Thursday, February 21, 2008

how to laugh at your boss' jokes

You know when your boss cracks a joke and the punchline only leaves you with a) a sense of foreboding dread, b) confused?
You can't leave your boss hanging. You have to fake it. There are 4 basic attacks:

(Three of which need to be incorporated into the fake laugh.
For example, the head bow + slow slap + a wind down = classic configuration for the young employee.)

1) The head drop. For the amateurs. The boss reckons, “Two nuns in a drops the soap.” Lop your head rapidly forward, so that he cannot actually see the expression on your face, cue left hand on your belly (as if you're trying to hold your small intestine in). Bob your head up and down in the lowered angle a few times.
Please note: belly holding is a no no for the young executive, unless you're quite advanced in your skill.

2) The slow slap. This is for the employee who has been there for at least 6 months.
The slow slap can fuck up, so listen very carefully. You can only slap once. You cannot repeatedly knee slap, even though you want to. He'll know you're faking it. The slow slap should be executed once and hard upon the desk surface.
Example: “A guy walks into a bar and orders a drink. because...he's a man. Good one, eh?” Lower the head, and execute a slow, sharp slap to the desk. Once. Keep hand on desk. For at least one minute.

3)The double galloping guns. This should only be attempted if you're in senior management.
Example: “A horse walks into a bar and says “meeow.” Because you're not Adam Sandler, but a guy who “appreciates a good joke,” stick your thumbs out, forefingers pointed outwards and move in a rotating motion. Again, avoid at all costs and refer to other attacks as a priority, as this could be career suicide.

4) The shaking head. Or “The Whip.” He cracks an appalling joke. It's not funny. Whip head side-to-side, to and fro while laughing. Not too much, just twice should do it. Always execute it slowly. The slow whip can be used with the wind down. Ref below.

The most important thing to remember is, to always have a follow through. This is called the Wind down. A hearty laugh, and then a decellerating “ahhh.” A wind down (“ahhhhh”) is used best with a to-and-fro head whip. A real killer is the double wind down.
Example Boss: “And then he exited the building – geddit? EXITED the building. Ha!” Cue the double wind down...and dismount... “HAHAHAHAHAR HARHAHAHRHAHR (bowing now) hee hehe hoo hoo hoo ahah aha eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer....aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh. You kill me. Or “Oh man.” Mini head whip + “you kill me” = double wind down.
A double wind down can make or break you, so not for those who like their jobs but cannot execute it properly.

Also remember that balance is key. Never under- or overcompensate with too much laughing, or not emitting any sound at all. You deserve that promotion. Ensure your Fake Laugh Attack doesn't cost you that senior position.

What Never To Do:
1.(It's number one for a reason) - repeat the punch line.
2.DON'T ever EVER ever say "I don't get it." You don't get it - because it isn't funny.
3.The belly laugh. You can't fake this. Don't attempt it, under any circumstances.

But what if he's conning me? He knows there's no punchline, so he's trying to see if I play directly into his hands?
Lion: They never con - you work for them for dirt and a bag of cashew nuts - why would he con you anymore than he already has?
No, but what if he really is conning me with a fake punchline?
Lion: "On second thought, be careful, I do this. You'd better just laugh anyway - what else could you do?"
What if he says, “There is no punchline Peas. So what are you finding so funny?”
Lion “Its just funny how you deliver it Boss - you make me laugh so easily, and so few can. Smile and watch your teeth sparkle."
What happens if I have nothing to slap? For instance, if I'm standing at the company watercooler?
Lion: “Simple. You just do the walk away laugh. It's oh so easy, and oh so good. Walk backwards, doing the galloping guns and leave him with a “That's a GOOD one.”
What about dropping down on your haunches and pretending you have difficulty breathing, and you pretend you're about to die because it's almost too hilarious?
Lion: “Pretending to die is bad - at all times. In every scenario. No.”
How about high fives after he's delivered the punchline and avoid all of the attacks above?
Lion: “A high five is as bad as grabbing onto the nearest object for support. How many female executives do you know high five? Just walk away and laugh. You think he is funny, but you take your work seriously. This is no time for frippery - just a decent chuckle and a laugh. Bosses never tell jokes that are supposed to incapacitate you.”

How not to do it, ever:


K.Victoria said...

I could never put that awkward moment into words. I'm glad that you have, because you have describe all of the options to a tee. I wish walking away, and laughing was an option.

Anonymous said...

I prefer the thousand-yard stare approach. It's especially good if I have my cellphone handy and can play the cricket chirping ringtone.

Peas on Toast said...

k.victoria - ha ha, shame man, why is it that you can' execute the classic walkaway laugh?

Kyk - hahaha, and...then what happens?

Anonymous said...

My boss has (correctly) taken this to mean that I'm a humourless bastard, so he doesn't tell me jokes anymore.

Peas on Toast said...

Kyk so he's given up completely? The long road of joke hell, to say he's given up?

Katie Possum said...

for extra tips on How Not TO DO IT, watch the playmates in Girls Next Door, or whatever the playboy mansion chicks' latest show is called.

Peas on Toast said...

Katie- how annoying are their laughs? Sure, I appreciate a good platinum blonde-buxom boody myself, but the skin crawls!

Jam said...

(that came from my belly, honest)

Peas on Toast said...

Jam - when he acts it out, it's a bloody riot hey :)

Jam said...

classic. it made my day yesterday!

Richard Catto said...

I snort when I laugh. I can't help it. People who know me have come to appreciate it and find it amusing.

So somehow you have to work in a giggle snort into this fake laugh routine.

Like, if you snort like a pig everytime your boss tells you a dumb joke, will he eventually go away? or will it encourage him to tell more?

Peas on Toast said...

Rich - ha ha, yeah, you could certainly do variations of snortage, spitting when you talk, hyena yelping and he would probably go away....but do you get the promotion? A ha!

Hot Pink said...

Something I have spent years perfecting is the inhale/xhale/with vocal wind-down..the lion helped me do it...the man is a master.
we need a video here of him doing it!
Go Peas!
Go Lion!

Peas on Toast said...

Hot Pink - The inhale/exhale - how could I forget! It's a derivative of the "ahhh", but that much more subtle. Classic. The Lion is a peach. I need to vlog him doing this.


Revolving Credit said...

Once they've delivered their 'joke', look at them with a hint of a smile and say 'Mmm, nice story' and carry on working.

It's bound to confuse the shit out of them. They're unsure if you found it funny but were just too polite to laugh out loud or found no humour whatsoever and smiled to be polite.

Bit of a mind fuck!

Peas on Toast said...

Rev - hmmm interesting indeed. But let's skip to the promotion....did they, didn't they?


The Blonde Blogshell said...

Wahahahahahahahahhahahaahah!!! *That's my REAL blogging laugh*

I don't have any sound, so it was really funny seeing the Barbies move their mouths with no's really fun!
LOL - again, it's real!

Peas on Toast said...

Blogshell - ag bless, you get the promotion dollface! It's all yours baby :) xx

Koekie said...

Oh, thank god for this post! My (aging) boss loves quoting The Simpsons Movie. You know, it's funny when animated Homer says it - the first time.

But as an opener to every weekly meeting... something in the delivery just loses oomph. I do the head drop, without fail. Leaving the slow slap to the more senior colleagues.

Peas on Toast said...

Classic Koekie! Also, important: does he do a Homer in a Dutch accent? Because I'm not sure, even if I was senior management, I could pull off the galloping guns for that one...

henkk said...

Q: How do you catch a rabbit?
A: You stand behind a tree and make carrot noises...

henkk said...

A white horse walks into a bar.

The barman says: "Hey! We have a whiskey named after you!"

The horse says: "What?? You've got a whiskey called 'Kevin'??"