Service of Humor

March 3rd, 2009

Categories: Humor

Stressed or antsy? Nothing beats a deep-dish guffaw. A great big laugh is a blessing. I’ve seen an apt quip or clever play on words–when the humor isn’t mean–turn the tide of a meeting that’s swimming towards nasty.

An exhibit, “On the Money, Cartoons for the New Yorker,” proves that great cartoons, like literature, theatre and movies, are evergreen. Featuring cartoons from 1927-1997, it’s at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York, [through May 24, 2009].

Visitors laugh about money-imagine!-and at the same clever images and captions that made others smile during the Depression and in good times. Strangers chat comfortably with one another. It’s a beautiful thing.

Where have you seen humor at work?

In his wonderful thank you note, Keller Gordon drew a cartoon of a boy who is thinking, "Please Be a Hat!"

In his wonderful thank you note, Keller Gordon drew a cartoon of a boy who is thinking, “Please Be a Hat!”

7 Responses to “Service of Humor”

  1. Martha Takayama Said:

    The posting is simply delightful. I am in total agreement about the positive service of good, irreverent, but not unkind humour! There can never be too much!

  2. Diane Baranello Said:

    There’s something refreshing about a good laugh … like there’s something cleansing about a good cry. Children laugh spontaneously and grownups often laugh cautiously. In these challenging times, we should all make an effort to release our inner child … laugh more, play harder.

  3. Lucrezia Said:

    The manager of the music department of a long gone establishment, was known for his amiability, patience, vast knowledge of music, not to speak of precise location of all his recordings. One day, the inevitable happened: The quintessential dirt bag (DB) arrives. We know him/her well – the one who demands the impossible, and throws a public tantrum after such requests are not met. After a painful half hour, the manager conceded he was unable to help and suggested DB shop elsewhere. “Go to hell” shrieked the infuriated DB, for the entire store to hear. A beatific smile lit the managers face, as he replied in as congenial a manner as he could muster, “see you there!” and walked away.

    Such persons are a rare breed, and in the present atmosphere of increased stress, even harder to come by. But they still exist, and may end up being the best reason a business stays afloat during harsh times. After all, who wants to park ones increasingly scarce shekels with a grump?

  4. Seneca Said:

    I agree completely that a little well placed humor can work wonders in the workplace, particularly under stressful circumstances, but be careful! What is funny to me may not be funny to you, and visa versa.

    A few tips I learned many years ago:

    Don’t tell jokes if you don’t tell them well.

    Never use humor in a foreign language unless you speak it fluently.

    What is funny in some cultures is hurtful in others, or even in the same culture depending on the workers, workplace and geography.

    Finally, avoid the kind of humor, so prevalent in our time, which is tinged with cruelty, and of course, never use sarcasm. It may get you a laugh, but somebody is likely to feel hurt.

  5. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Such good advice, Seneca. Years ago I was gifted tickets to a then very popular Broadway comedy that made me cringe. The actors made fun of things about volunteers from the audience that the volunteers couldn’t help–a teenager’s awkward loping stride, a man’s baldness or fat stomach. They matched a seriously short, ugly man with a tall stunning woman in an impromptu lover’s scene. I don’t think I smiled once throughout what I found to be an excruciating couple of hours.

    On another topic, I find that it’s harder for me to smile when I feel anxious, which is why when something makes me smirk or I hear myself laugh, the surprise and relief is so very welcome.

  6. Lucrezia Said:

    While I agree wholeheartedly with above advice and statements, the lord of insults comes to mind, Howard Stern. I listened to him a couple of mornings on the advice of friends (loyal fans) and nearly lost my breakfast each time. Somehow, he not only gets away with it, his popularity has increased to the point that people will pay to listen on satellite. How so? Any ideas out there?

  7. Tania A. Said:

    Humor, spark, irrevence, satire, the ability to laugh at oneself as well as other people or situations are terribly important particularly in a culture which prefers diversion and compromise to conflict. We Brazilians instinctively use laughter to smooth any and all difficult situations, including the dizzying economy. It is worth trying.

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