The Humor and Life, in Particular Web site
author:  Margie Culbertson

October/November 2007 Humor Writing Contest winner
Best Short Humor!

Funny Business


Brian C. Mullen

As CEO (Chief Entertaining Officer) of Funny Business, Inc. it is both my contractual obligation and my privilege to provide each of you valuable employees our fiscal year status. It has been another record year in the Funny Business and each of you should be proud of what you have helped accomplish. While I cannot say with complete honesty that we completed all our goals and objectives, I have been advised by our legal department that I can phrase it in the following way:  I'd like to say, "We completed all our goals and objectives."


I am pleased to announce that for the eighth consecutive year our company has been more fun than "A Barrel of Monkeys," our leading competitor. The Funny Index Rate (FIR) has grown steadily in our industry reaching a maximum average of 4.5 this year. A Barrel of Monkeys had a stellar year with a FIR of 5.2. However, Funny Business reached an all new record high of 5.6. Our other benchmark companies, including But Seriously, each dwindled in the economic downturn and were considered by their customers to be amusing at best. In fact, the But Seriously folks were barely able to maintain their place as one of the "Top Five Humor–Mongers" as shown below.

funny business bar graph


As you are most likely aware, each year the company sets objectives which we then strive to reach or exceed. This accomplishes two things. First, it improves the company in very tangible ways whenever we succeed. Second, it provides me with scapegoats to fire whenever we do not. It's a win–win situation for those of us who have complete control over this organization. But I digress, at least according to my wife. Let us review the objectives we set last year.

1. Smite the enemy but good.

This was actually accomplished early in the year which left us plenty of gloating time.

2. Expand the company into new, previously less funny areas.

The firm gained some serious lack of seriousness when we acquired Parody Enterprises, a casualty from the side–splitting of Buffoonery Conglomerates early last year. Not only did we acquire the business, but we also snagged the VP of Flippancy and Jocularity, Tom Foolery, who helped with the smooth integration of Parody Enterprises into our organization. The announcement of the acquisition itself caused our Laughing Stock to rise nearly twenty points.

Meanwhile, our Research and Unwanted Development Department investigated the widely–accepted belief that laughter is contagious. Though no evidence to support this was uncovered, our team did find evidence that puns are addictive. Thus we commissioned the development, refinement and subsequent distribution of a new product:  Wise–Crack Cocaine. Our profits, and our customers, have never been higher.

Marketing also largely contributed to our success. By matching out–of–work comedy writers with funeral homes, we have successfully tapped into the "witty eulogy" market. Sales of our "gag surgical implements" reached an all–time high. And our humorous book series entitled, "Invaluable Translation Guides for Diplomats" exceeded all sales expectations when literally thousands of sets were recently purchased by the United Nations.

Of course, company profits did temporarily decrease when much of our expensive humor was illegally made available for free download on the Internet from a site known as "Prank–ster." Fortunately this was short lived.

Our Legal Department provided an invaluable service when they successfully defended our company from a frivolous lawsuit from customers alleging unethical behavior and bodily violations in our quarterly Inspirational Stories Magazine. The customers alleged that our stories "touched them in a very personal way" often while they were sleeping.

In addition, the company expanded into a new, previously less funny area when we opened up a branch office in Passaic, New Jersey.

3. Find out why our employees keep dying and, if economically feasible, stop it.

Last year we noticed a sharp increase in the number of employee deaths. Our Statistics Department compared our Employee Death Rate (56) to our industry average (0). While many of us felt this was just another area where our employees exhibited above average skills, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration felt some type of investigation and remedy was warranted.

After getting approval from our Acronym Department, the Regiment for Evaluating and Analyzing Perished Employee Reasons (REAPER) set about their grim task. They reviewed death certificates, performed autopsies, exhumed corpses, interviewed former loved ones and closely monitored employees whom we felt were most likely to die soon like Molly in Shipping. Summarized below is what they learned.

funny business bar graph
We took action immediately by hiring wolf hunters to patrol our properties. However, this effort was not lauded by governmental officials as being sufficient. Thus we took even further action.

Two years ago, fully embracing the mantra "Laughter is the best medicine," we had cancelled all employee medical and health benefits and, instead, obtained annual memberships for all employees to the comedy club of their choice. In retrospect, and in light of the findings of REAPER, this may not have been the most prudent of actions. Therefore I am pleased to reinstate all previously cancelled medical coverage effective immediately.

4. Identify and eliminate problem areas through empowered task forces.

A number of committees were appointed in the last year in order to help us become more competitive. Below are highlights of their accomplishments.
*In March, our "Finding Humor In The Workplace Committee" reported with finality that it was, in fact, in the Boiler Room.
*Our "Committee To Assess Complacency" determined that, compared to our competitors, our complacency was at about 45% and they all agreed that that was probably good enough.
*The Time Management Improvement Task Force completed their facility–wide assessment, albeit three months later than planned.
*In order to better serve our company, the "Redundancy Elimination Committee" split into two groups having identical objectives.
*Funny Business held its first employee Anti–Nepotism rally but attendance was low because it conflicted with the Miller Family Reunion.
*After seven months the Director of our Team Building Task Force was able to find a complement of people who would work with him.
*The "Downsizing Committee" was fired.

But I would be doing you a disservice if I claimed that last year was nothing but successes. Here are a few of the obstacles that we faced in the previous year.
*Our "Team For Determining Competitive Wages" left for higher paying jobs.
*Our computer network shut down for nearly three weeks because the Director of Information Management couldn't remember his password.
*The "Initiative for Extending Project Longevity" lost its momentum early in the year.
*Our Improved Communications initiative was cancelled after it was learned that the coordinator didn't speak English.
*The Management of Change Task Force refused to meet when their preferred conference room had been closed for renovations.
*The Organizational Skills speaker arrived an hour and a half late and brought the wrong presentation.


Funny Business had an unusually high amount of tragedies in the past year also. Among these were: 
*Our Conflict Resolution seminar ended in gunplay.
*Part of the Corporate Headquarters incurred fire damage when Stress Management Workshop participants burned a likeness of me in effigy.
*Four members of our Forecasting Division suffered severe dehydration after their retreat van unexpectedly ran out of gas in the desert.
*And of course I needn't remind you of the terrible loss to Funny Business when the "Team for Improving Disaster Planning" were tragically eaten by wolves.


I am pleased to announce some new benefits and activities that will be implemented in the coming months to make Funny Business a better place to work.
*We are instituting an aggressive Affirmative Action program with the overall goal of a 20% increase in dark comedy, blue material and she–nanigans.
*Our Health Care Plan is being expanded to cover broken funny bones, pulled legs, rib–tickling, and side–splitting.
*The company will completely reimburse all phone charges, up to 10 weekly hours per employee, for calls made to the Psychic Friends Network as part of our Prophet Sharing Plan.

In conclusion, let me reiterate that you, the employees, are at the heart of this organization. You, as a group, have continually been included in the company's list of Top Ten Valuable Assets since this company's inception and, in the last five months, the Laughing Stock Holders have voiced no desire to have you all fired. Your tireless efforts, and cars, do not go unnoticed or unappreciated. I'd like to remind you of the recent Thank You card sent by one of our executives after your hard work helped him buy a second yacht. That is employee recognition at its finest. On a personal note, I look forward to seeing pictures of each and every one of you from the mandatory Annual Company Picnic this February which will be held in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada. Now get back to work.

© Brian C. Mullen

About the Author: 
Brian C. Mullen is a hopeful, multi–genre writer living in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has one non–fiction book in the editing phase of publication and two novellas (one dramatic thriller and one mystery–parody) in publication contests. A finalist (top 10 of 400 entries) in The Writing Fairy's 2006 humor writing contest, Brian is able to find humor most everywhere. Brian's current entry, "Funny Business," was inspired by a previous company's annual business statement. He is a member of Pennwriters and the Pittsburgh chapter of Sisters In Crime where he contributes to their mystery writer's blog "Working Stiffs" Clicking HERE.

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©Margie Culbertson

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