Friday, February 19, 2010

Comedian, Being an amatuer

Instruction librarians should use well-rehearsed library jokes, one-liners, and puns in an attempt to lighten the tone of their library lectures.  Just remember that you are only funny in relation to the dryness of your lesson, and your students still think you're a dweeb even if they do laugh at your recycled jokes.

Ask the readers: What comedic gems do you use re-use in your library lectures?

20 comments:

Beth Gallaway said...

I've been known to reference Monty Python & Eddie Izzard ...

Anonymous said...

If the catalog is being slow I usually make a joke about the hamsters being tired.

Lindsey said...

I'm usually too terrified to make an attempt at humor.

Anonymous said...

"computers are not a spectator sport..."

Leah said...

Don't be afraid of the E-reader. I mean, even Sarah Palin can use a digital reader. And even if her speech is terrible, at least it has a good index.

Anonymous said...

I teach a lot of classes to the social welfare department. When talking to them about critically reading resarch, I tell them they have to use their "social work super powers", ie, the subject skills and knowledge they've learned in their program to assess the content of a reseach article.

Anonymous said...

I always ask my undergrad audience (often /usually freshmen) if anyone has a favorite database. When no one does I usually go for the laugh with "huh, must be a librarian thing" rarely does anyone laugh.

Brittany said...

And here in the library catalog, if the book has been recently published, we see a picture of the cover of the book. But we don't judge. . . .

Jason V said...

On my standard library tour, I usually say, "And this is the Periodicals Room. Periodicals are things that are published..." (And here I pause while I pretend to think, complete with dramatic chin-rubbing) "... periodically." I get a few giggles, thus reinforcing my use of this terrible, terrible joke.

caitlin said...

I use this more when talking about what I do for a living than when I'm teaching but I still love it.

Q. How many librarians does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A. We don't know but we can find out!

It gets laughs at nerdy house parties.

Anonymous said...

When sharing the library hours I would always note that we close early on Friday because "librarians have exciting lives to lead."

I also would this example for freshmen to demonstrate why magazines may not be the best idea:
A student looking up information for a psychology paper on libido finds articles from magazines such as Cosmo.
The few students who would actually know what "libido" means would either blush at the naughty librarian's joke or giggle. I was always amazed at how many kids didn't even know the word. Once I asked if they understood the word. Then I shouted "SEX DRIVE!" at them.

EJ said...

I tell them not to worry about asking stupid questions because I already heard them all from that guy/girl before them.

Anonymous said...

"Lose this book and I'll kill you."

Anonymous said...

On a tour of the library:
"And this is where we keep our books when we're not reading them."


*cricket, cricket*

*tumbleweed*

Cindy said...

When the computer is slow I say "And this is why we don't wait until the last minute to do our research!"

When teaching grad students who are preparing to do in depth research, I advise them not to limit to full text. I tell them that's just for Freshmen who wait until the night before their paper is due.

Once I asked for a topic to do a search for a demonstration. One student suggested teen pregnancy. After discussing truncation and alternative search terms, I asked how we could narrow down the search. No response. So I started suggesting things such as looking at the causes of teen pregnancy. After I realized what I said, I continued "Well we know what causes it . . . " That got a few laughs.

I've used a video clip from The Daily Show in the past but most of the students have never seen the show. I thought it was popular among young people, but apparently that was back when I was a young person.

Steve Lawson said...

Showing the compact shelving, I always make a Star Wars joke. We have a locked cage where we put many of our archive boxes--I tell them that we'll throw them in there if they don't pay their fines.

There is a fine line between my schtick and Steve Carell's character on The Office. At least, I hope there is. (I've used that one before, too.)

Anonymous said...

Many of my librarian collegues do not have a sense of humor. Needless to say, jokes at work are rather rare.

Anonymous said...

I usually can spot the most annoying student in the class pretty quickly then I put that kid on the spot in a humorous way for most of the class. You know the type of kid that never lets anyone else answer a question or monopolizes the whole class period "having discussions" with the teacher? The one the rest of the kids can't stand because he's a know-it-all tit? Yeah, that kid. I hand him his ass in the most professional way imaginable. Works for me and never fails to garner the rapt attention of the entire class.

Anonymous said...

We came up one year with an awesome extended joke which we rehearsed carefully so as to get all the words in the right order. In front of two hundred students we said it perfectly.

And got the tumbleweed.

Since then we've stuck to whatever we can come up with on the fly. It still mostly gets tumbleweed but at least we haven't wasted time rehearsing.

Anonymous said...

I like to use Louis CK's opening line to loosen up the students at the beginning of an instruction session:

"It's great to see you all here today...actually, it's funny to see you all here, because I fucked all your mothers! Isn't that a weird coincidence?"