Humor Training? Ask Microsoft

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If you’ve been endlessly searching for an academic approach to humor, look no further than Microsoft’s Education site. Specifically, the “competency” section for “humor.”

Did you know that there are four levels of proficiency in humor? It’s true. If you’re just at level one (basic), you may wonder where to find humor. Can you make it? Can you buy it? Tell me more about humor!

Per Microsoft:

“There are topics that can be near universally humorous. Misers, bad drivers, absent-minded people, anything that is understood worldwide as the human condition. What’s a ridiculous situation you’ve been caught in lately? There are funny things in the workplace. The jargon of it, memos, ironic rules. And there is always the news. Humor that unites people rather than puts down people or groups is always safe.”

Miser humor. Also known as the goldmine. Always good for a laugh. So now that you know where to find humor, how do you actually do it? Let’s ask.

“There are some basic humor tactics. Use exaggeration, use reversal, be brief. Cut out unnecessary words. Humor condenses the essential elements of a situation, just as good writing does. If the time of day or the color of the sky or city it happened in is not relevant, leave it out. Be on the lookout for the ridiculous around you. Jot down funny things that happen around you so you can remember them.”

That’s actually not bad advice. It extends to storytelling, too, not just humor. Man, Microsoft might be on to something here.

via David Spark (Twitter)