Sunday, October 30, 2011

Where do you lose your sense of humor?

What is an area in your life where you lose your sense of humor? Where you are taking life to seriously? It could be a particular relationship at home or at work, or it could be your lack of relationships. It could be parenting, a stressful project at work, finances, or a prickly family member. For me, technology causes me to lose my humor. I continually need to call forth my funny bone. How might you bring laugter and play to that area of life you take seriously? As you read this book, keep in mind an area you would like to lighten up. Listen for ways humor can influence that area of your life.
After I shared my frustration with technology and my need to maintain my sense of humor, especially with regard to computer problems, my friend Vicki sent the following:

Serene Japanese Computer Messages:

• The Web site you seek cannot be located, but countless more exist.
• Chaos reigns within. Reflect, repent and reboot. Order shall return.
• Yesterday it worked. Today it is not working. Windows is like that.
• Stay the patient course. Of little worth is your ire. The network is down.
• A crash reduces your expensive computer to a simple stone.
• Three things are certain: death, taxes, and lost data. Guess which has occurred?
• Having been erased, the document you are seeking must now be retyped.
• Serious error, all shortcuts have disappeared.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

You SHOULD laugh at the same things I do...

As human beings we have a tendency to think that others should laugh at the same things we do. We don’t often consider the idea that what we find funny is based in our individual life experiences.
For example, there is a joke in the deaf community about two people out for a walk, one is hearing-impaired, and the other is not. They notice the birds on a telephone wire. One bird jumps up and seems to sign the letter T, another does the same thing, and still another seems to sign the letter Y. The hearing-impaired person says, “Oh, that’s a TTY line.”

In order to “get the joke,” you need to have some familiarity with the hearing-impaired culture. TTY is the name of the telephone service for people who have a hearing impairment.
We have a tendency to think others should laugh at or be offended by the same things we are. People are funny about humor in that way. We don’t expect others to enjoy the same movies, or music, or poetry. We like it if they do, but I don’t think we have the same expectations of sharing these personal tastes as we do with humor. Feel free to differ with me and to let me know.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Only 10% of laughter comes from jokes!

Another sneak peak!
According to Dr. Robert Provine, University of Maryland, only ten percent of laughter is from jokes. My challenge in putting this book together was to find various ways to reflect the other ninety percent of sources of laughter. Since we have a tendency to reduce humor to jokes, my commitment is to demonstrate that there is more to humor than jokes. In conversation, when I bring up the word “humor,” people often immediately think “jokes.” I distinguish between stories and jokes: stories connect with the rest of the content of a conversation; they don’t interrupt the flow. Jokes often interrupt a conversation. Jokes are often about cleverness and self-presentation.
There are numerous types of humor and various descriptive words for humor: absurdity, sarcasm, slapstick, puns and other forms of word play, satire, jokes, stories, pranks, teasing, silliness, corniness, wit, food art, comedy, jests, exaggeration, jocularity, incongruity, nonsense, riddles, juxtaposition, tickling, vulgarity, and ludicrousness.

Feel free to add to the list. Enjoy noticing the variety of humor!

It's that time of year again. There are some new Halloween riddles on the site below: Hope you enjoy them and share with the kidders in your life.
Just one for now: What is a vampire’s favorite holiday? (It’s not Halloween.) Fangsgiving.

Why didn't the skeleton tango? They didn't have any BODY to dance with!

Friday, October 21, 2011

What if the Hokey pokey is what it's all about?

My book, Laugh and Live: Reclaiming Our Sense of Humor will soon be available as an ebook. To whet your appetite, below is a brief excerpt from the introduction. More to come.

People often ask me when I got started in the humor business. I say: “Fourth grade.” As I recall, during fourth grade the sharing and telling time was particularly good. So good, that I took the stories home and shared them with my family around the supper table. It was a great source of positive attention. I continue to strive for positive attention through humor.
Although I do have many good stories to share, I don’t pretend to be a comedian. I am a humor educator. When people looking for a comedian call me, I refer them to Merrilyn Belgum (no longer doing stand up) and Susan Vass.

Merrilyn once spoke in front of 2,000 women in Milwaukee. She returned to Minneapolis and reported that she got a “standing ovulation.” By the way, she brings seventy-eight years of experience to her comedy.
Used with permission

My favorite example of Susan’s humor is about taking her ninety-year-old friend Agnes shopping. Agnes was usually pretty upbeat, but one day she was depressed. Susan asked her what was wrong. Agnes said that her husband and she had decided to get a divorce. Susan exclaimed, “After seventy years of marriage, you’re going to get a divorce now?” Agnes said, “We thought we’d wait until the children were dead.”
Used with permission