The Hump Day Humor-Gram, March 23, 2005, Issue # 125

In this issue . . .

1. Leading With Laughter – Lessons from the White House
2. Mike’s Fun at Work Tip
3. Deep Thought of the Week
4. It’s a Wacky, Wacky World
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1. Leading With Laughter – Lessons from the White House

Advisers to American presidents have long understood the
benefits of humor. In fact, “comedy advisers” working for
different administrations have crafted jokes for
Presidents’ speeches and helped shaped (to varying degrees
of success) the image of presidents through their strategic
use of humor. The comedy writers are adept at tailoring the
humor to different audiences and different regions of the
country, squirreling away humorous nuggets for use in future
speeches. Anecdotes are used in speeches to both amuse and
persuade their audiences, while often humor is used to deal
with contentious issues that weren’t easily explained with
facts and figures.

All of the past advisers agreed that gentle, self-deprecating
humor which would make their leaders look more human and humble,
was the preferred style. Some presidents, such as JFK, were
naturals, and used humor easily to diffuse tension amongst
staff in the White House, while others, such as Nixon or
Carter, were, to put it gently, somewhat “humorously
challenged.”

Gerald Ford was very open to the use of humor, even
participating in a practical joke at a press dinner. When
Ford rose to speak he “accidentally” dragged the entire
tablecloth off the table with him, dumping dishes into the
lap of Chevy Chase (known at the time for spoofing Ford on
“Saturday Night Live”), and dropping his speech (a fake,
decoy copy) notes out into the audience. Even Chevy Chase
didn’t know about the joke before hand. Some White House
adviser worried about the joke, fretting that it would
make Ford look “un-presidential.” But the joke worked,
proving once again that sometimes “leading with laughter”
really is the presidential thing to do.
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2. Mike’s Fun at Work Tip

The White House has a comedy adviser, while a law firm in
Chicago has a full time “Manager of Mischief.” So why not
create your own workplace comedy adviser? It needn’t be full
time; it doesn’t even have to come with extra pay or benefits,
because folks will jump at the chance! You could rotate the
role of “humorist-in-residence” every four months to share
the fun and help develop everyone’s humor resources.
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3. Quote of the Week

“You can’t fight an enemy with reality, you have to use humour.”
– Former White House comedy adviser
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4. It’s a Wacky, Wacky World

Your goofy little factoid of the day: A typical executive
spends 68 hours a year . . . stuck on hold on the phone.
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Copyright Michael Kerr, 2005 mailto:mike@mikekerr.com
Author and international speaker Michael Kerr delivers keynote
talks and workshops on humor in the workplace, business
creativity and public speaking skills. Reach Michael at
1-866-609-2640 or surf him up at http://www.MikeKerr.com

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