cat-laugh.jpgI can’t really finish that joke. Not in today’s uptight environment.

Heaven forbid I tell any joke, or laugh at a cartoon. (Yes, I did laugh when I got my last New Yorker with the Obamas on the cover. So sue me.)

We’re just too wound up today to tap into our humor vortex and it sucks for all of you grinding away in factories and offices, and especially those of you working outside this summer. We all need to laugh, especially in this economic environment. Lots of our great comedians came out of the Great Depression, the Marx brothers and Jack Benny. (Yes, Jack Benny. If you Gen Whatevers don’t know who the heck he is check out this YouTube video. This is what people thought was funny many moons ago.)


My column this week on MSNBC.com addresses the prevailing no-laugh zone in today’s workplaces.

I’ve already gotten tons of responses on the story, most of it from employees craving a more lighthearted 9 to 5.

I quoted Joel Goodman, director, The HUMOR Project, and he got lots of emails after my column came out.

One letter came from a reader who’s looking for a job. She took the initiative to use my column as a job-query ice breaker.

Here’s what she wrote Goodman:

“It’s so great to know that an organization like yours exists! In so many workplaces, there is such a huge need for humor. I’d LOVE to work in a fun workplace! I’d love to laugh at work! Surely there are many others thinking the same thing. Maybe I can help you carry your mission forward….”

I emailed Goodman to find out if he was even looking for workers.

I think this is a great example of being creative and pushy when it comes to your job search.

Take a lesson from this. Just sending your resumes into a technological bit box after researching jobs on Monster.com isn’t enough to make you stand out. Use any excuse to connect with a company.

In this case the excuse was humor. For you the excuse to connect might be an interesting project you know a company you’ve read about is working on, or you learned via LinkedIn or Facebook that a CEO has become a board member of a non profit you contribute to. Find an excuse, any excuse.

And, above all else, keep your humor people.

At one point in my career I got so many rejection letters that I joked about wallpapering my cramped Manhattan apartment I shared with a roommate with the paper repudiations. It was a tough time for me but my roomie and I decided to throw a potluck party, equipped with some gags such as roaches in ice and a whoopie cushion.

Did it help my mood? Damn right it did!

So, a rabbi, a priest and an imam walk into a bar and ask the bartender for directions to the nearest brothel. The bartender, a bit perplexed, couldn’t help himself and asked why these religious individuals wanted directions to a whore house.

The rabbi said it had been a long time that he and his wife had sex. The priest said he just wanted to watch what he’d given up so long ago. And the imam said he just wanted to see what awaits him in paradise.

The bartender suggested the three men sit down and have a stiff drink.

Why? They all asked him.

OK. Now I want all of you to finish this joke for me. Tap into your funny bone and help me out here.

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