the joke for themselves. Fortunately I had a smart audience who was also attentive and put the puzzle pieces together allowing them to figure out the joke, triggering the Superiority Factor. With great reward comes great risk. This joke had the potential to totally bomb. If audience members were preoccupied and not paying close attention to, and analyzing, the lines, the joke would have never worked. And the ABSURDITY factor made the joke funny, because after they connected the dots, they then realized that trading jackets was a ridiculous thing that would have never happened. Comments after the meeting: “You hit it out of the park.” “That was the funniest thing I ever heard.” “Absolutely amazing!” And more. And as you read the monologue, you’re pobably thinking, “I didn’t think that was so funny.” You had to be there. With the power of Observational Humor…you ARE there.