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What Is Office Humor?

Doctors and nurses can be the subject of health care jokes.
Lawyer jokes are very common.
The corporate world is often the basis for jokes on TV and movies.
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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 04 April 2014
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Office humor indicates a variety of jokes that usually feature a business office or other workplace as the setting for the joke. Other aspects of the business world can also play a part in such jokes, including relationships between bosses and other workers, stereotypes about different types of jobs, and how co-workers often relate to each other. There are many types of jokes that use workplace settings, usually based on different types of jobs. Office humor may also refer to jokes told at a workplace, in which case there is usually a focus on what jokes are appropriate for such a setting.

Many different types of jokes can be included in office humor, including both spoken or text jokes as well as pranks and practical jokes. Most of these jokes utilize the office environment and how different relationships and activities often develop in an office as the basis for the humor in the joke. These jokes are often built on ideas regarding the relationships that can occur between co-workers and ways in which bosses often frustrate employees. Much like other types of jokes, office humor can also play off stereotypes in the workplace, which may be offensive to some individuals.

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Since office humor is often based around a particular type of workplace, a number of sub-genres within this type of humor have also developed. Lawyer jokes, for example, can range from jokes non-lawyers tell about legal professionals to humor based on an understanding of the law discussed between two lawyers. There are also a number of medical jokes based on workplaces such as hospitals and doctor’s offices, often with nurses and doctors as the objects of the joke. The corporate world has also been the basis for a great deal of office humor, including comic strips, television shows, and movies.

Office humor can also refer to spoken jokes and other humorous activities that occur within the workplace itself. This can indicate jokes sent around an office through employee e-mail, as well as jokes that employees or managers tell each other while at work. A number of practical jokes and pranks have also become quite popular in the workplace, though discretion should be used so that employees avoid punitive action for wasting time at work. This type of office humor is often the subject of company policies regarding harassment in the workplace, and employees should be careful to only tell jokes that are inoffensive to others to avoid potential disciplinary or legal action against them.

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Discuss this Article

summing
Post 3

I have not yet figured out how to be funny at the office. I am a funny guy and at a party or in a bar I can leave people in stitches. But there is something about wearing a suit and talking to people around a coffee pot that sucks the humor right out of me.

I do not know what kind of jokes I can make, what words I can use, who I might offend and what the consequences will be. Basically, I can't be myself. Unfortunately, now most of my coworkers think I am kind of boring.

tigers88
Post 2

I have been a big fan of the comic strip Dilbert since it first started showing up in the paper. I have worked for a big insurance company for almost 30 years and even some of the most ridiculous scenarios that have come up in Dilbert have come up in my own office. It is so perceptive.

clippers
Post 1

Which do you guys prefer, The British version of the TV show The Office, or the American version? I like them both, but I have to say that I prefer the British version. But I think they are fundamentally different shows and can almost not be compared.

The British version is much more about British humor which is very dry and focused a lot on humiliation, embarrassment and awkwardness. The American version is more about silliness, absurdity and slapstick. Both are funny, I think I just lean more towards a British sensibility.

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