If you are reading this and it is still August, it is likely that you are sitting in an empty office or working from home, while most of your colleagues took off for the beach. If that is the case, this article is for you, if only to cheer you up a little.
Not everyone has a sense of humour. But humour can take you a long way if used right. I, for one, never remember jokes. I hardly remember the time when jokes were frequently traded over a pint or even a cup of coffee. Maybe it’s the lockdown or work-from-home culture; maybe it is the growing power of stand-up comedians, who robbed us of the creativity to invent new office jokes. Or maybe we are too afraid to offend anyone.
One liner jokes
It is time to for some one liners. I promise, they are all office appropriate.
- Why did the scarecrow get promoted? Because he was outstanding in his field!
- Why don’t scientists trust atoms? Because they make up everything!
- Did you hear about the mathematician who’s afraid of negative numbers? He’ll stop at nothing to avoid them.
- Why did the computer go to therapy? Because it had too many bytes of emotional baggage.
- I used to play piano by ear, but now I use my hands.
- Why did the coffee file a police report? It got mugged.
- How does a snowman get around? By riding an “icicle”!
- Parallel lines have so much in common. It’s a shame they’ll never meet.
- Why did the bicycle fall over? Because it was two-tired!
- What did one wall say to the other wall? “I’ll meet you at the corner!”
I found most of these actually rather boring. Play on words, like the knock knock series (see a list of those below).
Famous one liners from the movies
If you use some proper intonation one liners found in iconic movies can be as funny as jokes. Try some of these and see the reaction of your audience:
- “May the Force be with you.” — Han Solo in “Star Wars” (1977)
- “I feel the need—the need for speed.” — Maverick in “Top Gun” (1986)
- “Here’s looking at you, kid.” — Rick Blaine in “Casablanca” (1942)
- “Houston, we have a problem.” — Jim Lovell in “Apollo 13” (1995)
- “You can’t handle the truth!” — Colonel Jessup in “A Few Good Men” (1992)
- “I’ll be back.” — The Terminator in “The Terminator” (1984)
- “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” — Forrest Gump in “Forrest Gump” (1994)
- “Why so serious?” — The Joker in “The Dark Knight” (2008)
- “You talking to me?” — Travis Bickle in “Taxi Driver” (1976)
- “I’m king of the world!” — Jack Dawson in “Titanic” (1997)
- “There’s no place like home.” — Dorothy Gale in “The Wizard of Oz” (1939)
- “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.” — Margo Channing in “All About Eve” (1950)
- “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” — Various characters in the “Star Wars” series
- “To infinity and beyond!” — Buzz Lightyear in “Toy Story” (1995)
- “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” — Chief Brody in “Jaws” (1975)
Famous one liners from politics
Politicians have also contributed a fair share of one liners, which entered popular culture. Here is another shortlist:
- “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” — John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, 1961
- “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” — Milton Friedman (while not a politician, Friedman’s economic principle has been referenced by many politicians)
- “Read my lips: no new taxes.” — George H.W. Bush, 1988 Republican National Convention
- “Yes, we can.” — Barack Obama, various speeches, including his 2008 presidential campaign slogan
- “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” — Ronald Reagan, speech at the Brandenburg Gate, 1987
- “I am not a crook.” — Richard Nixon, press conference, 1973
- “Ich bin ein Berliner.” — John F. Kennedy, speech in Berlin, 1963
- “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt, Inaugural Address, 1933
- “It’s the economy, stupid.” — James Carville (strategist for Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign)
- “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” — Bill Clinton, denial of affair with Monica Lewinsky, 1998
- “The British are coming!” — Often attributed to Paul Revere during the American Revolutionary War
- “Make America great again.” — Donald Trump, 2016 presidential campaign slogan
- “I can see Russia from my house.” — Tina Fey as Sarah Palin on “Saturday Night Live” (note: often misattributed to Palin herself)
- “Mission accomplished.” — George W. Bush, banner on the USS Abraham Lincoln after the Iraq War, 2003
Most of these lose controversy or meaning as they age, which makes them harder to use. Here are some more contemporary ones, attributed to a former British Prime Minister.
Guess who said that?
Great comedy writers
Great humour writers became famous for a reason: you need great talent to invent clever, witty and sophisticated humour. If you are looking for inspiration before your next trip to the public library or a bookstore, look up these authors:
- Mark Twain (1835–1910): An American author and humourist known for works like “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” Twain’s witty and satirical writing style has left a lasting impact on American literature.
- Oscar Wilde (1854–1900): An Irish playwright and novelist, Wilde is celebrated for his sharp wit, clever wordplay, and humorous social commentary in works like “The Importance of Being Earnest” and “The Picture of Dorian Gray.”
- P.G. Wodehouse (1881–1975): An English author known for his humorous novels and stories featuring characters like Jeeves and Wooster, Wodehouse’s light-hearted and whimsical writing style continues to be beloved by readers around the world.
- Dorothy Parker (1893–1967): An American writer, poet, and critic known for her sharp wit and clever one-liners, Parker’s contributions to humour are often found in her poetry, essays, and short stories.
- Woody Allen (born 1935): An American filmmaker, comedian, and writer known for his distinct comedic voice and witty observations on life, relationships, and neuroses in films like “Annie Hall” and “Manhattan.”
- Mel Brooks (born 1926): A legendary American filmmaker, comedian, and writer, Brooks is known for his comedic films and TV shows, such as “Blazing Saddles,” “The Producers,” and “Young Frankenstein.”
- Tina Fey (born 1970): An American actress, comedian, and writer known for her work on “Saturday Night Live” and creating and starring in the TV show “30 Rock.” She’s also known for her book “Bossypants.”
- Monty Python (founded in 1969): A British comedy group consisting of Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin. Their surreal and absurd humour influenced a generation of comedians and writers.
- David Sedaris (born 1956): An American humorist, comedian, and author known for his personal essays and humorous observations on everyday life, often based on his own experiences.
- Amy Poehler (born 1971): An American actress, comedian, writer, and producer known for her work on “Saturday Night Live,” co-founding the comedy group Upright Citizens Brigade, and starring in and co-creating the TV show “Parks and Recreation.”
Instead of a summary
We started off with one liners and ended up with a reading list. I hope you found something there for you. If not, if nothing makes you laugh nor even brings a smile to your face, don’t dispair. You might be in a serious and respectible company of philosophers. Have a look at this Standord University article on Philosophy of Humor to see if you agree.
I hope you enjoyed the above and are now better armed for the influx of relaxed colleagues, who will tell you all about the adventures they had in exotic and luxurious places, while you were slogging away at that super urgent spreadsheet… Now, I was supposed to mention MyDocSafe somewhere…Well, we here at MyDocSafe, eh, operate a paperless office. I loved that until I needed to use the bathroom.
- Knock knock. Who’s there? Lettuce. Lettuce who? Lettuce in, it’s cold out here!
- Knock knock. Who’s there? Boo. Boo who? Don’t cry, it’s just a joke!
- Knock knock. Who’s there? Orange. Orange who? Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?
- Knock knock. Who’s there? Atch. Atch who? Bless you!
- Knock knock. Who’s there? Cows go. Cows go who? No silly, cows go “moo”!