Archive for the 'Case Studies' Category

Observational Humor — Case Study #156

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

It’s time for an Observational Humor monologue presented at at the end of a Toastmasters meeting.

THE SET-UP (Providing what happened during the meeting to help you make sense of the jokes.)

1. We had several guests who were young, intelligent and good looking.

2. A guest named Pedi looked like a sophisticated Spanish model with long hair.

3. A speaker said that TM training can teach you sales skills, how to get a date, and how to talk your way out of a traffic ticket.

4. Toastmasters was founded by Ralph Smedley.

5. A guest named Kevin used his cell phone to provide extra light for me after I said that the lights were too dim for me to read my notes.

6. The Toastmaster of the evening made up a speaker introduction because the speaker failed to provide a written introduction.

THE MONOLOGUE

If our guests join our club tonight they will lower our average age, increase our average intelligence, and make us a better looking club.

(This is a self-deprecation joke. It implies that our club members are older than our guests. Less intelligent. Less good looking. Plus it flatters the guests. I would us these comments only if they had a ring of truth, so that the remarks didn’t sound patronizing.)

I don’t know much about Pedi, but I’m sure that he drives a car with soft Corinthian leather.

(Implies that he had the sophisticated look of Ricardo Mantalban. The line got a big laugh.)

Information for our guests, TM training can teach you how to get a date with a traffic cop.

You may have noticed that three people here are known by their initials: JR, TJ and JR. And I am JK.

We encourage people to go by their initials because when we print the agendas it uses less ink.

As a result of tonight’s performance, Melanie receives the Smedley Award for best Toastmaster of the Evening. JR receives the award for best General Evaluator, And the Smedley award for best lighting director goes to Kevin.

(This got a much bigger laugh than I expected. The rule-of-three probably helped. And the fact that a guest stepped in to provide lighting for a speaker was unusual enough to make it a memorable beat.)

(I suggested a couple of opening comments for a speaker who forgot to bring a written, prepared speaker introduction.

1. I remembered to bring my written introduction, but I forgot to give it to the Toastmaster. So I’ll read it to you now: The next speaker needs no introduction.

2. I must say, that was the best introduction I never wrote.)

Observational Humor — Case Study #155

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

It’s time for an Observational Humor monologue presented at at the end of an NSA chapter meeting.

THE SET-UP (Providing what happened during the meeting to help you make sense of the jokes.)

1. The majority of the speakers for the meeting had names starting with J and three of them were named John. The featured speaker, Lois Creamer, was from out of town.

2. The meeting was held on Mother’s Day weekend. The Chapter encouraged people to bring their Mothers to the meeting.

3. In the past, Judy Moreo had introduced herself as OREO with an M in front of it.

4. The chapter President was John Getter. The President Elect was Amber De La Garza.

5. Judy Moreo mentioned the use of “screamers” who meet celebrities at the airport, screaming and shouting, “Oh look! It’s Judy Moreo.”

THE MONOLOGUE

You may be wondering how you get a speaking slot for one of our meetings. If you look at the program, it’s obvious. Judi Moreo opened, and she was great. Other speaking parts on the program went to John Getter, John Polish, John Kinde. You need a name that starts with a J…And bonus points if your name is John. And Lois Creamer…If your name doesn’t start with a J…you have to be from out of town.

And what a great idea…bring your Mother on Mother’s Day. I should have brought my Mom. Her name is June…and she’s from out of town. She could have been on the program. She’ll be upset that I didn’t bring her.

Speaking at next month’s program will be Amber De La Garza, Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin, an Abe Lincoln impersonator, and me. For the next 12 months I’m moving out of town and I’m changing my name to Alice.

Again, my name is John Kinde. That’s like OREO…with KINDE in front of it…and the OREO is silent. I flew to an engagement last month and when I arrived at the airport, the screamers were waiting fof me. They started shouting, “Oh look, it’s John Kinde Oreo.”

The Paul Lynde Show

Friday, April 21st, 2017

The Paul Lynde Show is playing afternoons at Bally’s Las Vegas. It’s a fun show and I recommend it.  Impersonator Michael Arington plays Lynde in a show which is mostly biographical. Arington has the voice and the gestures mastered. He brings Lynde back to life, sharing perspectives on how society has changed during the last 35 years. And we get a performer’s perspective on the challenges of being a success in show business. One of my favorite segment themes showed us what it would be like if Lynde had auditioned for parts in famous movies, playing well-known scenes seasoned with Lynde’s campy style: Jaws, Deliverance, The Graduate, Love Story, and more. He expanded a Titanic scene, bringing an audience member to play a scene on stage with him. Well connected with the audience, he engaged several audience members in the show, and kept the show fresh with a number of callbacks resulting from his chatting with the audience. We shared his successes in life, Bye Bye Birdie, Bewitched, Hollywood squares…and his challenges and career low points. One-liners from his center-square performances on Hollywood Squares were sprinkled throughout the show. Never a lack of laughs. The show had the added professional touch of a keyboard player, a bass player, and a drummer. Bally’s is located on the corner of Flamingo and LV Boulevard.  This is a three-minute synopsis of a 75 minute show. Take a friend. You will enjoy yourself. Don’t miss it.

Observational Humor — Case Study #153

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

Here is another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting. We will provide you with the set-up, the joke, and a comment on what made the joke work.

THE SET-UP (To help you understand the context of the jokes, we will share with you what happened and what was said during the meeting, before the monologue was delivered.)

1. Our NSA Chapter President gave a speech introducing himself to the chapter while also sharing an inspirational message. He said the title of his talk was, “Let’s talk about John Getter.”

2. The President’s speech included photographs from his childhood. “I started out as a child.” He told us he played the violin, but that did not qualify him to be in the marching band.

3. Our featured speaker was Mike Staver. He suggested when we try to catch fish we go fishing…so when we try to catch a cow, why don’t we go cowing?

4. A speaker noted that the meeting room was set up nicely. He pointed out that there were several speakers hanging from the ceiling.

5. Members were reminded to check in with Rocky first thing in the morning.

6. We had a guest from Switzerland. He was introduced as the “person who came the furthest.”

7. Laura gave a workshop-style program. Half-way through the program she said it was time to debrief.

8. Our featured speaker told of being on a weightlessness-training aircraft. When they went into wrightless mode, most trainees either giggled or they lost their lunch.

THE MONOLOGUE

We were concerned about whether we would have time to do my meeting wrap up. Next month I will be sitting in the front row instead of the back row. That should save us about 10 minutes.

And now…let’s talk about John Kinde.

I started out as a child. (I showed a drawing of a stick figure character. I always have three types of pens; ball point, magic marker, and a heavier felt marker. That allows me to create visuals and speaking notes.)

In middle-school I played the violin (Drawing of a stick-figure orchestra.)

Then I joined the marching band. (stick figure marching band with one person playing the violin.)

On weekends we went cowing. (Stick figure of man with fishing pole with a cow on the hook.)

I’m moving slow today. Part of that is due to the walker. However, most of it is me.

But being slow opens new career opportunities to me. I go a job at Madame Tussaud’s wax museum. I was Mr Rogers. They told me I was almost life like. (Self-deprecation.)

But enough about me.

(Call-back phrase,)

I know that an audience at a stimulating meeting like this will have some questions.

I’ll give you the answer first and then share the question. (This is a set up for using the answer-man or Carnack format as a vehicle for humor.)

The answer is: Sneaking past Rocky before the meeting starts.

And the question is: How do you become a speaker hanging from the ceiling?

***

The answer is: Visit the NSA chapter in Geneva Switzerland.

The question is: How do you get recognized as the person who came the furthest?

***

The answer is: I thought… I’m glad I didn’t wear boxers today.

The question is: What crossed your mind when Laura said, We are now going to debrief.

(Playing with double-word meaning.)

***

The answer is: It’s when you are watching John Kinde’s humor.

The question is: What are you doing when half the people around you are giggling. And the other half are throwing up. (Self-deprecation.)

Observational Humor — Case Study #151

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

Here is another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting.

First, we will share the set-up to each joke, what happened and what was said before the monologue was presented.
We will then share the jokes and give a brief comment on why the joke was funny.

THE SET-UPS

1. The meeting featured our annual Humorous Speech contest and evaluation contest.

2. Rebecca, a guest speaker, was incorrectly introduced as
Rachel.

3. Rebecca told us about her “Elvis” wedding.

4. Don Rickles is a famous insult-style comedian.

5. The wedding program included a dancing girl wearing
coconuts.

6. The wedding limo refused to take 12 people.  Their
limit was 10.

7. The photos from the wedding were stamped “Do Not Copy.”

8. A member introduced himself as Bond—James Bond.

9. Bond paper us a high-quality paper often used for letterheads.
It is heavier than lower-quality paper, and it could contain
cotton fiber to give it a crisp texture and feel.

10. A member said that Bill, a humor contestant, was her
husband’s favorite comic speaker.  Then as an after-thought
she added “After John Kinde, of course.”

THE MONOLOGUE

It was great having Rebecca join us this evening.  In the
Witness Protection Program she is known as Rachel.

(The mis-introduction of her name  had gotten a good laugh.
That made it a good trigger for a joke later in the meeting.)

The Elvis Wedding sounds like fun. Did you know that they
also have a “Don Rickles divorce package.”

(I asked myself, “What is the opposite of a feel-good Elvis
wedding?”  I provided the answer, a divorce ceremony themed
after an insult comic.)

If I had known Rebecca was speaking tonight I would have
worn my coconuts.

( A silly comment and picture for the mind.)

We had 12 people show up for tonight’s meeting.  The Fire
Marshal sent two of them home.

(A joke structure which paralleled the limo experience.)

Rebecca, I’ll give you a copy of my speech evaluation notes.
But notice that they are stamped “Do Not Copy.”

(A call-back on the silly side, but effective.  A good laugh.)

We don’t have any trophies tonight, but we do have nice
Certificates of Participation printed on Bond—24 lb cotton
content Bond.

(Name play linking to the thought of Bond paper.)

This would have been joke 007, but it was classified .

(Pretended the censor was at work again.)

I have the reputation for being funny, but only funny enough to
be a footnote.

(Self-Deprecation.  Being a complimentary afterthought was funny.)

I’ve already shared 10 observations with you.  The censors are shutting me down.

(A call back to the limit of 10.  Implies that 11 – 12 hitting the cutting-room floor.)

Observational Humor — Case Study #150

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

Here is another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting.

First, we will look at the set-up to give you
a sense of being there.  Then I will share the joke and why it
was funny.

Are you making Observational Humor a part of your club meeting?
If so write me a note to tell me what the experience is like,
and I’ll share your use of Observational Humor with our readers.

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

1. The Word-of-the-Day was temerity.

2. Georgia uses a walker and we often joke about racing each other.

3. Sherri said that she printed the agenda on whatever paper she
could find

4. Georgia was our timer and while expaining her function to the
guests, she said “We time everything.”

5. We have more than one body builder in the club. They turn any
shirt into a “muscle shirt.”

6. A speaker talked about buying stock and entering he bond market.

7. A speaker said you become successful in business by making good
choices.  And you learn to make good choices by making bad choices.

8. A speaker said that she wrote a country song: I’m not feeling
funny when my nose is runny.

THE MONOLOGUE

Tonight I had the temerity to wear shorts to a Toastmasters meeting .

(Many Toastmaster clubs are somewhat formal and would frown on
wearing shorts to a meeting.  However it’s hot in Las Vegas during
the summer and some people wear shorts.)

Another Olympics has passed and once again I have not beaten Georgia in the 100 meter dash.

(The Olympics had just ended.  It tied in with our walker running-gag
joke.)

Sherri didn’t tell you how close she came to printing the agenda on toilet paper.

(Using the principle of extrapolation.  One odd paper choice leads
to another more unusual choice.)

Georgia said that we time everything.  You know that’s true if you
visited the restroom.  Because of that, for efficiency, we sometimes DO print the agenda on toilet paper.

(Used exaggeration and absurdity to link the timing of all functions
to include restroom activities.  And then did a call-back providing
a topper which linked to the printing of the agenda. Nice structure.)

My function tonight is to show you what a muscle shirt looks like
without the muscles.

(Self-deprecation and the obvious is funny.)

If you do stock humor, you run the risk of entering the bomb market.

(A call-back and the use of a sound-alike word.)

Speaking of bombing.  You learn humor skills by making bad choices.

(Not very funny but a nice call-back.)

Your country song reminds me of the one: If my nose was running
money…I’d blow it all on you.

(One joke reminded me of another.  A good closer.)

Observational Humor — Case Study #147

Friday, July 15th, 2016

Here is another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting.

THE SETUP What happened or what was said during the meeting before the monologue was delivered.

1. A member said that speaking at a Toastmasters Club is not about perfection, it’s about growth.

2. Jesse Oakley, a well-known, popular Toastmaster arrived at the meeting 20 minutes late. He is Jesse Oakley the third and tags iii onto his name (Jessie Oakley eye eye eye)

3.  I evaluated Stan’s speech.

4. Stan works out at the gym and has huge muscles. He was wearing a tight fitting muscle shirt.

5. A speaker was introduced as Mr Dependability

6. Bobby commented that President Obama was ranking high in popularity at the end of his term. He noted that as his term ended for club President, he was also expecting to be popular.

7. Bill Parker said he felt like he was being forced to ride in the back of the bus.

8. Bobby said that he likes Bill, because when Bill says something, he means it.

9. Bill and Sherri attend the meeting with Sheri’s Mother, Georgia.

THE MONOLOGUE

Mr Toastmaster.   Fellow Toastmasters. And the Late Jesse Oakley, iii

(I used the formal opening often used by Toastmasters, a triplet ending with Jesse’s name. I have used the “Late” gag before, but not with this group. Good response.)

And now it’s time for perfection.

(Self-Aggrandizement works well in moderation and if the audience knows you well)

I enjoyed evaluating Stan’s speech tonight. We have something in common. We both are wearing muscle shirts. And one of us has muscles.

(Self deprecation. Big laugh.)

I’ve never been called Mr Dependability. Although I was once voted to be Miss Congeniality.

(Self deprecation. Absurdity. Good response.)

This club is known for its large number of dependable members. The majority of its members wear depends.

(Absurdity. Funny connection)

Bobby is one of my few friends who have the popularity of Donald Trump.

(Bobby is a universally well-liked guy. The absurd switch to Trump received a good laugh.)

I was excited when Bill said that he liked me. Because I knew that tonight he meant it.

(Combined two observations from the meeting.)

Bill said that felt that he was riding in the back of the bus tonight. That’s why his nickname is Rosa Parker.

(The line occurred to me because of the similarity of his last name, Parker, to Rosa Parks.)

Bill and Sherri Parker Attend Toasmasters meetings with Sherri’s Mother, Georgia. When a club is fortunate to have them as guests it’s like giving a three-for-one coupon.

(Two-fer coupons are common and popular in Las Vegas.)

Many of you probably don’t realize that Georgia is in the witness protection program where her last name is Hippie. Depending on how well you know her, you can refer to her as Georgia or as Mrs Hippie (Mississippi). ii ii

(I’ve known Georgia for over ten years and the connection between Georgia and Mississippi had never occurred to me until that night. It also allowed me to bookend the monologue, opening with iii and closing with ii ii. A strong closing.)

Observational Humor — Case Study #144

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

Here is another monologue presented at the end of a meeting. The jokes were the result of paying attention to what was happening during the meeting and then looking for connections which were humorous and not expected by the audience.

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

1. A speaker quoted a bible verse.

2. A speaker was wearing a shirt with a slogan on it: Why not today?

3. The meeting was held in a church which had the slogan: “Church for people who don’t like church.

4. A speaker said to the audience, “You’re the best audience I’ve had in a long time…and I don’t say that to every audience. Well, maybe I do.”

5. I have joked in the past that the only celebrity I look like is Mr
Rogers.

6. A speaker said that his alarm wakes him up every morning at 5:00 am.

7. I was using a walker.

8. One of the members attending the meeting looked like Hillary
Clinton.

9. A speaker said, “If you don’t market yourself you become invisible.”

10. A speaker said, “Get a coach. A good coach isn’t cheap, but is a
good investment.”

THE MONOLOGUE

The bible refers to the quick and the dead. I am neither.
(Self deprecation. I often joke about being slow.)

I speak on procrastination. I have a book titled “Why Not Tomorrow?”
(A call back with a twist. It was set up nicely during the self
introductions when the man wearing the Why-not-today shirt
commented on his shirt.)

I do humor for people who don’t like laughter.
(Twisting the theme of the church to relate it to what I do, in a joking way. It could be received as an absurd statement or it could be implying that people don’t laugh at my jokes, self-deprecation.)

As a group you have the best sense of humor. And I don’t say that to every group.
(A call back.)

I’m now working nights at Madam Tsuaad’s Wax Museum. I’m performing as a sculpture of Mr Rogers. Tourists say I’m almost life like.
(Self-deprecation about my low-energy style.)

Every day my alarm goes off at 5…pm…after my afternoon nap.
(Switching am for pm.)

Women like men who are funny. Women like men who are tall. Women like men who use walkers. I made that up.
(Making fun of my walker, something obvious.)

We have a special guest today. Would you please stand, Hillary Clinton.
(I like to recognize people in the audience without coordinating with
them. In this case, I was taken by surprise when the look-alike had left the meeting early.)

To wrap things up: Two tips to help you understand the speaking business:
(Bringing closure to the monologue.)

Not being funny is being invisible.
(Twisting an earlier phrase to tie it into my humor theme.)

Know that funny speeches aren’t cheap…and cheap speeches aren’t funny.
(Another example of twisting words to fit my theme.)

Observational Humor — Case Study #143

Friday, February 5th, 2016

Here is another Observational Humor monologue which was presented at the end of a meeting. I observed what was said and what happened during the meeting, and at the end of the meeting I presented humorous observations. We will look at the set-ups, the jokes, and what made the jokes work.

THE SET-UPS (What happened and what was said during the meeting.)

1. In a speech about writing a winning Tall Tale speech, we were told to open with a catchy statement and also to know our closing perfectly.

2. Our Toastmaster was introduced as a District contest winner and an expert in vocal variety.

3. A speaker told us that vocal variety will bring your characters to life.

4. The word of the day was Iota.

5. Bill, a former club member, arrived a half hour late.

6. A speaker talked about four personality styles represented on a
matrix by four symbols.

7. She said that the circle represented water.

8. A speaker told us to increase credibility by citing our sources.

9. She suggested that it was not good to cite Wikipedia as a source.

10. She said that her husband was “a hard circle” in the matrix.

11. She used a repetitive phrase in her speech, “Are you sure?”

12. A speaker’s speech title was: “What in the World Was I Thinking?”

13. A speaker talked about sky diving while “strapped to a guy.”

14. I was wearing a sweater embroidered with the logo of The National Speakers Association.

THE MONOLOGUE

“And that’s how I jumped over the moon!”

(Good response. Strong laugh.)

I have the last line memorized.

(Good laugh. Nice topper.)

Our General Evaluator is a two-time District winner in Evaluation.
He is a two-time District winner in Tall Tales.
He is a four-time District winner in Humorous Speaking.
But he has never won the International Speaking Contest at the District level.
We apologize for not bringing you a winner.
(Funny because of the truth. Often we tend to remember the negative
things in life.)

I am an expert in Vocal Variety.
I bring my characters to life.
(Self-deprecation. I am not known for my vocal variety.)

I was in a college fraternity, Iota Delta Kapa
(Playing with the word IOTA.)

I’d like to welcome the late Bill Lusk.
(A recycled line which I had used before. Always gets a good laugh.)

Tonight, we’ll talk about the four styles of humor.
The wiggly line represents those who crash and burn.
The triangle represents those who use the rule of three.
The circle represents water, those who wet their pants.
And the square represents those who pun.
(The call back of symbols got good laughs.)
My source for that information is Wickipedia.
What in the World Was I Thinking.

Melanie you said that your husband Jim was a hard circle.
Are you sure?
(The call back of the HARD CIRCLE comment would only work with a follow-on punchline. “Are you sure?” A good laugh.)

After my speech tonight, I thought that Iota have practiced more.
(Playing with the word of the day and sound-alikes (I oughta). Looking for something that almost sounds like the word of the day is usually good for a laugh.)

Next time I give a contest speech I’m going to be strapped to a guy
(Absurdity. Paints a silly picture.)

I was wearing this sweater while playing Black Jack this week. A guy at the other end of the table commented: “You’re wearing a National Speakers Association sweater  but you never speak.” My simple reply: “I only speak when I’m paid.”

(Something that really happened. A funny observation.)

Observational Humor — Case Study #142

Sunday, November 8th, 2015

Here is another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting of the Las Vegas Chapter of the National Speakers Association.

First, we will look at the set-ups for the jokes. Then review the jokes.  And finally, we’ll look at what made the humor work.

The goal of studying Observational Humor is to develop your talent of creating just one original, fresh joke to include in your presentation.

The SetUp (What happened and what was said during the meeting,
before he monologue was presented.)

1. I was moving slowly due to stiffness.

2. Mike Rayburn played a difficult song on the guitar. He said: I do
that…because I can.

3. Mike Rayburn has played Carnegie Hall multiple times.

4. Debbie Allen said that every speaker’s first book usually sucks.

5. Debbie has written eight books.

6. Have a current photo in your promo materials so that when you show
up for an engagement, you look like yourself.

7. Debbie is one of the most successful and most highly paid women
speakers in the speaking business.

8. This is my second year to close every chapter meeting with an
Observational Humor wrap-up.

9. Sophia (chapter President) gave a thank you gift to Mike Rayburn
(immediate past President). She said Mike had it all, and the most
meaningful gift she could give Mike would be to write a check as a
donation to his church.

THE MONOLOGUE

(I approached the front of the room very slowly. Not to setup a joke but because I was very stiff.)
I have an advantage over many speakers. When I give a one-hour keynote, I only need 30 minutes of content.
(The joke received less laughter than I thought it would. My voice
wasn’t strong that day, and I got feedback after the meeting that I was hard to hear. I should have been wearing a microphone.)

I’m not going to sing and play the guitar…because I can’t.
(A reversal of a call back.)

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?  Buy tickets to see Mike Rayburn.  

(Self-deprecation and also compliments a talented member.)

My speaking career is on track. I’m writing my first book…which will suck.
(self deprecation.)

I’ve written eight books. No…I ate my first book. I was hungry.
(Plays with sound-alike words EIGHT/ATE. Ate my first book was a
joke. I was hungry was a topper. And self-deprecation.)

My career was going great…until I showed up looking like myself.

(A call back. Unexpectedly applying prior advice twist to myself.)

And soon I’ll be ranked in the top-five of all women speakers.
(Silly but fun. A good laugh.)

How to get mentioned in one of John’s wrap-up monologues: Do or say something brilliant. Do or say something stupid. And keep doing it until you see John write something down.
(Absurd advice, since it’s unlikely any member of the audience was
wondering how they could be mentioned in the monologue.)

Sophia, I don’t have everything. You can make a check out to me.
(A call back. And self-deprecation.)