AskDefine | Define observational

Dictionary Definition

observational adj : relying on observation or experiment; "experimental results that supported the hypothesis" [syn: experimental, data-based]

User Contributed Dictionary



From observation + -al.


  • (UK) /ɒbzəˈveɪʃənəl/
  • (US) /ɑbzərˈveɪʃənəl/


  1. Based on or pertaining to scientific observation.
  2. Pertaining to observation in general.

Extensive Definition

Observational comedy is a style of humor based on making remarks about various facets of everyday life. The style was popularized in the United States by comedians like Bill Cosby, George Carlin, Jay Leno and David Letterman in the 1970s, continued by Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Romano, and Ellen DeGeneres in the 1990s, and is currently practiced by comedians such as Dave Chappelle, George Lopez, Russel Peters, Rex Navarrete, Dane Cook, Demetri Martin, Patton Oswalt, Brian Regan, Chris Rock, Nick Swardson, Jim Gaffigan, Carl Barron, and Craig Ferguson.
It is also very popular in Britain, where comics such as Billy Connolly, Eddie Izzard, Peter Kay and Lee Evans use it in their stand up.
The humor, based on the premise of "It's funny because it's true," consists of observations made about sometimes very minor and superficial aspects of Western culture: from airline peanuts to the Jared Diet to the lines at Walgreens. Jokes often begin with the phrase, "Did you ever notice?..."

Common topics

  • The differences between men and women
  • The differences between different generations
  • The differences between races
  • The differences between religions
  • Airports
  • Humans' relationships with animals
  • Parties
  • Work/jobs
  • Cliched aspects of childhood/adolescence
  • Those warning labels on mattresses
  • What the deal is with peanut packages
  • Predominent political topics (president, wars, etc...)
  • Fat kids
  • Asian grandparents
  • Unneccesary convenience products

External links

observational in Swedish: Observationshumor
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