#37 Is Business Un-FUNNY?

Most nights, I’ll embark on a several-part journey to ruin my vision by using Twitter on my Blackberry. I’m on the lookout for funny tweets. It’s a a good way to detox from the day.  Recently, The Onion has been my most reliable source for laughing out loud.  I’ll re-tweet stuff. People seem to like it.  But, where is humor appropriate and NOT appropriate in business? It got me wondering: Are PEOPLE funny, but is business UN- FUNNY?

I can’t think of ONE funny business.

A Recent Example

Good news: I met with a book agent in New York. Apparently, this is like getting in to see “The Wizard.”

Bad news: My humor/cutsey approach did not work in a specific section of my book proposal.

Laurie Liss (Uber-Agent): “Stop being so cute with your bio. You’re a Harvard MBA among other things. Just come out with it.”

Me: Uh, okay (I can almost hear the skeletons ratting in the closet, and baggage falling off the top of the wood-paneled station wagon.)

What about humility?  What about self-deprecating humor? And thus begins the complicated web of when FUNNY is okay in business, and when it’s not.

Takeaway: Publishers Want Your BOOK to be Funny, But Not Your Resume.

Funny good

Takeaway: I heart DIRECTtv right now because of this ad. It’s working!

Funny Bad

Takeaway: It’s not working.  I get the willies from this movie trailer for “The BackUp Plan” with Jennifer Lopez.

PARTING THOUGHTS:  Is it okay to be funny in business?

Where have you, and people, and companies you know used humor both appropriately and inappropriately? As I try to make a successful evolution from cheerleader…to leader, I ask you: Is it okay to be funny in business?

Related links:

Humor in Therapy – by Nancy Ronne

Microsoft Education on Humor

10 Ways to Use Humor on the Job – Tech Republic

World’s Funniest Company Names – Huff Post

ComedyCures – The ULTIMATE “Funny – Good”