Humor and Docs 2

I’ve noticed that even though I very often try to be funny in person, on Facebook, at parties, on the train or at the nudist swimming club (where the joke is on me, obviously) – and even at funerals; when it comes to my professional endeavors I unwillingly and unconsciously get more serious.

When I for instance write a synopsis for a new documentary idea or have a meeting with a producer or a commissioning editor, I almost automatically switch to that serious and unfunny mode. (And when I write blogs, you might add.)

In other words, I often feel that I somehow betray myself in order to not come across as a fool. Deep down, I seem to rely on that “seriousness is the default mode for us and other animals”[1].

But first of all, it pisses me off to betray myself and who I am. Even worse, I do it to indulge someone’s inclinations - and often someone with money to hand out. But the more I look into it, the more it seems that my behavior is silly.

Some research[2] suggests that people who had experienced something funny are more capable of making creative solutions and those who had generated something funny were even more creative in their puzzle-solving afterwards.

As for intellectual benefits, there are more as Morreall writes in his book (and I kind of recapitulate from the book here):  Humor actually seems to block negative emotions which suppress creativity and lure you into familiar channels. And when laughter is activated, you are open to cognitive shifts and on the lookout for new ways of thinking.

So who doesn’t want that? Except of course every other commissioning editor? [cue canned laughter]

When I instinctively switch to being un-funny, is it because I sense that the decision-making person at the other side of the table has not experienced or generated something funny herself – for real?
That would just be sad. And sadness takes you nowhere.

And do they sense that I’m not being completely honest? That is even sadder…

“Boohoo, write a book!”, you say?

[1] John Morreall: Comic Relief: A Comprehensive Philosophy of Humor, Blackwell Publishing, 2009, s. 52
[2] By for instance Alice Isen and Avner Ziv, quoted ibid., s. 112

Humor and Docs 1
Humor and Docs 3


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