Posted by: slartibartifast | September 30, 2011


There is some kind of special category of humor in front of groups, especially professional groups of individuals, that is irresistible to class clown types, of which I count myself.

The best one I ever heard of took place right beside me at a whole staff meeting (meaning tenured faculty, faculty, part-time faculty, administrators, and staff [me in the last group of untouchables]) at the University of San Diego back in about 1999. It was the results of a university-wide ONE YEAR investigation into the matter of whether salaries were too low at USD for the educational market of San Diego. The meeting I was at was one of three scheduled for people to sign up for to attend, according to your schedule.

I sat next to a loose cannon of a goof, a Turk named Koke (short for Kocil, pronounced like Coke-sil), who worked for Academic Computing as a programmer. He and another guy named John (who sat on the far side of Koke from me and worked in Publications) and I were a threesome of chuckleheads who used to go drink beer and eat Mexican food and play pool at lunch at a local bar/restaurant.

The director of Human Resources (that euphemism always made me think that people were being mined, like aluminum) was going over the “findings” of the stupidly long inquiry into salaries at USD. So, she was tap dancing and wasting everyone’s time and finally got to the crux of the matter by saying, “we found that, after using a formula to adjust the San Diego area university level salaries into line with our USD salaries, that the salaries are just about right.”

Without even considering raising his hand to be called on Koke shouts out, “What was your formula? Divide by 2?”

I’ve never heard a crowd of about 300 people laugh so boisterously and instantaneously as then. It was a thing of performance art.

Of course it was spot on for accuracy and relevance. The Director of HR literally froze with what people always call the deer in the headlights look. But, you’ve NEVER EVER seen it more appropriately applied than here!

I instantly laughed as loud as anyone for a second and then couldn’t resist pointing to Koke as the source of the comment, not to duck any blame for it, but to give credit for the best laugh line I’ve ever heard in public. I WISH I had said it out loud!

I bow to comedic genius.



  1. That is the kind of witty retort I wish I could come up with on command. Excellent.

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