Archive for the 'Case Studies' Category

Observational Humor — Case Study #132

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

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.

Observational Humor — Case Study #131

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Here is another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting. We’ll look at the set-up. Then we’ll examine the joke and what made the joke work.

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

1. I joked about how it was difficult to get me to smile. It became a running gag as others started to joke about it too.

2. I ran about two minutes over my 20-minute time limit. The Timer joked that DTM means Don’t Time Me.

3. I wasn’t wearing my usual denim shirt. It was cold outside and I
wore a jacket and a sweatshirt.

4. New member Sid Maestry said his name was pronounced like Pastry.

5. A speaker said we would learn something for posterity.

6. My name was mis-spelled on the agenda: KINDY.

7. Part way from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, there is a freeway exit sign
for ZZYZX Road.

8. The word-of-the-day was Esprit de l’escalier, a French phrase.

9. The Master Evaluator critiqued Jens for mis-pronouncing a member’s name.  “If you do that again Jens, we’ll have to take you out to the parking lot and have you shot.”

THE MONOLOGUE

(Looking at notes, then looking up) Smile!
(I flashed a big phony smile. It good response from the audience.)

Don’t time me.
(I said it slowly, while looking at the Timer. Good response.)

I’m not wearing my denim shirt tonight. I’ve been placed in the witness protection program.
(A good target of humor since I almost always wore my denim shirt. Big
laugh.)

And Sid Maestry is our newest member. Sounds like Pastry. Our club is finally getting its just desserts.  (Good laugh.)

We’ve had several good speeches tonight. I’m sure you’ve picked up a thing or two for your posterior.
(Playing with a sound-alike word for posterity.)

My name was mis-spelled on the agenda. It’s not Kindy…it’s Kindzzyzx.  The Zs and Xs are silent.

(This spelling mistake was made a couple of months earlier, so I
recycled the joke which had worked well before adding a new topper
about the silent letters. It got a good response, but not as big as the first time I used it.)

Humor tip for the day. Do your humor with esprit de l’escalier. It will give it that certain je ne sais quoi.
(We had pronunciation challenges with the word-of-the-day earlier in
the meeting. It provided a good target for a joke.)

Jens. I’ve been designated as the person to take you out to the parking lot.
(Playing the role of the bouncer, it got a good laugh and provided a nice closer.)

Observational Humor — Case Study #130

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

It’s time for another Observational Humor Monologue presented at the end of a meeting. We will look at the set-up for the joke. Then we will look at the joke and what makes it funny.

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

1. A speaker said that giving free speeches is a good way to build your
speaking business. People will hear you and then will want to hire you.

2. A speaker said that if an agent wanted you to do a free speech, you
should do so if the agent or a member of their staff would be present at
the speech. Then the speech would serve as a showcase and encourage
the agent to book you in the future, because they would see how good
you were.

3. A market pricing strategy is to let the client “pay what they want.”

4. A speaker said that being a professional speaker isn’t about doing
the speech, it’s about getting the speech.

5. A speaker used the word PLETHORA.

6. A speaker said she had been married for 16 years…but not in a row.

7. A speaker said she can go long periods of time without drinking
water. She said she was like a camel.

8. A speaker said he was racing on a motorcycle behind a flying bat.
And some raising hit him in the face, “I hope they were raisins.”

THE MONOLOGUE

I used to do free speeches but the Word of Mouth was killing me.
(Self-deprecation and an implied punchline that I would NOT get a
referral or repeat speech because someone had heard me…not true, but
funny.)

I had an agent who asked if I could help her with a client who had a
small budget. I said I would do it for free…on the condition that she
didn’t attend.
(Self-deprecation. Not true, but funny.)

My humor style is called Laugh As You Want.
(A good twist of a callback.)

Humor is not doing a joke…it’s the audience getting the joke.
(Interesting twist of a callback. Not intended to be funny.)

I have a plethora of humor tips.   (I like making fun of clunky 25-cent words.)

I’ve been married one year…in a row.
(A funny pairing of phrases. Big laugh.)

I’d walk a mile for a camel.
(Call back of the word CAMEL. A good laugh.

Frank…Those weren’t raisins.
(Simple call back and an implied punch line.)

Observational Humor — Case Study #129

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Here’s another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of  a meeting. In the text that follows, we will look at the set-up for the jokes.

The  monologue is provided with a short comment on what made each joke tick.

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

1. My name on the agenda was misspelled Kindy instead of Kinde.

2. There is a freeway exit sign between Las Vegas and Los Angeles
named ZZYZX Road.

3. Bill gave a speech on what he learned from three marriages.

4. A speaker talked about right/left brain, saying he was lucky to be
using half his brain.

5. A speaker told us his first crush on a girl was when he was three
years old.

6. I have a long history with three Toastmasters in the audience; Bobby,
Jens, and Bill.

7. Jens told us of a club that met four Mondays a month, but he
mis-spoke and said four Mondays a week.

8. Our club meets at Pololu Robotics.

9. Bill shared family photos with us from his first and second marriage.
The first marriage photo was in Black and White. The second marriage
photo was in color.

10. Bobby told a story about giving advice to someone with pesonal
problems. He told him, “Get a job.”

THE MONOLOGUE

You’ll notice on the agenda my name is misspelled. It’s actually
spelled Kindzzyzx.
(Like most customized humor, this would be funny to someone who had
frequently driven past the ZZYZX Road sign. To someone who had not,
the joke would not be funny. Also, note that the response is quite large
for a small audience of only nine people.)

Bill, I’d like to refer you to a book I’ve written. Everything I know
about Women. It’s a blank book. I don’t know everything about
anything.
(This comes from a blank-book title that I saw on the internet, topped
with the common knowledge that nobody knows everything about
anything.)

In fact a lot of people think I know a lot about humor. The truth is I’m a half wit.
(Combined the half-brain comment with half wit. Self-deprecation.)

My first crush on a girl I was ten years old. Imagine that.
(The truth. Funny by comparison to three years old.)

I go way back with Jens. Some of my longest acquaintances are here tonight; Bobby, Jens, and Bill.
(A set up for jokes about three specific people.)

I knew Jens when we belonged to a club in Omaha. And we met four Mondays a week.
(Applied a mis-statement to a specific club.)

Bill, you realize we are meeting at Pololu Robotics. They can make you the perfect wife. Have you noticed Ryan just got married recently to Andrea. She’s a perfect wife. There is a reason for that.
(Absurdity.)

The company used to be called Stepford Robotics.
(Adding a joke to the theme. An efficient way to build humor. The
set-up is already provided.)

We learned, thanks to Bill, that color film was invented between his first
and second marriage.
(A great connection between two photographs. I assumed that the
audience would remember that the first photo was B&W and the second photo was in color. A strong line.)

Years ago Bobby said, “I try to use humor but nobody laughs at me. It just isn’t working. What can you suggest?” I looked at him and said, “Get a job.”
(A good call back. Not a huge response, but got a laugh.)

Observational Humor — Case Study #128

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Here is another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting.  It was a small audience, only nine people, but good Observational Humor plays big even with a small audience. First, we’ll take a look at the set-up for the jokes. Then we will examine the jokes and look at what made the jokes funny.

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

1. A speaker shared two ways of waking up in the morning: – GOOD MORNING God. – GOOD GOD it’s morning.

2. A speaker meant to say BETTER but said GOODER.

3. A speaker said we had TONS of reasons to stay in Toastmasters.

4. A frequent guest, Giget Swanson, was referred to as a repeat offender.

5. Giget announced that she was starting a new club.

6. A speaker accidentally referred to Giget as Ginger.

7. The word of the day was Dipsomaniac.

8. A speaker told the joke about a child digging thru a pile of manure saying “I know there’s a pony in here somewhere.”

9. A speaker talked about The Path to Inner Peace.

10. Bobby joked about hanging around an old friend. “And the nice thing was that he was still living.”

11. Carolyn arrived at the meeting late.

12. We had a guest named Gene.

13. Member Ryan Mulligan was present.

14. During a speaker evaluation, Jens recommended that the speaker focus on speaking more loudly.

15. A speaker joked if you had an average income, you would be richer than half the country.

THE MONOLOGUE

Good God it’s Kinde. (A call back and self-deprecation.)

They considered having someone else to do the Observational Humor, but I was the gooder choice. (A call back to a mis-use of a word.)

This is a special club. Great guests. Great members. A ton of people here. (Turning TON into a running gag.)

A frequent guest is Giget. She was defined as a repeat offender. (This was mainly a set up. But it got a laugh as a call back.)

She’s starting a new club. That’s part of what is required of you when you are a repeat offender. She is part of the witness protection program, where her name is Ginger. (Strong call back of mis-use of name. Ginger was an unexpected topper. Big laugh.)

Gidget is a great cook. She invited me for dinner and I was so excited because she is a dipsomaniac…someone who never needs Dipso Bismol. (Just saying the word of the day got a good laugh, and made the Dipso Bismol a topper. Playing with sound-alike words: Pepto and Dipso.)

I went over to her house. We sat there eating dinner, watching Jeopardy. You haven’t lived until you’ve had a Swanson’s TV Dinner. (Very big laugh. An unexpected connection.)

And what I like about Giget, when she comes to the meeting she is always saying “I know there’s a pony in here somewhere.” (Good call back of phrase. Also, it is an implied punch line. Self-deprecation of club, implied that one has to dig to find something of value at the meeting.)

As a cook, I know whenever I go to her house it’s a path to dinner peas. (A spoonerism. I wasn’t sure that this joke would work. The new words come fast, and then they’re gone. But the twist on words got a good laugh.)

And she’s comfortable in this club because as a cook she likes being around hams and turkeys. (Remember self-deprecation jokes can poke fun at you, or a group to which you belong.)

So it’s great having Giget here. It adds a lot to the meeting. We have lots of wonderful people. (Transition.)

Bobby Williams. A good guy and he’s still living. (Understatement and a call-back.)

And we have the late Carolyn Peletier. (As President of the club, it was noticed by everyone that Carolyn was late getting to the meeting.)

And we’re blessed with good genes. (Played with double meaning of name of guest. A good, positive joke honors the guest.)

And if you make a mistake we’ve got a Mulligan. (A joke revisited. A mulligan is a “do over” in golf.)

And Jens, our model of loudness. (Took an earlier suggestion and linked it to a quality posessed by the maker of the suggestion. Jens has a really full and strong voice.)

As a final motivational thought, I’d like to give you this. If you are an average humor presenter you’re funnier than half the speakers here. (Good swapping of words to make a humorous point. Using a truth to get a laugh.)

Observational Humor — Case Study #127

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

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.

THE WRITTEN MONOLOGUE

(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.)

Observational Humor — Case Study #126

Friday, October 10th, 2014

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.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE VIDEO OF THE MONOLOGUE

 

THE WRITTEN MONOLOGUE

[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
laughter.)

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.)

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.

THE MONOLOGUE

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.)

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.

THE MONOLOGUE

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
brouhaha.
(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
monologue.)

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.