“Everybody loves a clown” wrote Gary Lewis of Gary Lewis and the Playboys in his 1965 hit dedicated to his father, the late comedy legend, Jerry Lewis. While Jerry Lewis was revered for his slapstick, those sight gags and spit takes certainly wouldn’t cut it in the workplace. On the other hand, being funny at work, if done correctly, can pay off both for individual workers and for companies too. No less an authority than the usually conservative Wall Street Journal concludes as much in this study on workplace humor. In this piece in Forbes, Jacquelyn Smith considers how being funny can be a key to achieving job success.
Dying, as they say, is easy, but comedy is hard. A bad joke could be more than unfunny, it could violate internal policies (hate speech, sexual harassment, etc.) which might mean problems the teller and the employer. But putting aside the obvious no-nos, jokes are a powerful means of communication so you want to get them right. While some people are born naturally funny, most of us are not, and even those who are need to know the limits of what’s acceptable. This article offers a good primer on the dos and don’ts of being funny at work and click here for more practical advice on office comedic arts. Need some material? The site cleanjoke.com might be just what you’re looking for. Reportedly, there’s even a site about spreadsheet humor, but it’s hard to find anything funny in that.
For a peak into the darker side of comedy and some of the demons that has plagued talents like Jerry Lewis, The Atlantic has this 2014 piece on the psychology of being a comedian.