Join Izzy Gesell for an in-depth discussion in this video Surprise, part of Humor in the Workplace.
- Humor has been widely studied for decades and yet, there is little consensus among that research regarding a definitive theory of humor. There are, in fact, many theories of humor. Some that coexist, and others that stand alone. In this chapter, we'll look at how four of those theories relate directly to humor in the workplace. We'll start with surprise. Something is humorous when it has a shift in perspective, thereby driving an outcome that is unexpected, or goes against the normally accepted way of doing things.
The need for surprise is a must-have when trying to make others laugh, or when evaluating someone else's attempt to make us laugh. Surprise is one of the elements of "slapstick humor", a form of humor involving exaggerated physical activity, which exceeds the boundaries of common sense. "Slapstick" is humorous because it's harmless to the observer, and the target is not really harmed. You laugh when you don't expect something. Surprise is the reason people laugh at jokes.
When jokes are funny, they're funny because the punchline is unexpected. If there's a person in your workplace who has a reputation for being humorous, you might find yourself looking forward to the next time you see them. For example, let's say you work with Pat, and Pat has a reputation for being humorous. You may go into a meeting thinking, "I'm looking forward to Pat's take on this." Why? From your experience, you know that Pat always comes up with a witty remark and a unique perspective.
This explains why humor is such a desired personal trait.
- Understanding why we laugh
- Using humor as a weapon or connection
- Shifting perspectives through humor
- Releasing tension with humor
- Expanding your humor skill set