Ever have someone react badly to your amusing anecdotes?

This happened to one of my cousins. We’re from Spain; he was spending the summer in the USA, working in a summer camp. One rainy night, people were telling jokes. The foreigners were asked to tell jokes from their own country.

The joke my cousin started telling involved a government worker and a shepherd; the bureaucrat is asking the shepherd some questions about the sheep, and the shepherd responds every question with “the white sheep or the black sheep?”

Apparently knowing that there are white sheep and black sheep is racist, according to some of the people there. Our guess is that the people in question have never seen a sheep, be she white, black or blackface.

In Spain, when you’re changing the subject to something completely unrelated, you say “aprovechando que el Pisuerga pasa por Valladolid…” “and by the way, since the Pisuerga River goes through Valladolid…” There’s people who use Pucela (the Latin name of Valladolid) or elaborate variations of the line (“since the Pisuerga goes through, not besides, the beautiful city of Pucela, capital of Castilla-León but not of Castilla-La Mancha…”).

Lately the expression has become abbreviated to “y haciendo un Pisuerga…” “and performing a Pisuerga…”

What’s the geography of Valladolid and her river got anything to do with whatever will be said? Nothing at all, but then, whatever is going to be said is completely unrelated to whichever came before.

Auntie Myrna and the Blue Goo.
Sorry, but there has to be a bit of backstory…

It is Christmas, and my Dad’s aunt Myrna is a rather self rightous, woman who never had children of her own, and manipulates everyone by threatening to leave her money to other nieces and nephews. So anyway every Christmas, (Thanksgiving, Ground Hog day, whatever, dinner) Auntie Myrna brings over a horrible Cassarole of Doom to add to the festive dishes. She cannot cook. Her favourite that year was some monstrosity with frozen hashbrowns, cream cheese, and frozen vegetables. Maybe some canned soup over it. I am blocking that memory and that cassarole is the main reason I will never undergo hypnosis, nor dabble in pyschotropic drugs.

Dad brings Auntie in (he went to get her, and his mother) just as mom and I are putting our frantic touches on Christmas dinner. The turkey, for some reason, collapses into a heap of bones, the gravy won’t thicken, the salad is still not made, and … well you get the idea. Dad brings Grandma and Myrna in through the kitchen while we are struggling and sweating. “Gary, bring them into the living room!” Mom hisses through clenched teeth. I take the turkey downstairs, slice it and make a platter (because there will be no carving of this bird) while mom tries to tame the gravy. Somewhere along the line the Cassarole of Doom ends up in the oven. (to warm up) Eventually, dinner saved everything ready, Mom and I can face the world and the elderly sniping siblings in the next room. Except, what’s that smell?

Its The Cassarole of Doom. Nicely heated in the oven, with the blue plastic seal lid, melted and dripping, it was now the Salvador Dali Cassarole of Doom. On the food, down the sides of the dish, onto the burner below. Mom let out a shriek, and I ran downstairs with the Salvador Dali Cassarole of Doom in my oven mitted hands.

And we looked at this…goo. This unappetizing cassarole with a garnish of polymers. And we laughed. We were howling. I had a spoon in my hand and I would lift the rubbermaid fondue and watch it string and ooze. What were we going to do?

We served it, of course. We scraped the blue goo off the top, and put it on the table. Myrna had a small helping, my mother and I put a bit on our plates pour la politess and no one else ate any anway. My brother and dad never touched cassarole, my grandmother was in a snit with Myrna and refused to eat it. My mother and I could not look at each other all dinner, and to this day, 1o or more years later… “Remember the Cassarole? From Dali’s blue period?” can set ourselves giggling.

Now, there are people who get this story, and find it funny. Others, not so much:

“You mean your elderly great aunt comes for Christmas dinner and is nice enough to bring a cassarole, and then you make fun of it, sabotage it, serve it anyway and still mock her years later?”

Well, yes. But I mean that in the funny way.

I once told what I thought was the mildest of Irish jokes at work:

Q: What’s Irish and stays out in the rain a lot?

A: Patio Furniture

And I was reported to HR for telling ethnic jokes and given a talking-to. This was in 1984.

I’m currently studying as a mature student, and I’m constantly whooshing the undergrads (sounds more fun than it is :))

A couple trivial examples.

I was at a student venue and met a guy who turned out to be from the local “rival” university. I said “Uh-oh! We can’t be seen talking!”. To which he replied “Geez, don’t take the rivalry thing so seriously…”.

I was at a small event, specifically for people on my course. There was a girl trying to get people to subscribe to a magazine, and you’d get your first copy right now if you subscribe.
So I said “So I can put down a fake name, and just get a free copy of the magazine?”. She stood there horrified, I stood there with a big grin, for about 4 seconds (count it in your head) before she twigged I wasn’t being absolutely serious.

Oops, just realised my post isn’t quite on topic :smack:

That’s OK, gramps, the undergrads have learned to humor you.

Oh, you guys do make me laugh sometimes.

Wow, weird. I was going to say that the kid had a pretty edgy sense of humor for a five year old. How old would he be about now, anyway?

I think it was last year at “Friendsgiving” (the annual gathering of friends on the Friday after Thanksgiving) where there was nearly an altercation over an amusing anecdote. We’re mostly a group of atheists, but one of our friends, “Natasha,” has grown increasingly wacky-religious over the years. Attending Friendsgiving was a friend of another friend, we’ll call her New Girl, who did not know Natasha and her propensity to be offended.

New Girl started telling a light-hearted anecdote in which she and two friends had dressed up as a priest and two nuns and gone around to bars ordering drinks. This riled up Natasha, who started berating New Girl for being blasphemous and defaming the reputation of Catholics everywhere. It caused the Awkward to descend upon the party. Everyone suddenly decided that this conversation was Not Happening and changed the subject.

I once had someone react to what I thought was an amusing anecdote by vomiting. I think that’s probably about the worst reaction you can get.

I should add though, in case I came across as condescending: I didn’t mean I whoosh people deliberately.
I just mean that my light-heartedness is often taken seriously by the young uns…

…or perhaps they are whooshing me :eek:

When I was a senior in high school, I had a part time job at McDonald’s. One day, the dad of a set of kids I used to babysit came in with his boys.

“Oh, hey, phouka, I didn’t know you worked here,” he said.

“Yeah, but,” I answered, looking to the left and then the right, and then whispering, “but don’t tell my parents. They think I work at Dairy Queen.”

He got this part-horrified, part-awkward look on his face that I was lying to my parents about where I worked, and now he was party to it. Trying to explain the joke didn’t work very well.

I told a coworker about how the night before I had caught a mouse with simple ingenuity. I slowly stalked up on it, where it was sitting nonchalantly in front of my oven, with a trash can in my hands. Then -wham!- I brought the trash can down. The mouse ran, but not far enough for it to avoid getting its tail caught by the trash can. Then, using a glass jar with a miniature Snickers bar inside for bait, I lured him inside, lifted the trash can, and, voila, mouse caught. I felt like such a warrior woman. Coworker was horrified; I apparently killed Stuart Little.

The mouse was carrying ID? Wow, that’s an impressively advanced mouse!

I don’t know if it was a sense of humor so much as genuine concern. It was adorable!

That was probably in the early 90s, so he must be about 22 or 23 now.

I used to have a boyfriend that was decidedly lacking a sense of humour. I remember once saying to him "Come on, nobody was born in 1973!" (meaning how could a person be so young, this was many years ago) and he replied “Yes, they were. Of course they were. Lots of people were born in 1973. What’s the matter with you?”

To me, this happens most often with religion.

I was raised Baptist, I have a baptismal certificate, my old church is still standing today, and when I was young, we had tons of Bible books for children, so I can honestly say I’ve read the Bible many, many times, and many different versions as well.

However, as I got older, I eventually became more reasonable and logical, and figured out that there can’t be a God, and that God is just a system of beliefs to help people deal with adversity in their life. I took the agnostic view, and while I still believe there’s a higher power, I don’t believe it’s either intelligent nor benevolent.

So, I often use my large store of bible knowledge for humor, and it never goes over well. Here’s an example:

Co-worker (recent religious convert): You should come to my church.
Me: God has plenty of money! I gotta pay my credit card bill.
Her: It’s not about the money, it’s about God.
Me: Me and God are cool, besides I’ve read the Bible already.
Her: No, you have to go to church!
Me: I thought God was everywhere, why can’t I talk to him at home?
Her: Why are you so disrespectful towards religion?
Me: Probably because God will forgive me anyway if I repent, so it’s all good.

This is going to sound super immodest, but… c’est la vie: usually, and most especially when I’m in an “on” mood, I can be a kick-ass story teller, and the more people react the better I get. I totally get high on positive reinforcement and laughter so the more people like it the better I get. Everybody has their off-days of course but when I’m on- you’ll remember it.

So- a few years ago we had this new humorless boss who had been hired at the college where I worked. Nobody understood why the committee selected her, she gave no evidence of having any sort of personality, and the only thing she seemed to have the remotest interest in was looming (as in literally one of these- only thing not directly work related she seemed capable of discussing- though that she would discuss endlessly long after most people would have taken the “I don’t give a damn” cues- there’s only so long you can be polite as somebody drones on endlessly about how hard it is to find raw wool in a small Georgia town [who the hell would have thought it?]). She mocked southern culture in general and southern literature in particular, and while most places that is absolutely fine if you feel that way and in fact how often does either have to come up?), when you work in the library of a southern liberal arts college that is home to the archives of one of the most famous southern writers who isn’t Faulkner it’s a bad thing, and even worse when part of your job is fund-raising and soliciting community involvement, especially from people who don’t loom.

Anyway, it wasn’t a love connection from the get-go, but being hospitable people (referring here to the staff at that library) we wanted to welcome her anyway, had a dinner in her honor, invited her and her husband (who didn’t come), found and bought her some goddamned raw wool (which almost made her smile for a second) as a welcoming gift, and while she sat doing an imitation of Kathy Geissfrom 30 Rock except with really annoying big bottle job '80s hair. I started talking to friends and co-workers at another table, everybody was laughing, and it spreads to the “host” table and I’m asked to “come in here, whatever you’re talking about we’ve got to hear it”, so, per request, I do an encore.
Specifically it was a story I told here once about a time I stole money from my mother’s purse and got a bad spanking for it- that’s the lead in of the abstract, the story itself is a lot longer and especially in person where there are a lot more digressions and I’m acting out the characters and making some quite good if I say so myself ad libs- and generally speaking I’m killing. People are literally holding up their hands begging me to stop so they can catch their breath- I am on fire- people have spewed wine and tea, and this isn’t one of those “you have to be southern” things because a dean present was formerly a dean at Rutgers and a professor present is from NYC and a former boss who’s present (because she’s involved in some activities with that library) is a Russian Jewish-Catholic (converted in childhood)- they are all in hysterics.
Except for Kathy Geiss-Nichtfaulkner who is making what she thinks humans would call a polite smile-like expression.
So I finish the story, which involves a big punchline and an epilogue, and literally get a round of applause. Including from Geiss-Nichtfaulkner, who says mirthlessly

“So the story is about people finding child abuse funny?”

Que? Huh? Smote who? No no no…

“Well it involves corporal punishment… with a belt.”

I say, politely as possible, “Not corporal punishment so much as an ass-whoopin’, and it was my ass that got whooped, and quite frankly I deserved it.”

“Oh… maybe after I’ve been here for a while it will be more… amusing.”

A bald chemo patient reciting Thanatopsis at The Laugh Factory would not have killed the mood faster. Literally met with “check please” and “Ooh, look at the time” comments all around and in five minutes the place emtied and she went home and loomed some potholders or whatever the fuck she loomed when she loomed.

She lasted three years but I think she was about the only person in that room who was still there when she left. She made it by all accounts an infectiously joyless place, pissed off some of the community patrons, and left because she was denied tenure. She’s spreading loom and gloom elsewhere now.

That’s probably the worst reaction I’ve had.

My favorite story about a bad reaction to an amusing anecdote though is from one of my favorite drag queens, Miss Coco Peru, who is brilliant but she can be such a re-tard.
*Not a euphemism- I don’t use mind altering substances other than caffeine and occasional viewings of FoxNew

Mr K and I have been married for 13 years; he’s been ill all his life, and has developed that… odd sense of humor that people who have been told ‘you probably won’t live much past 18 or 20’ get. I’ve always had an odd sense of humor, so it was a decent pairing. I didn’t even complain too much when I came home to the wrecker service dropping off the recently-purchased hearse (specifically a 1972 Cadillac Miller Meteor station wagon, but yes- in service as a hearse until Mr K bought it).

When the results came back that officially diagnosed the CF, the doctors looked at Mr K with utterly straight, serious doctor faces and said ‘Sir, we don’t know why you’re still alive.’ (okay, to be fair, it is pretty shocking to come across a 48 year old undiagnosed CF patient)

I didn’t miss a beat. With an utterly straight, serious, concerned-spouse face, I said ‘Have you MET him? He’s too MEAN to die! He’s going to outlive all of us just to piss us off.

:: cricket cricket ::

Mr. K blew it by laughing hysterically. :smiley:

Now, I can’t fault the doctors for being a bit taken aback. They hadn’t had much interaction with the two of us together, so they couldn’t know that this was perfectly normal behavior on my part.

However, I can fault my ‘big boss’ (direct supervisor’s supervisor) who, on hearing me tell the story to a coworker, laid into me for being uncaring in my husband’s time of greatest need- he’d just been handed a terminal diagnosis, and I was MAKING JOKES. I was a HORRIBLE PERSON.

Umm, dumbass? He’d been told ALL HIS LIFE he was going to die really, really soon. Like, a couple of years soon. He made it HIS JOB to prove the doctors wrong. Also? We’re married; you haven’t even met him. I think I have a better handle on whether or not he’ll appreciate my humor. :rolleyes:

Not me, but a friend: I told her a joke at work that went, “How do you tell a really good lawyer? He can get a charge of sodomy reduced to ‘following too closely’.” She thought it was very funny, and told it later that day to a steady customer whom we were all quite friendly with. He just stared at her, and finally said, “You know I’m a psychologist, right? You know I work with abused children? Well, I don’t think that joke is very funny at all.” She was mortified, but I figured the guy was overreacting.