How Humor Can Be Inappropriate

The consequences of inappropriate humor are nothing new. But in light of the recent happenings with a certain TV show and its titular actor, I figured it was worth re-visiting.

There are three reasons humor tends to be inappropriate in the workplace:

1) Inappropriate Subject Matter

Inappropriate subject matter is typically the most offensive, and can take several different forms. Off-color humor, or humor about very grave public events are both examples of inappropriate subject matter. Just because you’re using humor, it doesn’t mean you’re free to talk about whatever you want.

2) Inappropriate Target

Humor that takes aim at an inappropriate target is another common way office humor steps out of bounds. If a person is being made fun of, the office atmosphere can quickly change from being fun and lighthearted to exclusionary and polarizing, which is inappropriate for any place, not just one of work.

3) Inappropriate Time

Using humor at an inappropriate time can often be just as upsetting as either of the two preceding categories. Some moments are meant to be serious, and trying to lighten them with humor can come across badly. For example, firing someone is not the time try out your witty one-liner about firetrucks.

Avoiding Inappropriate Humor at Work

When thinking about humor at work, make sure you aren’t doing any of the above. Last week, we talked about the Four Styles of Humor. The easiest way to make sure your humor is appropriate is to focus on the first two styles.

Have you ever felt the repercussions of using humor at work? What happened and how did it get resolved?

free-ebook-humor-that-works-101-ways-to-increase-work-productivity-fun

[FREE DOWNLOAD]

101 proven ways

to increase morale, productivity and group cohesiveness through humor.

you might also be interested in...

2014 Corporate Humor Award Winners Announced!

By Humor Awards | May 2, 2014

The winners of the first ever Corporate Humor Awards have been announced. Congratulations to the Winners! Below is a summary […]

Read More

2014 Humor Awards Panel

By Humor Awards | April 1, 2014

The following esteemed panel of judges will be selecting the winners for 2014. John Garrett Title: Comedian / Writer Company: John […]

Read More

Selecting a Metaphor for Better Presentations

By Andrew Tarvin | June 29, 2009

Last week I talked about the simple presentation tip of using metaphors to improve understanding and retention of your material.  […]

Read More

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top