Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Humor and Diversity

Things to consider when using humor touching on diversity and minority groups.
1. Diversity is everywhere you look. Our society is abundantly diverse. And, normally, so are your audiences. Catholics, bi-sexuals, physically challenged, heavy people, tall people, old people, women, Southerners, rich people, Hispanics, blue collar workers. And then there are people who are none of the above. This list reflects only a small portion of the vast diversity in our society.
2. What if you are an outsider, not a member of a group? Generally, a speaker should present to nurses to avoid nursing jokes if the speaker is not a nurse. The reason? They have heard the jokes before. And you do not have the inside knowledge to judge whether the joke is truly funny or in good taste. So if you are speaking to a group of Republicans or doctors or Mormons or blacks, it is probably risky to target jokes toward their specific group if you are not one of them.
3. Inside knowledge helps. Is it safe to tell a physically challenged joke, a black joke, a Jewish joke, gay joke, a joke about women? It's probably safe if you are a black Jewish Lesbian in a wheelchair. One of the safety factors is "are you part of the group?" Being blind, if you are telling a blind joke, may give you better insight on whether or not the joke is funny or in good taste. Being part of the group may also give you "permission" from the audience to tell the joke as someone who is not an outsider.
4. A caveat is appropriate here. Let us say you are a Southern Baptist. And imagine you are speaking to Southern Baptists. Should Southern Baptist jokes be OK? Probably. But good judgment is still called for. The world is so diverse. Not every Southern Baptist is just like you. Just when you think you are just like someone else and that you know what they are thinking...think again. We are all very unique.
5. Where are you coming from? When telling a joke about a group, ask yourself: What is my motivation? Do you have negative feelings about the group? If so, the joke is probably not appropriate.
6. Where did you hear the joke? Did an Asian tell you an Asian joke? If so, it may be safe to tell the joke quoting a third person who is part of the group. It MAY be safe. Again good judgment is in order.
7. When you are telling a joke, you might ask "Why am I telling it?" I hope you are using the humor to make a point. It is often safe to tell a joke if it makes an insightful learning point.
8. The bottom line. There is no firm rule what is safe and what is not. Use good judgment. Remember, common wisdom says that good judgment comes from experience. And experience comes from bad judgment. Sometimes you just have to try something and see how it works, and then make corrections as necessary. But remember the sage advice, when in doubt, leave it out!

Copyright by John Kinde, who is a humor specialist in the training and speaking business for over 30 years specializing in teambuilding, customer service and stress management.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Medill IMC funny professor poll launched!!

Hi Medill IMC students!

It's almost the end of this quarter. Time has flown by! Remember how many painful afternoons we spent in lab? How we felt lost in stats class but appreciated our cute professor? How consumer insight assignments always screwed up our weekends? And how we almost forgot everything about IMC except the hot dog, the betrayal and professor Wang's daydream of dating Maya Lin......?

At the end of all these courses, don't you have something to say about our beloved professors? Feel free to share any comments and don't forget to take the poll for our Quarterly Funniest Professor!!

p.s Would you like to see your professor's featured here? Please contact us at: myfunnyprofessor@gmail.com

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My funny professor promo

A famous funny Japanese teacher: Great Onizuka

Who’s this? Oh, don’t you know him?! His name is Onizuka! He was once the most popular teacher in Japan. He is funny and hot :).
Onizuka had many bad grades at school. But his biggest dream was to become a teacher. After he realized his dream, he encountered so many troubles... But he used a unique way to solve all problems and won the harts of his students.

Great Teacher Onizuka was one of the most popular Japanese cartoons. Later, Great Teacher Onizuka was also an inspiration for a drama on TV.
Watch the show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgmHzgJi9HI&feature=related

Culture differences in humor

You might think the quotes on this website are very funny, but there is a chance that a Chinese student is not amused at all. ‘Why are you laughing about your professors' actions?’
Humor is something we use to make the world a better place, but beware; it can also make life worse if humor is misinterpreted.
Humor can be seen as aggression or dominance in some cultures and it is better to avoid telling jokes. Also, if a joke is translated in another language the meaning can change. The following quote comes from the website of the China Daily: “Pssst! Did you hear about the American businessman whose tame joke drew a hilarious response from his Japanese audience? The American, curious why they liked the joke so much, later asked his official translator, who replied: "The joke was not appropriate, so I did not translate it. I simply said: 'The gentleman has told a joke. Please laugh.'"

Below some insights on differences between countries:

-British use more irony in their humor. They believe it breaks tension, but Americans might mistake this for sarcasm.

-When you have a meeting in the U.S., don’t try to impress the crowd with ethnic or gender-related humor. Keep it clean.

-Europeans like the sexual tinted jokes but be careful with those. Know your audience :)

-While American stand-up comedians tend to work solo, in China the two-person format is the dominant one. This is perhaps reflecting the cultural tendency toward collectivism vs. the American cult of the individual.

Read about John who lives in China and shares his insights on culture differences in humor:

Funny Asian jokes?

The differences between the British, Americans and Aussies:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Can you top these funny professor quotes?

Why is it that the "funny" professors are the ones that we always remember? I had a college professor who taught new media and back in 1999 he was convinced that we were all going to turn into cyborgs because of the number of gadgets we had attached to ourselves. And to think that he was only wearing a cell phone and a PAGER! What would his lecture be like now that we have iPods, iPhones, Bluetooths and Blackberries with us at all times? I guess we have become cyborgs, huh?

My teacher ones did an imitation of Superman, because he thought he was good at it. Somebody tried to take pictures but that messed it all up, the teacher got mad and the fun was over!

"I want to see a show of hands. I want you to raise your hands not to tell me the answer, or because you know the answer, but because you have a gut feeling that you *think* you have the answer."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Let's share the funny professor stories!

Ahhh….academia. We can all agree that there’s nothing funny about long study hours; back-breaking bag packs; and super early classes. All the fun is to be had on a drunken Saturday evening……or basically at anytime that we are not in school. My fellow academicians, we have been looking for a good time in all of the wrong places. Our source of entertainment is right before our eyes…..on Monday morning in room 3145. Yes, I mean that monotoned voice professor with the black-rimmed glasses. We spend so much time dreading our academic experience that we forget that professors do some of the funniest and weirdest things one can ever imagine! For instance, I once had a professor who really liked cologne…..and he made sure he wore about 20 bottles of it every day! But I’m sure your stories can top that one. So the floor is yours. But please, keep it clean. Because in as much as we are poking fun at our professors, we don’t want to be disrespectful.