The hardest thing (That’s what she said! Remember “The Office”?) about clowning around in the workplace is not turning it into a one-ring circus of sadness. If someone is trying to be funny at their job and their jokes (even the dirty ones whispered too loudly in the elevator) aren’t getting any laughs — or, worse, are getting pained sympathy chuckles — it can be a depressing thing for their coworkers to deal with. I know, because I’ve experienced it myself.
Too many times, I’ve had one of my hilarious bits about what day it is interrupted by a wannabe Larry the Cubicle Guy who wouldn’t know Humpday from TGIF if it was the night new episodes of “Ballers” came out on (“Boners,” I call it… because of all of the hot babes on it). Listen, buddy, if you can’t make my story about how I “disrupted your day” by pretending to spill coffee on your computer and then actually spilling coffee on your computer funny, throw in the towel. I knew I came into the kitchen for a reason… to get more coffee! And the First Aid Kit, but don’t talk to me about calcined keyboards until I’ve had my caffeine fix. You know, this reminds me of that episode of “The Office” where Michael Scott burns his foot on the George Foreman grill because he wanted to wake up to the smell of bacon in the morning. Have you seen “The Office”?
The thing about “The Office” is it’s the best show in the history of television. I’ve overheard people describe me as “an ungodly mix between Michael Scott, Dwight Schrute, and Ricky Gervais,” but I think I’m more of a Jim Halpert. In fact, when I’m not messing around by the water cooler or writing a hilarious reply-all “sent from my new girlfriend Rihanna’s iPhone,” I spend most of my time mugging for my audience. Does that make it more difficult for them to do their jobs? Who’s to say?
Who’s to Slack is more like it. These days, people would rather send you a private message than confront you in person about how it makes them feel when you dribble the exercise ball they spent a lot of money to sit on and try and alleviate their back pain around the open-floor plan while yelling “AND1 Mixtape Tour!”, “Kobe!”, and “This is like that episode of ‘The Office’ where they play basketball!” It’s sad (I would say “Sad!” the way President Trump does, but to be honest, his antics stopped being amusing to me when I saw how much money I owed the government in taxes), but if you play your cards right, Slack can be your online comedy club. You might not be able to hear the laughter, but you’d be surprised at how satisfying it is when the manager you overheard blowing up the bathroom responds to your rehashing with a “Ha.”
El bańo (which is epic to say because it’s Spanish) is another good place to get your goof on. You’re only going to reach, at best, half of the staff here, so it’s a lot like performing in one of those cool “alt” rooms where cult legends cut their teeth in front of a handful of people. You’re competing with the sounds of defecation, so you can afford to be a little less buttoned up with your material. Sex, how you don’t have it, shy bladders, how the person you‘re whizzing next to has one, and urinal backsplash are all sacred cows that can be slaughtered here. If you can’t kill in a bathroom, you can forget about ever headlining the staff break room at 1 p.m.
If you’re looking for a true test of your comic talents, there’s no better judge than someone in Human Resources. It’s their job to decide what’s funny and what’s fireable. Sure, it’s a bit awkward when you’re their direct report, but if you’re keeping the office mood light and hospitable to humor, they’ll know it’s different with you. Would a bad, buffoonish boss buy the same “WORLD’S BEST BOSS” mug that Michael Scott bought for himself on “The Office”? I don’t think so. It’s funny because it’s from a show. If you can remember that and what day it is, you’re going to have a fine time at the nine-to-five.
Will anyone else? That’s for you to decide later while you lay awake in bed at night replaying the day in your head like it’s a syndicated sitcom on a network that only serves the Hell that is your own mind. Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying. Actually, all of the time — but if you do start to shed tears, even in front of your coworkers, it’s alright. There’s nothing a cup of coffee can’t make better, even Monday (feel free to use that one).