What is funny about Observational Humor? (Updated for 2021)

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Written by Tim Grable

February 24, 2017

What is funny about Observational Humor? Being able to make people laugh intentionally with a good joke or the telling of a funny story is a gift. Most comedians have that gift. However, comedians are not necessarily funny people. The good ones, the comics who entertain professionally, know how to turn everyday events into humor by observing what we do and say and making light of it.

This form of comedy is known as observational humor. The jokes usually start out with, “Did you ever wonder why?” or “Have you ever noticed?” Most people find this type of comedy funny because they can identify with it and the absurdities of everyday life.

There are many comedians working today who have built successful careering observing the mundane things in life and making them funny. Because their humor is enjoyed across the board by many people, these comics are always in demand by corporate event planners and large-party coordinators.

Most of the top comics are booked months ahead through booking agencies like The Grable Group out of Nashville, Tennessee.

What comedians have great Observational Humor?

Jerry Seinfeld has been regaling audiences with his brand of observational comedy since 1976. He became a superstar by asking his audiences teasing questions like, “Do you ever wonder why airlines pack peanuts in those tiny little packages.” His mega-hit television show, “Seinfeld,” ran for nine seasons between 1989 and 1998 and remains in syndication. Who else but Seinfeld and his writers out pitch a TV show about “nothing” the way he did in one episode.

Though Seinfeld retired from the television world a multi-millionaire, he still does his stand-up comedy routines in comedy clubs, makes a guest appearance on late-night television shows, and performs at special conventions and special events.

Ellen began her stand-up career started in the early 1980s poking fun at dating habits, marriage, and whimsical observations about men and women in general. When Jonny Carson invited her to sit on the couch next to his desk after her first appearance on his TV show in 1986, her career rocketed overnight.

Today, she is considered one of the most successful observational comedians of all time. She has starred in movies, penned best-selling books, performed live around the world, and was cast in a comedy television show called “Ellen.” Since 20003, her daytime television interview show has ruled the airwaves. Some say she even forced Oprah into an early retirement from her show.

Comedian Jeff Allen uses clean, hilarious, observational humor with such success that he is in constant demand to perform at corporate functions, fund-raising events, and non-profit gatherings. Between those large-crowd appearances, Jeff regularly appears on television and radio and at corporate events across the country.

Jeff Allen especially uses observational comedy to take his audiences back to the 1950s and 1960s and his take on everyday life, marriage and raising kids.

Jakie Mason started his comedy career in the summer of 1955 at the Fieldstone Hotel and was a pioneer in his observations of stereotypical everyday Jewish behavior and habits. Even though he was a devoted Jew himself, it took the arrival of comedian Don Rickles and his sarcastic brand of humor on the scene a few years later before Mason’s humor was universally accepted.

His long career was often mired in controversy because of on-stage behavior and his strong stands on various social causes. Mason was known as a comedian’s comedian because of his sharp wit and caustic delivery.

Always popular in Las Vegas and the “borscht belt” back east, Mason is ranked at number 63 on Comedy Central’s list of 100 greatest stand-up comedians of all time. At age 85, Jackie still keeps comedy skills excellent by making frequent and biting comments about the state of politics in America today.

Daren Streblow is a stand-up comic and radio show host who is noted for his observational humor based on growing up in Minnesota. His squeaky-clean Christian humor makes him an attractive draw in large churches and youth conventions. He doesn’t preach to his audiences, but his jokes and funny stories are bound in Clean Comedy.

Unlike many comedians, Streblow claims he was never a class clown in school. The jokes he did tell were of offbeat humor that made his teachers laugh rather than his fellow students.

Robert G. Lee is known in the entertainment industry as the king of Hollywood’s television warm-up comics. His job is to keep audiences entertained while they wait between scenery and costume and set changes. His talent for ad-libbing, humorous interviews with the audience, and entertaining them with funny stories is unmatched in the industry.

With over 1,000 episodes of shows like The New Adventures of Old Christine and The Drew Carey Show under his belt, Lee still finds time to hit the traveling Christian comedy circuit.

Scott Wood is known in the comedy industry as “Mr. Punchline” because of his talent for a rapid-fire delivery of one-liners. Unlike another comedian with this talent, the famed Rodney Dangerfield, Scott derives his humor from clean observations of everyday life.

He has been on the comedy circuit for twenty years making appearances at colleges, clubs, churches, and functions for corporations like McDonald’s, Home Depot, and Toyota.

Henry Cho is of Korean American descent. He was born and raised in Knoxville. Tennessee. His distinctive southern accent mixed with his Asian looks and source of humor has made him a favorite on the comedy circuit since the 1990s.

He often uses his childhood experiences of growing up in the South as the core of his observational style of humor and is a favorite on the corporate convention circuit.

Rex Havens claims that he has learned only two truths about men and women:

“I am a man…and I am sorry.”

Here are other lessons he will reveal in his show Everything I Needed to Know, I Learned from My Wife:

  • The Wedding. “Sorry, pal, not your day.”
  • Women and children first. “Still not your day!”
  • She is your “better half.” “Guess what that makes you.”
  • “Would it kill you to..?”. “No? Then do it and shut up.”
  • Marriage is a democracy. “One woman, one vote!”

Comedy Today

To anyone who’s seen any cable comedy concerts or live comedy club acts lately, it is evident most of the routines are x-rated and worse. It’s also obvious that most of these “potty-mouth” comedians have short-lived careers because they harp on the same old tired routines about sex and sin.

True comedians, like Seinfeld and Mason and DeGeneres, never run out of material because they base their humor on the quirks of everyday life that we can all identify with. Comics who use this type of humor as the basis of their acts will always be in demand.

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