Workplace blogs
Workplace blogs

Using Humor to Bust Stereotypes

1. Busting Stereotypes by Busting a Gut

A Jewish rabbi and a Muslim lawyer/comedian have formed an
“odd couple” comedy tour in hopes of breaking down some common
stereotypes with the language of humor. Rabbi Bob Alper and
Azhar Usman are succeeding in getting common laughs from some very
mixed audiences. Humor dealing with terrorism, racism, religion
and even the 9-11 tragedy, is helping their audiences normalize
and understand current events through a different lens. “When I
sermonize, I HOPE I move people spiritually,” says Rabbi Bob Alper,
“but when I make them laugh, I KNOW I move them spiritually.”

This truly odd comedic couple is a great reminder of the power
of humor to bridge cultures, unite people, and break down
barriers with laughter. And as our workplaces become more
diverse (both age-wise and culturally), healing, uniting,
positive humor can play an increasingly important role.

(I’m still not sure which is the oddest pairing though, the
Rabbi with a Muslim comic, or the lawyer/comedian combo?)
2. Mike’s Fun at Work Tip

Use the back of your business card to describe the other
half of you – the non-working, personal side. Give yourself
a “job title” (e.g. “Overtaxed Mom”) and list a few of your
personal hobbies, talents, passions or a favorite quote.
(Trust me, your customers and/or colleagues will love it.)
3. Quote of the Week

“The less you laugh, the less you live.” -Tote Yamada
4. It’s a Wacky, Wacky, World

Britain recently did something that workplaces should emulate:
they surveyed people to find out what the stupidest laws were.
The winner was a law stating that it is illegal for anyone
to die in the Houses of Parliament. Other winners for stupidest
laws included: In Liverpool, it is illegal for a woman to be
topless, UNLESS she is a clerk in a tropical fish store
(makes sense); it is illegal to enter parliament in a suit
of armor; and of course, taxi drivers are not permitted to
carry rabid dogs (which just seems to be common sense).

Speaking of strange laws . . . it is illegal in the province of
Alberta NOT to cruise by my website and vote in the latest
web poll: “Where/when do you get your great ideas?” So do
drop by.

Happy Hump Day . . .may the farce be with you.
Copyright Michael Kerr, 2007.

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