Thursday, August 7, 2014

Can you tell a joke?

What makes a joke funny?

This is good to know because jokes and stories are the basis of many work situations. Don Steinberg wrote a review of a book called Poking a Dead Frog by Mike Sacks (WSJ, June 13, 2014).

First, analyzing what is funny can't be done. It's like dissecting a frog--nothing left.

We can say there is a difference between writers and performers. Writers, according to SNL writer James Downy, tend to put ordinary people in weird situations. With performers--the opposite--weird people in ordinary situations. Writers like originality, performers will use characters over and over.

Comedy is about being unhappy, said one writer.

How can you not look at dark side of everything, asks Roz Chast of New Yorker fame.

How indeed?

May I add that some people cannot tell jokes and should not try? They forget parts--the "Oh, yeah, I forgot, he's a genie..." Sometimes they forget the punchline, too. They end with..."Well, I can't really remember all this--but you can find it on YouTube."

This is bad.

See? Dark side.

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