Here is another Observational Humor monologue which was presented at the end of a Toastmasters meeting. First you’ll be able to read the set-up for each joke. Then I’ll share the joke. Next I’ll briefly comment on what made the joke work. Although the examples of Observational Humor are in the context of a Toastmasters meeting, the skills apply just the same to any meeting you might be attending. It’s a useful skill to develop. When you can drop in an observational line into any presentation it makes the content of your whole talk feel fresh and original.
THE SET-UP (What happened and what was said during the meeting before the monologue was presented)
1. One of the guests (3rd time guest) said that his membership is in progress.
2. Our name tags were handwritten. But today, Inna printed our names out and brought ’em to the meeting. We replaced the handwritten ones with the printed ones.
3. The theme was mentioned as “TBD”. I was the Toastmaster-of-the-evening. I jokingly said TBD means “Theme Boycotting Academy”.
4. The fridge at our club is broken. A new one has to be bought for 150 euros. So there was a debate whether to spend on buying a fridge and whether to continue giving free drinks.
5. Every TM voted for “Free drinks or not.” Floris, one of the TMs, was absent. Winslow said that Floris is strongly towards free drinks and he is always in favor of it. He also said that there is nothing called free drinks since anyway the drinks are paid from the subscription fee.
6. One of the speakers talked about Hitler.
7. One speaker told an inspiring story. A small boy managed to break an unbreakable thing with bare hands. When someone wondered how he did it, another person said, ” There was no one to tell him that he couldn’t do it.”
8. Winslow said that the only exercise he does is jumping from the couch when his favorite team scores points. During his speech, he showed a video of some sports and them scoring points.
9. Two of the prepared speakers were absent.
10. Mike said that his neighbor couple always fight with one another.
11. One speaker said how Dale Carnegie wrote the book “How to win friends”. All his speeches were compiled and evolved into a book.
The Humor Monologue
1. Dear guests, members, and members-in-progress.
(Rule of three. Not-so-good response)
2. Two of the prepared speakers are absent. It’s because of Inna. She didn’t print their name tags.
(Silly reasoning. Silly is funny.)
3. No, I’m just kidding. You can see “TBD” printed as speech title in the agenda. TBD just means “They Boycott Drinks.”
(Silly expansion for TBD)
4. Mike, you’re so rude. I’m moving to a new house. My new house is the broken fridge at our club.
(Drop into someone’s story – meaning that I was Mike’s neighbor. I paused for more than 5 seconds after that line. Laughter slowly came. The line “I’m moving to a new house” aroused curiosity. Then the topper “living in a fridge” is absurd and paints a funny picture.)
5. Floris came at 6 o’ clock, took his free drink, and went back.
(Silly. Also paints a funny picture. Since someone said that Floris is strongly in favor of free drinks, just coming before the meeting, having the free drink, and going back is funny.)
6. Hitler said to his people, “Those who are in favor of free drinks, stand on this side. And those who aren’t, please stand in front of the cannon.”
(Superiority theory. The audience will feel superior to the people who are not in favor of free drinks.)
7. I once gave a speech at this club. That was my first speech. There were 20 people in the audience. I did a very good job. Because at the end of the speech, there was no one to tell me that I couldn’t do it. No one.
(Unexpected twist. Self deprecation. The setup is long, but broken into very short sentences. That built nicely towards the punchline. The punchline is just a recall to the inspiring line from the story. Instead of inspiring, it is used as self deprecating line here. Excellent response.
8. That inspired me to write a book. “How to lose friends.”
(Self deprecation. Best line of the monologue. Audience started laughing even before I said the name of the book. They were laughing for more than 30 seconds. Even I couldn’t control laughter. I laughed myself. Then the name of the book got even more laughter. Out of the 80 monologues I’ve done so far, this line got the best laughter.
After the meeting was over, one of the guests told me that this line was great and had him in tears. He said that normally a comedian shouldn’t laugh when he tells jokes, but in this case, when I laughed, it magnified the laughter from the audience, he said.)
9. I disagree. There is something called “free drinks”. It’s free… for the guests.
(Truth. The guests don’t pay anything, but get free drinks.)
10. When Winslow showed the video, I was like, “Where is cricket in this video?”
(Truth. Indians watch cricket a lot. Average response.)
11. I was strongly in favor of free drinks. Because the only exercise I do is opening and closing the fridge.
(Silly. Call back. Moderate laughter.)
12. But now I’ve changed my decision. I am against it. Because then I’ll have to move home again.
(Call back to my own joke. Nice closer.)