Employing WorkPlace Humor – Are You Brave Enough To Have Fun At Work?

graphic of court jester, king and queen with knock knock above
It’s Not What You Say But How You Say It

Laughter is so powerful it can make people pee their pants and cry like a baby.

In fact, a few minutes of har-de-har hilarity will have most folks rolling on the ground, pleading for it to stop, stop. Please make it stop!

Now, there is an impressive force for you…

If this state of mind can wrench bladder and emotion control from their owners it behooves us to investigate further to determine how that capacity might be employed in other circumstances. Capice?

Dr. Jekyll and Mister Snyde

Such scientific analysis into the effects of humor on the human condition is already underway and the results have proven to examiners that yucking it up causes all manner of endorphins to be scattered in a palatine peptide parade through our blood stream.

These pesky peptides start immediately roughhousing with the dormant dominoes controlling our moods which soon have us changing our tunes and before long seeing almost everything differently.

Nope, the average attitude does not stand a chance against those perky peptides whom over time will also start fooling with the locks on the floodgates of our health, wealth and with any luck, wisdom.

Pretty significant effects for some invisible stuff and an emotion that very few folks acknowledge, let alone attempt to consciously control.

Treat Me Like A Royal, Fool!

Kings and queens have felt fondness for frivolity since the beginning of time and few successful monarchies attempted to operate without the benefit of a talented and unfunny-only-once court jester.

Whenever there was a chance that news would sting the boss’s ears, conveying the dreaded downbeat dispatch in a hopefully uplifting manner usually fell upon the shivering shoulders of the Royal Fool who would portray the grim new reality through what ought to be one of his funniest riddles or jokes to date.

Royal Fool: “Pray tell, your HighNess: What has 2911 eyes, 1753 limbs, 93,718 cannon balls and rests at the bottom of the sea?”

Mystified Monarch: “You have me stumped, my good elf. Whatever could it be?”

Jittering Jester: “Why, great and noble sire – ’tis your navy…”

Crusty Kaiser: “Oh, ho, ho, ho, sir Imp, you are too, too funny! Off with his head! (okay, humor doesn’t work every time…)

Those court jesters that managed to retain their craniums often achieved great notoriety for their ability to create good spirits on demand. They were revered as first class purveyors of social attitude who rightfully accepted their place alongside religious and civic leaders who also enjoyed the benefits of theater and ceremony.

Laughter – It’s The Real Thing

Over the past decade health professionals have begun methodically employing the beneficial effects of humor and several long term scientific studies undertaken by universities and private institutions now attest to its positive and measurable influence.

In the business world, one of the early adopters of cultural use of humor was the wizard coach of Southwest Airlines – Herb Kelleher.

Humor is definitely in Herb’s blood and he employed his tomfoolery talent to cure corporate ills representing litigious circumstances that would have made any lawyer’s pockets itchy. If the occasion demanded that he dress like a superhero to face an arm-wrestling opponent rather than head to the court house donning a business suit, Herb did it.

His willingness and ability to regularly utilize humor to overcome significant business challenges created a profitable operational culture for Southwest Airlines which continues to permeate and motivate the entire corporation years after Herb’s departure.

Tee Hee Hee All The Way To The Bank

graphic of snake, frog and words stop tickling me mr. happy snake
Are You Trying To Soften Me Up For Something?

Humor is difficult to employ because it initially requires an inordinate amount of direction and even then it occasionally runs roughshod over the bounds of personal preference and good taste. I imagine this is why so few folks contemplate employing humor and exactly why we should use it.

This is one of the simplest methods any company can utilize to differentiate themselves from the crowd and it is really not that difficult to do.

A good place to start is by picking up a copy of the book Nuts where Herb Kelleher reveals exactly how he used humor in the workplace. And you might want to read it in the bathroom because some of the stuff he pulled is so dang hilarious that you just should not chance it.

Thank you, friend.

Barry out

PS. Court Jesters really had an important role in society at one time and politicians just cannot seem to fill that role anymore. Learn why here.


Other Links associated with this story:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gelotology – the study of the effects of laughter




Barry Williams http://barry-williams.com/blog

Much of what I write will be quite understandable to insane folks.

The rest will be, uh, less understandable...

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  1. 1
    John McNally

    Excellent post Barry, I can’t understand why humour isn’t used in business more often, people in a good mood are more productive. There are some attempts over here in the UK. Big companies have “dress down Friday”, when you can ditch the formal collar and tie and wear your favourite T-Shirt.

    I ran my own small family business and now realise I had a professional Court Jester – my brother. I kept slightly aloof as the Monarch, but my brother is always a great laugh so he was often the conduit for business news to be passed on to the staff. EVERYBODY at my small business enjoyed going to work, because they all had a good laugh as well. No absentee problems, people PREFERED coming to work for a good time…….The busines was EXCEPTIONALLY profitable as well. 🙂


  2. 2

    Thanks John.

    I’m glad to hear that you utilized humor in your business with a great degree of success. I have done the same in my businesses except for those that had partners.

    I guess I need to get better at picking funny businessmen which is difficult because there just ain’t that many of them around…

    Oh, and if you are not employing all that EXCEPTIONAL profit you made in a funny way, how ’bout investing it in a lovely Saskatchewan enterprise? 😉

    Thanks buddy, talk to you soon.


  3. 4
    Barry Wells

    Hi Barry, like your style mister….

    The thing is i work home alone and if the wife hears to much laughter she’ll call the men in white coats, and they haven’t forgiven me from the last faulse alarm ha ha, should i put the ha ha? it’s obviously a joke, and i don’t do that often do i ……

    I liked your comment about politicians but feel that i should point out that here in the UK we laugh quite a lot, when we’re not being ripped off by them…….

    Hope you’re well Barry, take care.

    • 5
      Barry Williams

      Mister Wells made a joke! Yay! 😉

      I wish Canadians laughed more and I’m doing my part by making a fool of our entire country. Of course, I could never do it as well as our Prime Minister. He has training…

      Thank you for your comment, Barry and I hope you are feeling tip top soon.

      Keep smiling, pal.

      The other Barry

    • 7
      Barry Williams

      I’m uh, glad I didn’t stumble onto your site before now because what would I do with all these drugs?

      They only work if somebody takes them and folks don’t have to be on drugs to get something good from your site. And that’s probably why I don’t like it.

      Industry Wrecker.

      Okay, I still respect you, though. Thanks muchly.

  4. 8

    certainly like your web site however you have to check the spelling on several of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very troublesome to tell the reality then again I will definitely come back again.

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