I find George Stephanopoulos to be mildly fascinating because I don’t believe he has a sense of humor. I mean… I don’t know him, obviously. I’m just basing this on what I’ve seen. And I’ve seen no evidence whatsoever that his brain is serving up witticisms on a regular basis. However, and this is the fascinating part, he’s reasonably good at faking it. He knows where to laugh — even though I don’t believe he understands why he’s laughing — and has a few pre-programmed “funny” comments that he interjects whenever the opportunity arises. Like a three-legged dog, I think he’s figured out a way to work around his handicap (no sense of humor at all) and live a normal life.
I could be completely wrong, but don’t think so. I’ve studied the man at least two or three times during my life, for upwards of four minutes per session. So I think I know what I’m talking about. But, at least he seems to realize he’s not very funny. It’s worse when somebody is wit-free but believes they’re goddamn hilarious. This man right here, from the same line of work as George, jumps immediately to mind:
He too is fairly good at faking it but doesn’t seem to know he’s not funny. He adopts a jocular good-natured ball-busting pose, as his instinctual three-leg workaround. But it’s never very clever or biting or anything interesting. Hey, whatever. I shouldn’t mock the handicapped (no sense of humor at all). And I’m not. I just find it interesting the way people, especially super-successful TV personalities, deal with a catastrophic whimsy deficit. Or a drollery shortfall, or whatever you choose to call it.
And since we’re on the subject of people who mistakenly believe they’re funny… here’s one I find to be fairly aggravating: the giant nerd “comedian.” This guy, Karl (apparently), really and truly believes he’s funny. Right? And I have no doubt his co-workers go along with it and allow the charade to continue. They’re enablers! I don’t know who this person is, but I know what his voice sounds like. And I know the way he speaks: the cadence, the self-satisfaction, the curmudgeonly pose. Karls are not exactly rare creatures. And I’m sure this one means no harm, but it annoys me that people like him are considered to be funny. That’s the part that irritates me. That shit’s not funny, it’s just nerd stuff. Nerds are almost never funny, and should not be encouraged. Also, I find the state of his workspace to be offputting.
But the worst three-legged dogs are the ones that attempt to compensate by yelling. If you can’t be funny, be loud! They seem to believe that the shouting of something not-at-all-clever miraculously transforms it into comedy gold. It’s amazing how many people seem to subscribe to this theory. Just be real obnoxious and noisy and maybe people won’t notice that there’s a smoldering hole where your sense of humor is supposed to be.
Do you know anyone who has no sense of humor at all, and realizes it? I believe it’s fairly rare. Maybe a grim school administrator? I don’t know. I suspect that even they secretly believe they’re funny, but their line of work does not allow for such things. What other workarounds have you noticed other than the ones I mentioned? How do people compensate for their whimsy deficit? And like Karl, what brand of office comedian do you like the least? Please use the comments link to share your thoughts.
And I’m going to work now. Just four more days and Vacation #1 begins. Oh yeah.
Have a great week, my friends!
Now playing in the bunker
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My sous chef, Jose Hernandez, speaks fine English. Every day, I will tell him funny tales of my debauchery from the night before. He looks at me with a blank stare, and goes back to whatever tasks I assigned him that day. He has worked for me for three years, and I have yet to see any other emotion but “serious “. Im almost certain he goes home and bursts into laughter about the constant things i say to him every day.
A waitress there replies to her co-horts, regularly, “nunya” when they ask her what she needs. She says nunya business and laughs like a laugh track.
But…..my main three legged dog is the Greek owner of my place of employment. He thinks he is hilarious, but most people that work there find disdain in the comments he makes……like, make sure your mother’s funeral is not on the weekend, or we will be fucked, then bursts into laughing wanting supports from the peanut gallery. Not funny, Zorba!
George Stephanopoulos is married to a comedic actress, and they are friends with Jerry Seinfeld or somesuch. I don’t know if any of that helps.
I have been to comedy shows where someone near the front (and in my line of sight) sits there deadpan all night. It kills the show for me.
I also know a few “sentence finishers” who are too busy completing your thought that they never just listen and laugh.
I know plenty of people who are not funny, but I can’t think of any who think they are. The office comedians are the ones who say “one more day!” on Thursday, and guffaw. Hyuk. hyuk, fuxamattawitchew. So glad I’m out of that place.
How about the office comedian who never gets tired of the phrase “are you workin’ hard or hardly workin'”? I hate it. The “one more day” guy mentioned above is also annoying as hell.
I really commented because of Karl the nerd. I think I know the type you’re talking about. In addition to “the cadence, the self-satisfaction, the curmudgeonly pose”, do you also picture this man with a goofy smirk on his face the whole time and hear him “laugh” at every other sentence he speaks by really just lightly puffing air through his nose, while never removing the obnoxious grin? Makes me cringe just thinking about it.
I had a boss once who had no sense of humor and he admitted it. You would tell him a joke or say something funny, wait for the laugh, and he would just reply with “I don’t understand humor”. The funny thing is that he had no problem making people laugh, but everyone was clearly laughing at him, not with him. But he would take it in stride as he knew it was good to make people laugh, even though he couldn’t do it intentionally.
The funny thing is this guy is absolutely brilliant. I have no doubt his IQ is in the top 3% of the world, he was a Director at a very well-known company, and he was born & raised in the USA so there wasn’t a language barrier. His brain just didn’t process humor or jokes. Very odd.
Root 66 says
I just had a horrible thought–since I can’t readily identify the “office comedian” at our office, then maybe it’s ME! I know I’m a nerd, but I attempt to brighten people’s day with a little levity and light-heartedness. Maybe everyone laughs because they really just feel so sorry for me! They probably all whisper, “Bless his li’l ol’ heart” when my back is turned…
A Different Jeff says
I was tempted to suggest that there is an inversely proportional relationship between intelligence and humor, but then I recalled people like Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, among others, who clearly have both in spades. And I think we’ve all known people who are dumb as a post, and funny as a box of rocks. Perhaps the only inverse relationship is that the dumber a person is, the funnier they think they are?
Interesting factoid: as mentioned above, George Stephanopoulos’s’s’s wife is a comedic actress who once played Jerry Seinfeld’s girlfriend. Stephanopoulos and Seinfeld are good friends, and Jerry introduced George S. to transcendental meditation.
Add to your “being loud makes it comedy gold” point…unnecessary cursing. The f-bomb shouldn’t make you a professional comedian. I’ve listened to some “comedians” who were NOT funny, but they rely on the shock factor of dirty words. Juvenile and lazy IMO.
My old Stupidvisor (as I referred to him) thought he was the funniest thing to walk the Earth but was in fact the epitome of a nerd. and laughed like the Count from Sesame Street every time he “made a funny”. I still cringe at the thought of him.
I know a few people at work who do not understand humor. One of them tried to “report” me for trying to joke with him. Another one likes to create drama and make a big issue out of everything.
Every janitor we’ve had at my workplace has been a bit off. The current one greets me every day with the same, sarcastic “Another beautiful day!” remark. Depending on the actual weather, it could mean “It’s nice out, but we’re stuck in here”, or (sarcastically) “the weather is horrible”, or “the weather is neither good nor bad, but we’ve got an entire day of work ahead of us”. Sometimes I don’t even know which way he means it.
Two cringe-worthy replies when asked “how are you doing?”: 1) Another day in paradise! and 2) Just livin’ the dream! It amazes me that certain people still believe these are clever and witty responses. After I get a response like this from someone, I stop asking them how they’re doing to avoid these nonsense replies.
Peter: Let me ask you something. When you come in on Monday, and you’re not feelin’ real well, does anyone ever say to you, ‘Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays’?
Lawrence: No. No, man. Shit, no, man. I believe you’d get your ass kicked sayin’ something like that, man.
George Stephanopoulos is as exciting as a bucket full of snot. He is blatantly partisan, yet pretends that he’s not.
surreal killer says
I’m not inherently funny. That’s why I always walk around with a slice of bologna in each of my shoes; so I can at least ‘feel’ funny.
JeffInDenver (InCleveland) says
Michelle, the singer of the last serious band I was in back in Denver. She had no sense of humor, and knew it. The best part is, she never TRIED to be funny, but rolled off some of the most hilarious side comments I’ve ever heard.
Karl, the model of the week, has a pretty good office. He has two pics of half-clad women who are either professional wrestlers or Roller Derby jammers (can’t tell which), an upper-body shot of a woman who looks like she could kick Karl’s ass (my guess: his SO), and some kind of variegated walking or fighting stick dangling from his photo shelf. There’s a potpourri of other detritus hanging from his walls or growing up from his floor. The fact that he hasn’t been fired for this shit, some of which stereotypes women and some of which is just weird, indicates that either somebody appreciates his sense of humor or that he is the only guy who understands the financial systems computer code, which in itself is a little funny. Should you pass his cube and hear him ask you, “Gettin’ any lately?”, it doesn’t really matter in a cosmic sense whether he’s asking about physical intimacy or vacation time — in either case, Karl has squeezed the universe into a ball to roll it towards some overwhelming question that you’ll never know the answer to.