Tag Archives: joke

Humor Monologue delivered at Toastmasters meeting – September 20, 2017

Here is another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting. We’ll tell you what was said and what happened during the meeting before the monologue was presented.

THE SET-UP. We will give you enough background to help you understand the jokes.
1. The theme of the meeting was “Going Offline”. The emcee asked us not to use smartphones until the meeting ends.

2. I haven’t paid my membership renewal fee yet.

3. One of the table topics was “Are you addicted to internet?”. Mike was called to speak. He asked the table topics master, “Sorry, what was your question?”

4. Another table topic was “What’s the longest period you didn’t use internet?”

5. Another table topic was “If there is only only thing that you can use internet for, what would that be?”

6. Dinil said he would not use smartphone at all when he goes to India. Because he would spend most of his time with his family.

The Humor Monologue
1. [takes smartphone out of the pocket and checks the messages]
(Audience already started laughing. Good opener. Do something that someone asks you not to do.)

2. Good evening toastmasters with smartphones and toastmasters with Nokia phones.
(Joke on Nokia on how they’re lagging)

3. Mike, sorry, I haven’t paid the membership fee. And I’d like to let you know that I’m going offline for 1 year.
(Break the audience expectation. When I said, “I’d like to let you know”, the audience would assume “I’m going to pay it soon.” But then I said, “I’m going offline for 1 year”. The implied punchline was “I’ll not pay the fee for 1 year”.)

4. Does anyone want to get rid of smartphone addiction? Good news for you. I’m creating an App for it.

5. [does role play] When Mike came to speak on the table topic, he asked, “Sorry, what was your question?”.
“The question is, Are you addicted to internet, Mike?”.
“Yes, of course, when you asked the question, I was checking my Facebook posts.”
(Give it a definition. Why didn’t Mike hear the question the first time? I used his table topic to define this behavior – i.e. he was addicted to FB)

6. The longest period when I didn’t use internet? ONE COMPLETE DAY. That was the day when my neighbors changed their WiFi password.
(Self deprecation. Best line of the monologue.)

7. When I’m with my wife, I only spend time with her and NEVER use smartphone. Only after she goes to sleep, I text my secret girlfriends.
(Deviate from the expected. It’s sort of paraprodoskian too. Initially the audience assume that when I’m with my wife, I don’t need a smartphone because I like spending time with her. But the punchline reveals that I can’t talk with my secret girlfriends when she is with me.)

8. [I just wrote this line, but didn’t use it in the monologue. When in doubt, don’t use it]
If I can keep only one thing on the internet, that would be… “porn movies”. Ah wait, I meant, Bourne movies.. Jason Bourne movies.

Humor Monologue delivered at Toastmasters meeting – November 30, 2016

Here is another Observational Humor monologue presented at the end of a meeting. We’ll tell you what was said and what happened during the meeting before the monologue was presented.

THE SET-UP. We will give you enough background to help you understand the jokes.
1. The theme of the meeting was “Now or never”.

2. One of the guests was Chinese. He said that in Chinese, his name means hero.

3. Erin talked about her passion for mountain climbing. In the Netherlands, there is no mountain. She said she is mountainsick (like being homesick).

4. Shripad was the ah counter. He said that he counted ah’s in everyone’s speech except his own speech.

5. Nikos gave a speech about self-help books. He talked about four books
a) The 7 habits of highly effective people
b) The 6 pillars of self esteem
c) The power of now
d) Eat Move Sleep

6. Tobias talked about near death experience. For one person, when experiencing that, his family members flashed in front of his eye.

7. Floris gave a speech about Kanban cycle, Lean and Agile methodologies.
He said two quotes, “If everything is under control, then you are not moving fast enough.” and “Act small, think big, and fail cheap.

8. Justina advised the evaluators not to just look at the person whose speech they are evaluating, but to look at everyone.

9. The meeting was running over by 15 minutes. It was already 8:55 pm when I went to stage for delivering observational humor.

The Humor Monologue
[I turned my back to the audience and started looking at the wall clock]
1. Good evening Toastmasters, guests, and especially wall clock.
(Do something that someone asks you not to do. I assumed wall clock as a person and started giving a speech to that.)

2. I am Bala. In Indian language, Bala means ‘zero’.
(Self deprecation. Callback to ‘hero’)

3. I am the author of the bestselling motivational book “The Power of Never”.
(Alliteration. Self deprecation. Replacing the word ‘Now’ with the other word of the theme of the meeting ‘Never’ – perfectly fit.)

4. Every time, I start giving a speech, the audience immediately walk out of the room. I just assume that they are homesick.
(Self deprecation. Silly. Unexpected twist.)

5. In the Netherlands, it’s a bad idea to implement Kanban cycle, lean cycle, agile cycle. It will get stolen.
(Truth. In the Netherlands, every day, 100s of bikes get stolen.)

6. Make your problems seem really really small. Erin does that. She climbs a mountain as high as she can, then the problem on earth will look very small.
(Not a joke. But just a silly way to make your problems seem very small.)

7. Shripad. I counted the number of ah’s you said. You said 16 ah’s. Especially to point out someone said ah’s, like “Chris, you said 6 ah’s.. you said 10 ah’s, and you said 20 ah’s”.
(Silly. Absurd. Actually Shripad didn’t say any ah. But he had to say the word ‘ah’ to point out that others said ah’s. I made use of that opportunity to create the absurdity.)

8. Eat Sleep Move. But not at the same time.
(Paints a funny picture)

9. Have you read the self help book written for marijuana addicts? The 7 habits of effectively HIGH people.
(Word play. Switching 2 words and twisting them.)

10. But the problem is that the readers of the book tear the pages and make marijuana joints.
(Irony. Paints a funny picture.)

11. Erin, you will love Niko’s home. He has so many books stacked on top of each other, like a mountain.
(Callback to Erin loving mountains and Nikos reading lots of books and linking them together.)

12. Nikos has so many books arranged in the shelf too. He needs one more book – The 6 pillars of shelf esteem.
(Silly wordplay)

13. I had a near-death experience once. I was exchanging rings.
(Implied punch line that my wedding was my near-death experience)

14. My wife flashed in front of my eye. No, she WAS in front of my eye.
(Topper to the last joke)

15. If everything is under my control, then my wife is not home.
(Following on the last two jokes on wife. Self deprecation that I have control only when my wife is not around.)

16. Act small, think big, leave before 9 [looking at the clock]
(Bookmark ending. Perfect closer.)

Be a star of Toastmasters contestant interviews

Contestant interview is one of the fun parts of a Toastmasters contest. Always try to be a star of contestant interviews. One of the ways to be a star is to add few observational humor lines to your answers. You can learn observational humor here. The other way is to be spontaneous and having presence of mind.

Last week, I participated in Division C of District 59 Humorous Speech Contest. One week before the contest, the contest master asked all the participants to fill in our profiles so that he could prepare questions for the interview. I filled in “Writing jokes” as my hobby. I should have prepared for the interview based on the info I gave in my profile. For example, possible questions on writing jokes as hobby could be

1. Who is your favorite comedian and why?
2. What is the secret to writing great jokes?
3. What is the best joke you’ve ever written?
4. What makes people laugh?

But I hadn’t prepared for the contestant interview. I planned to add few observational humor lines. And this is how my interview went

Contest Master: You’ve written in your profile that writing jokes is your hobby. So, tell us, Bala. What makes people laugh?
I: What makes people laugh?! [repeats his question and acts like thinking] [huge laughter from the audience]

(The reason why there was huge laughter for this line was that the audience were already warmed up after listening to 8 humorous speeches. Anything you say is going to get a laugh. And if your are repeating something someone says, it triggers the superiority theory. i.e. a person whose hobby is writing jokes, who is skilled at writing jokes, has to think a lot about answering the question “What makes people laugh?”)

I: Just repeat what someone says. [huge laughter again]

(I had my presence of mind there. For the first line I said, the audience laughed. And what made them laugh? A: Just repeating contest master’s question. So I stated the obvious. This was spontaneous and made it look like a clever answer. Stating the obvious is another formula for jokes.)

I: Here is one more. Get married. There’s plenty of material.

(This was observational humor. When I gave my humorous speech, I made a joke about my wife. So, I made a callback.)

My interview stopped there. But John Kinde suggested me a topper after the conference was over. That would have made a perfect closure. Here it is.

I: And have some kids.

(Universal humor – jokes about wife, kids, in-laws etc. Since I joked about wife, joking about kids would have made a great topper. I missed out on that chance.)

Always drop in few observational humor lines at contestant interviews. And have presence of mind. And be a star. And be a star. In other words, just repeat what someone says.

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