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Sunday
Sep142008

Your source for humor?

 

"When a thing is funny, search it carefully for a hidden truth." - George Bernard Shaw

I have always read newspapers starting with the funny pages. I read (and pass on) the jokes in my e-mail before opening any other message. I watch Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, but not CNN. And my first choice of movie is usually a comedy.

Costa and Mallick include Finding Humor as one of their Habits of Mind. - those attributes shown by people "having a disposition toward behaving intelligently when confronted with problems, the answers to which are not immediately known" - and write:

People who engage in the mystery of humor have the ability to perceive situations from an original and often interesting vantage point.  They tend to initiate humor more often, to place greater value on having a sense of humor, to appreciate and understand others' humor and to be verbally playful when interacting with others.  Having a whimsical frame of mind, they thrive on finding incongruity and perceiving absurdities, ironies and satire; finding discontinuities and being able to laugh at situations and themselves.
Not a bad habit to cultivate. And a person's sense of humor needs cultivation.  To that end, I have some must-read humor websites that I read on a regular basis:

  • Most peope know of Garrison Keillor from his NPR Prairie Home Companion programs (that are available as audio downloads), but I enjoy his Old Scout political columns even more. (You need to be a wee bit left of Ann Coulter to appreciate the writing.) My only complaint about them is that I can't seem to find an RSS feed on the Minnesota Public Radio site.
  • I think we all know The Onion's hard hitting print newstories (National Endowment For The Arts Funds Construction of $1.3 Billion Poem), but their website is also a great source of audio and videocasts as well.
  • And of course Despair.com has my favorite greeting cards but also has a blog, videos and podcasts.

One chapter in Machines Are the Easy Part; People Are the Hard Part, reads

34.    Work a little humor into every communication effort.
What did Ole say when the Kinsey Sex Survey called and asked him if he smoked after sex? “Don’t know. Never looked.”

All right, it’s an old joke, but it made you keep on reading. There is really no excuse whatsoever not to inject at least a little humor in to every communication effort you make. It’s a mistake to confuse dryness with professionalism.

If you want the head paying attention, you have to get the heart involved. Humor is probably the easiest way to evoke an emotional response. (A groan is an emotional response, right?) You can elicit anger, fear or sadness to get attention as well, but for my money smiles do the job better.

Oh. I wouldn’t make my jokes any racier than the one above.
Your favorite source of humor? Blue Skunk readers want to know! Oh, and next time I read something you've written, it better include at least one chuckle!


Illustration by Brady Johnson.


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Reader Comments (11)

Great post! I read last summer that laughing is a great stress reducer. To help with the ever fun joys of the principalship I've been starting each day on the exercise machine while watching reruns of Seinfeld and the Office. Starting each day laughing my ass off has been a tremendous boost.

Kudos on the newly appreciated value of a good laugh. Just to contribute here's a funny story I like to share.

One of my high school football coaches was a refugee from the Sudan. Somehow he ended up connected with the religious order that ran my high school. He was our janitor and lived at the school. The coaches took a liking to him and to get him some extra dollars had him hired on as the defensive line coach. He learned the game but never quite grasped the terminology. The spaces between the offensive linemen are commonly referred to as gaps and given the designation a-gap, b-gap, or c-gap. George consistently referred to these as holes rather than gaps. At our first game he kept screaming from the side line that we needed to clog the a-hole and let nothing through. We laughed so hard we jumped offsides but to this day this recalling the incident makes me chuckle.

All the best!

September 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie A. Roy

Doug,

My source for humor? Why, your blog, of course!

(And Gary Stager, on occasion, with his one liners in twitter).

September 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKarenJan

I read http://detentionslip.org. Sometimes they have funny comments, but often times the stories are funny enough.

September 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJason Roland

Doug,
I look to several places for humor in my life:

your blog (too bad it's blocked at my school) Don't worry though. I share your funniest entries with my colleagues using my new handy dandy iPhone.

The Daily Show

Opus Cartoons by Berkeley Breathed (in my local sunday paper)

and lately my family and I have been watching reruns of Hogan's Heroes on TVLand. My teenagers love it!

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKelly S.

@ Great story, Charlie. Real life is a pretty good place to look for humor - if you take the trouble to do so.

All the best,

Doug

@ Thanks, Karen, for your kind words. Sometimes the humor is even intentional.

Doug

@ Jason,

Love Detention Slip - it's a new site for me. Added to the reader. Thanks!

Doug

@ Kelly,

Funny you mention Opus. Been reading Berkeley Breathed since he was a student at the U of Iowa!

Thanks for the comment,

Doug

September 18, 2008 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

Interesting -- I was just about to post this on my own blog!
Comic strips in my dailly RSS feed:
Brevity: http://www.comics.com/comics/brevity/index.html
Day by Day: http://www.daybydaycartoon.com
Frazz: http://www.comics.com/comics/frazz/
Get Fuzzy: http://www.comics.com/comics/getfuzzy/index.html
Indexed: http://indexed.blogspot.com/
9 Chickweed Lane: http://www.comics.com/comics/chickweed/index.html
Non Sequitur: http://www.gocomics.com/nonsequitur/
Savage Chickens: http://www.savagechickens.com/
Shelf Check: http://shelfcheck.blogspot.com/
Unshelved: http://www.unshelved.com/

September 20, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteralice yucht

Thanks, Alice.

I love Savage Chickens! (But I still don't get Chickweed.)

Doug

September 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

Savage Chickens, definitely, plus the Daily Show and the Colbert Report. Also (and I'm surprised no one's posted this one yet) xckd, which is the funniest nerd comic around - don't believe me? Check out this one:

http://xkcd.com/461/

September 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSam

Thanks, Sam xkcd was a new one for me!

Doug

September 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

For humor, besides Blue Skunk blog, I usually just look at my own life... Well, beyond that, I love BBC comedies like Father Ted, Keeping Up Appearances, One Foot in the Grave, and As Time Goes By. They give me loads of laughs and often some great lines to repeat.

October 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMary

Hi Mary,

I find myself my own best sense of humor. If you can't laugh, you'll wind up crying!

I need to figure out when these BBC comedies come on. I enjoyed the British version of The Office, watching the season on DVD. In my dotage, I can't seem to remember when TV shows come on!

All the best,

Doug

October 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

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