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 bath...one 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: