Sometimes you can combine an interesting news item with your own experiences to come up with effective business humor. For example, I’ve updated a few jokes I used to tell about an encounter I had with manatees and I’ve incorporated a current news item about a woman who was arrested for trying to ride a manatee. I also worked the recent election into the piece.
The balance of nature is completely out of whack in Florida. We should be going through a traumatizing recount of the election results right now, but that didn’t happen. Without a recount to keep Floridians occupied, things have been going horribly wrong.
Last week, a woman was arrested for riding a manatee in Pinellas County. For those who aren’t familiar with manatees, they are large slow-moving marine mammals. Manatees are so slow they have a hard time getting out of the way of boats. That wasn’t a punchline. Anyways, we have wake-free zones on the waterways wherever manatees are likely to be swimming.
There are also state regulations that prohibit people from touching or even disturbing manatees. I was swimming at a spring west of Daytona once where there were a few dozen manatees nearby. I was enjoying the day in part of the spring that was roped off for people and here comes a manatee under the rope. Then a park ranger told me to move!
I was indignant. After all, I had paid to get into the park. The manatee was swimming around for free. Furthermore, I was minding my own business. It was Mr. Manatee that crossed the line, not me. But, hey, I was willing to live and let live, enjoying the beautiful nature all around me. Then I had a sickening realization: I was swimming in a manatee sewer. All I’m saying is that they’re big animals and they go through a lot of vegetation in a day.
Back to the manatee rider, if there had been a recount going on in Florida, the way there should have been, the police would probably have been busy keeping the peace around some municipal building where votes were being tabulated. Instead, they evidently had time to look through photos to determine whether that woman was riding a manatee or whether she actually was a manatee.
Of course, if you’re going to try something like the above, you’ll have to practice, test the bit on people to make sure you know where the laughs should be, and edit accordingly.
Here’s an example of a simple joke based on a news item.
The Orlando Sentinel reported this last week: “A man accused of being a methamphetamine trafficker allegedly confessed — and then flushed the detective’s recorder down the toilet.” It’s one more narcotics case that will never be successfully prosecuted due to a technicality. It may have been a crappy case to begin with.
Note: There are, of course, some business settings where the word crappy won’t fly well.
Business Humor Link of Week: Ritch Shydner’s Stories
Ritch Shydner, a superb comedian and writer, has been posting entertaining stories from his life in the comedy business on his Facebook page. He actually played a part in one of the late great Andy Kaufman’s wrestling matches with women. Shydner wrote about that encounter in a recent post. “It was the most powerful comedic performance I ever witnessed. Over the years I saw hundreds of comics kill a crowd with laughter, but only one erased their sense of humor and rearranged the club’s furniture.” If you’re interested in reading about comedy in the U.S. over the past few decades, Shydner’s Facebook page will be well worth a visit.