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Why Bringing Humor to Work has Serious Benefits

  • March 06, 2021

There’s the “being funny” myth, which is that humor is about cracking jokes. Again, it’s really not about that. It’s about being more generous with your laughter. It’s about naming truths in our lives and giving a window into our humanity.

And then lastly, the “born with it” myth, which is the idea that our sense of humor is either there or it’s not. In fact, it is a muscle that we can work.

You make a great analogy in the book comparing the relationship between levity, humor and comedy to that between movement, exercise and competitive athletics.

Bagdonas: Levity is a mind-set, an inherent state of how you approach the world. Similarly, movement is how we move through space. Minor adjustments in the way that we move, or in our mind-set around levity, have major adjustments in how we feel and how people interact with us.

Humor then channels levity toward these specific goals. When you go for a run, you are using movement in a specific way. In humor, you hone levity into a specific outcome.

Similarly, with comedy and with sports, there are specific moves you can make to get the outcomes you want. Comedians know exactly how to pause before the punchline, how to construct sentences, how to use the “rule of three” or contrast or exaggeration to get the outcome they want — which is, in this case, laughs. It’s just like how athletes know the exact form that they should use.

That’s a good analogy. You can have a healthy, happy life as someone who exercises regularly but never crosses over into athletic competition. It sounds like it’s also fine to be a person who appreciates humor but prefers not to be the one cracking jokes.

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