Q- How was the training you did in Hawaii Jeff? A – It was like every other training I’ve ever done…about 72 degrees under florescent lighting…
Wow, is that unfunny. Ok, it’s mildly amusing. But, it’s also the craziest joke I get to tell on any kind of regular basis. Why? Because I work in an office for a multi-billion dollar conglomerate. You see, funny to me isn’t funny to my employer – one of the 100 most ethical companies in the world. Actually, what’s funny to most of my colleagues is a violation of dozens of HR rules, codes of conduct, and probably Miss Manners as well.
Many of you know that I perform stand-up comedy. I don’t do it as often as I used to, but I got the chance to perform a few weeks ago at an open mic night and I killed! Why? Because I wasn’t anywhere near my office and I was 99% sure nobody from my office would hear me. I got to tell jokes about all kinds of HR violations and the place erupted. I believe as a people we need that outlet. We need to laugh at sex, communication, bodies, race, stereotypes, stupidity, bosses, gender, drugs, and hundreds of other non-political correct things. Yes – I truly believe this is a need people have…
So, I’m a man without a country; a comic without a mic; an employee with a self-imposed gag order. And it’s tough – believe me! I see ridiculously funny things every day. The reason The Office is so funny is because we all know people like that. Well guess what? My office has characters even funnier than the tv show! We have it all – sluts, know-it-alls, dufi (plural of dufus?), hard workers, non workers, bad parents, gas passers, and about 250 more! And who can I tell these crazy stories too? My wife.
My wife thinks I’m funny…at least to a degree. But the humor is sometimes lost on her as my punchline has to wait for my daughter to finish screaming, “OLIVES” seventeen times from her high chair. The big delivery just isn’t as funny with a fidgeting baby in your hands who is trying to smear you with minestrone.
True, there are the few – the pantheon – who are willing to snicker quietly as you express your deepest, inner-most thoughts. They may even see your tit for their own tat. But there’s always that fear that they’ll rat you out. Or, the notion that someone will still hear you through the same paper-thin walls that have allowed me to hear marital infidelity, spousal arguments, and 1 nervous breakdown.
It’s not like my speaking allows me to vent – I have no catharsis when I present for education groups. I have to tell you – that is one of the toughest crowds in the world! I’ve spoken with some other amazing comics and they agree – teachers are hard to make laugh. Besides, most educators don’t hire me to be funny – they want to be inspired, motivated, and forced to gain perspective. That’s cool – I can do that too. But I sure do miss going on a rant about how ridiculous it is when people “Reply All” in an email just to say, “Thanks!” I wish I could break out my, “Stuck in a women’s bathroom” routine for people. I would love it if I could talk about how ludicrous it is to say there are no stupid questions without making the audience uncomfortable…(Professor, I just saw the price of the book. Will I need to actually buy that this term? - Professor, I’m going on vacation next week to hike with my buddies in Alaska. Am I going to miss anything? COME ON! That’s comedy gold!)
But that is not the world I live in. I can’t bring up the fact that our spam filter doesn’t prevent all of the enlargement emails from coming my way. Nor can I tell anyone that most of them are from my wife…OUCH! I can’t afford the uncomfortable silence when I share my favorite student quote: “I like many other men, like to surf the net and watch sports. I’m looking forward to this class…” (See why we need to teach proper use of commas?) I can’t pass along seriously bizarre YouTube videos like these: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnOyMSEWNTs – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7b5CKSqlz60&feature=related – What the…? How can these not make you laugh at the sheer absurdity?
So I will continue on suffering in silence. I will watch humorous situation after goof-ball premise surround me and not say a word. But the day I quit…watch out. I might get escorted from the building but I’ll be laughing all the way…
Need to hire a funny guy? Looking for an entertainer with humor AND substance? Contact Jeff at email@example.com for more info!