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How to be Funny at Work

Ron_Livingston_With_Gary_Cole_in_Office_Space

It was at our last regular board meeting, when I pounced on an opportunity to score a big laugh.

After delivering my one-two, my co-workers were spitting out water and doubling over in laughter. For me, it felt good.

Laughing together is a great way to bond in the office and studies show that laughing daily lowers stress levels. I try to keep everyone guessing each time I speak because I do want to be taken seriously, but I don’t take myself too seriously.

Comedy isn’t a competition though it is about speed. Many times two people will have the same thought at the same time but she or he, who speaks first gets revered. So rather than looking to get every laugh possible I leave lots on the table. I would say aim to be funny 33% of the time, that way if you fall flat about 50/50 it would only be about 16% of the time you are looked at, as wasting peoples time with non relevant chatter. No one hates it more than someone who thinks they are funny but are not!

A quick sidebar here, funny and opinionated aren’t the same thing. Odds are if you think of something, someone else is thinking of the same thing as well. What gives you the funny edge is to think about things from angles of people who aren’t in the room.

No you don’t have to be psychotic to do this, however I would say that being empathic helps. If you are angling to throw people under the bus with every joke odds are you won’t be well liked. So definitely choose to air on the side of empathetic and self deprecating ideas as people will see you as charming and silly rather than a bully. Often a good way to go is give voices to objects, animals and omnipresent beings. That way if those things, that aren’t even real say idiotic things, it’s not your own opinion you are expressing. Then you can claim you were possessed but the goof-ball spirit.

  • Change the perspective of a situation when making a comment — angles are funny.
  • Be empathic. You need to feel the room, judge how warm and receptive the situation will be to your comment. Preferably BEFORE you blurt it out.
  • Don’t be a dick. Did we really need to tell you that?
  • Pretend to speak from the perspective of another (deniability)

On the competition note there is a good chance that people will be trying to compete with you in an attempt to top your previous laugh. Always remain friendly and never go out of your way to point out when their joke attempts fail.

This will do two things for you. First it will help you truly gauge your audience and see what kind of a mood they are in. Secondly if Johnny funny pants is trying to hard and bombing it makes your one gem much appreciated and makes you look better! In comedy getting a joke to work is all about timing, pick your battles wisely and try to come out with as few scars as possible. Is this a philosophy and analogy for life? Perhaps. The famous suggestion to Hold on tightly, let go loosely comes to mind from Buddhist philosophy.

Or to use a basketball analogy, just remember stick a position and move and probably move a lot more than you stick! You probably will never make Mayweather money, or be the next Louis C.K., but at least you can:

a. Read and b. have people like you.

Well, thats all for now from Chukl.es HQ. Be easy people!

About Jamarr Johnson

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