Catching up with Karyn

What was he thinking?!

Obviously, he wasn’t. Thinking, that is. Michael Richards, better known to the world as Kramer, took his funny and light-hearted image he’d established over his successful career with Seinfeld, and flushed it down the tubes. I can just picture him skidding into Jerry’s apartment, shaking like an electrically charged, over-caffeinated baffoon, uttering “Oooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh nooooooooooooooooo!”

“Oh no” is right. Whether you’re dealing with hecklers, irritable coworkers or cranky customers—insulting them is a bad idea. Comediennes anticipate that these things will happen, and they have comebacks that are so practiced that they can appear to be spontaneous—but few professional comics will leave those situations to chance.

There’s something you can learn from Michael Richards’ common sense infarct. We all have times when have to deal with hostility from others. A lot of times, if we’d thought about it,...

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When Humor is Part of The Corporate Culture

I had the chance to sit around the table with the most fun bunch of people recently. They weren’t humorists or comediennes—but they were funny as all get out—kind of like Seinfeld meets healthcare. And they love their work.

Moe Green, founder of Classic Care Pharmacy started his business 10 years ago with a handful of people. Today he has over 120 employees and services 125 long term care facilities. The corporate culture is fun, and his staff and his customers are raving fans.

While having lunch with two of the team (Judy and Girish) they told me they hate to miss even a day of work. “There’s something going on everyday, and most of the time it’s fun!” they said. Apparently the rest of the staff agrees with them. The camaraderie and team spirit is palpable when you walk in the office.

As far as retention goes, people who come on board tend to stay on board. “We don’t brag too loudly to others about how good we have it...

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Improv Your Customer Service

My youngest son, Adam, is a student at Second City, the school of improve in Chicago, the springboard for so many of the Saturday Night Live cast. Finally people who can appreciate what his high school teachers could not—his comedic genius! (How many trips to the principal’s office for entertaining his classmates?)

Recently I asked him how he was applying his lessons at Second City to other areas of his life (hoping that my tuition dollars were getting the most bang for the yuck, so to speak). I was pleasantly taken aback by the wisdom he has acquired. He works evenings waiting tables (as many starving artists do) at a local restaurant/jazz club: Andy’s Jazz Club. (For those of you living or visiting Chicago, definitely check this place out—great food and great music [and amazing waiters—at least on certain nights…]).

He explained that the two most important rules of Improv are 1) Never say no. Whatever the situation, say yes—take whatever...

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What happened to The Journal of Nursing Jocularity?

healthcare Aug 21, 2008

Thanks for asking. I was Vice-President of the JNJ during its eight year stint and best friends with publisher, Doug Fletcher. Doug had a great vision when he created the JNJ and left a tremendous legacy. His untimely death, and the deaths of our friends and colleagues Bob Diskin (Too Live Nurse), Georgia Moss, and Diane Rumsey, left a huge void in the world of healthcare humor. In Doug’s honor, AATH has named its Lifetime Achievement Award after Doug (see www.aath.org)

Below is an announcement I created when we ceased publication of the JNJ. Barely a day goes by that I don’t think of Doug and smile.

The Journal of Nursing Jocularity was a quarterly publication for nurses and health professionals that was written, edited, illustrated and published by nurses and health professionals. The first issue was Spring, 1991; the last issue was the Spring, 1998. Filled with satire, true stories, cartoons, and all around funny stuff related to nursing and health care – it...

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Mind If I Laugh?

Following the events of September 11, 2001 and the terrorism that ensued, I continued traveling around the country, addressing groups about the healing power of humor and laughter.  I heard a variety of comments:
“I really want to laugh, but I just can’t bring myself to do it.”
“I can’t bear to watch another news report—it’s sucking the life right out of me.”
“I feel like laughing, but I’m afraid other people will think I’m being inappropriate.  Is it really okay to laugh yet?”

Abraham Lincoln may have said it best: “With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh I should die.”

Now more than ever, we, as individuals and as a country, need the healing power of humor and laughter to deal with the tragedies we experience.  Reports showed that the country is in poorer health overall than it was prior to September 11th.  Accompanying the levels of higher anxiety...

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