Since most of you will spend the majority of your life at your job until you die, it’s probably a good idea to figure out how to get a few laughs. And that’s why we have Office Humor. It’s an off-shoot of the comedy family, easy enough for anyone to grasp and simple enough for anyone to create.
Alas, with workplace comedies like “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Office,” or “Hey, That’s My Stapler!” people have gotten the impression that office humor takes a lot of work, a staff of writers and a studio audience. Nothing could be further from the truth. The impossibly high bar set by TV sit-coms simply doesn’t apply to real-life office humor.
As in the most classic farces, mistaken and assumed identity is a mainstay of office humor. Say one employee, “Bill,” sits at a desk normally occupied by a different employee, “Betty,” it is then possible, if not required, to say to “Bill” “Hey, ‘Betty,’ you sure have changed!”
If a person has the same or similar first name to that of a famous person (i.e. “Tony as in Danza,” “Albert as in Hitchcock”), you should then refer to that person as the famous person endlessly: “Hey, Tony Danza, who’s the boss, hey!” No, topically or lack thereof doesn’t matter. We still have people here making “That’sa spicy meatball” references.
Along those lines, if someone’s name is the same as a famous song or TV tune, say “Gloria,” “Danny Boy,” or “Slim Shady,” well, that’s just a song cue waiting to happen again and again and again. And the best part is you know that person probably heard it before, so they know it’s coming and will enjoy it all the more.
Now, the converse of this would be if you have the same name as a celebrity (Spielberg, Beyonce) so when someone asks you if you’re related to them or refers to you as that celebrity (Steven Spielberg, Beyonce), you can reply “I wish I had his/her money!” You can actually say "his/her." Doesn't matter.
Work etiquette requires that whenever someone enters the office, someone has to state loudly, “Look busy, ____’s here!” or “Stop talking, _____’s here!”
If in the course of the day’s work you do get off a unique, original and funny line, repeat it for others until it no longer is.
Most workers enjoy having a “catchphrase” they can use during the work day. Most employ one of the following:
“That’s what she said.”
“‘I see,’ said the blind man.”
“I got news for you---!”
“Know what I mean, jelly bean.”
“That’s what she said.” (People really go for that one)
If a certain song comes on the office radio that reminds everyone of a co-worker, shout out “That’s _____’s theme song!” each and every time the radio plays it. And thanks to today’s radio playlists, that will be quite often.
Should a phone call come in for a co-worker, when someone shouts out the name and extension, simply use one of these retorts based on the extension number:
“______, you’re 40!” “Not on his best day.” (if he’s over 40)
“______, you’re 60!” “He looks it!” (if he’s under 60)
Old jokes are always welcome to the mix. Sometimes you don’t even need the whole joke, you can just shout out the punch line from time to time. And remember, the older the joke, the louder you need to repeat it.
So, there you are, some of the basics to get you started in the field of office humor. And remember, with all the high turnover at many jokes, this stuff never gets old because you keep getting a new audience!
NEXT TIME: Unemployment Line Humor
-Snot tastes better in small bits
-If it's worth sharing, it's worth fighting over.
Invisible lead for spy pencils
Egg Shell Repair Kit
Remote control toilet
Short Johns for cool summer nights
Perpetuation motion picture camera
Well, I got the latest email making the rounds, a look at the versatility of the cucumber. It starts off sensibly enough, informing us that cucumbers contain Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc. It also told me that cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours.
Then it starts to get into the non-edible uses of this veggie. Okay, I know people put cucumber slices on their eyes to help with facial stuff but apparently, if you rub a slice of cucumber on your bathroom mirror, it will keep your bathroom from fogging up. Which begs the questions; who was the first person to do this and why did they have a cucumber in the bathroom?
“Hey, honey! The mirror’s all fogged! Wanna hand up the cucumber?”
I mean, they also say you can use it to polish shoes, but I get that. Obviously, someone was eating a salad and dropped a cucumber on their shoe and noticed the shoe was shinier. But the bathroom mirror? Unless the train of thought went something like:
“Look where I dropped that cucumber on my shoe, it’s so shiny now. It looks great! I wonder what’ll happen if I rub some on my mirror or door hinges?
The email goes on to say that if you don’t have gum or a mint you can take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath. Now, here’s the thing, if I don’t have gum or a mint, what are the odds that I’m going to have a cucumber handy? Cucumbers are also a great way to clean stainless steel and repel garden pests. So that makes it sound pretty toxic, right? Not so fast, Atlas, the email also proudly announces that if you’re looking to fight off an evening snacking binge cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation. And you know why? Because cucumbers are food! So that’s a pretty self-evident use of the cucumber. Unless you’ve been using it to stop your hinges from squeeking.
And it saves the best for last. If you make a mistake writing a letter in ink, you can use an unpeeled cucumber to erase it. Plus it gives that letter a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown the reduce stress.
So, the next time you see me and want to know if I have a cucumber in my pocket or I’m just glad to see you, rest assured I have a cucumber in my pocket.
You know you’re growing up when…
…you don't have to save shoe boxes for your dioramas.
…you don't look at old baby carriages and think you need them as wheels for a go kart.
…picking up a penny doesn’t seem such a big deal anymore.
…when cooties becomes the least of your girl problems.
…you DVR “Saturday Night Live” for Sunday Afternoon viewing.
…you lose track of school holidays.
…New Year’s Eve comes around 9:00 PM, either because you passed out or went to bed.
…when snow goes from being a decoration to an obstacle.
…when your date movies have more exposition than explosions.
…when the events in your kids’ history books are memories of your childhood.
It’s my honor to participate in “The Next Big Thing” Interview Series, being run over at www.litbridge.com
. I was tagged, as it were, by novelist Doug Molitor and his comic novel Memoirs of a Time Traveler
Now, then, my book is called Lost Claus
, available as a ebook over at Amazon.com.
So, let's begin, shall we?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
First, a real love of all the Christmas specials I grew up on. I’m such a fan of comedy and mash-ups, always trying to fit one character into an alien premise. Also I’m a big fan of movies like “Maltese Falcon” and “The Big Sleep” so where’s the most outlandish place for an old-school, film noir detective? The North Pole, right?
What genre does your book fall under?
It was always written as a comedy, first and foremost. It's kind of a genre-blender, but I guess you would say it’s a fantasy/mystery/holiday story. A Christmas-tery for short.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
For some reason I had Steve Buscemi in mind for the lead, then he goes and plays that weird PI on “30 Rock.” Danny DeVito as an elder elf. Not to put to fine a point on it, Peter Dinklage would be a great Tweedle. Although I could never make up my mind if the elves would be actors or CGI. Elizabeth Banks, who has some amazing comedy chops as Sandra. In a dream world it would be Humphrey Bogart and Doris Day.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
When Santa goes MIA, a P.O.-ed P.I. has to find him PDQ.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Oh, man. Hard to remember. I tend to write and re-write while commuting. The Staten Island Ferry is like the best place to think and write. So, I guess, five or six months to get it into book form.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My wife. Back when we were dating, I realized that she’s in love with all things Christmas; especially the movies and holiday specials. I wanted to write something that would be, could be one of the holiday standards. But funny.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Well, it started out as a screenplay. And it got optioned by Warner Bros. And in a bizarre bit of Hollywood logic, they decided it would be a perfect vehicle for one of their stars that owed them a picture. So I was hired to re-write it as a movie for Pee-Wee Herman. Alas, once Pee-Wee Herman got into his, er, legal entanglements, the project died on the vine and I had to rescue it.
Pilot season is upon us, so look for these TV show coming soon to a TV near you. Or not.
“Downton Abby” joins a gym: “Downton Abs.”
“The Chew” with a panel of doctors discussing disease: “Ah Choo.”
Musical about the Korean War: “S*M*A*S*H.”
Aliens take over a TV Network: “30 Rock From the Sun.”
Judges attempt to pick the person with the worst habit: "The Vice."
“Downton Abby” in Silicone Valley: “Downton Apps.”
Show about making of the Hulk Broadway musical: “Hulk Smash.”
Dad explains to his kids how they all died: “How I Met Your Maker.”
Sherlock Holmes becomes a throat doctor: “Alimentary.”
“Downton Abby” buy a sandwich shop: “Downton Deli”
With the rise of recent movies like “Snow White and the Huntsman,” Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters” and “Jack the Giant Slayer,” it seems fairy tales are taking a decidedly militaristic turn. So, what else does Hollywood have in the pipeline:
"Three Little Pigs: Pork Warriors"
"Bo Peep: PETA Avenger"
"Jack Horner: Pie Assault" (catchphrase: “Nobody puts Jack Horner in a Corner!”
“Jack & Jill: A Hill too Far.”
“The Goose with the Golden Egg”
“Little Miss Muffet: Spider Slayer” (tag line: “Something Wicked This Whey Comes.”)
"Goldilocks vs. The Three Bears"
“Dish & Spoon: A-plate-ocalypse Now.”
“Humpy-Dumpty: Shell Shock”