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Third Annual Humour Awards Examples:

1. See The Individual Nomination For Dr. Paddy Smith, Winner Of 2006 Individual Category

2. See The Organization Nomination For Laughing Bean Cafe, Winner Of 2006 Organization Under 50 People Category

3. See The Organization Nomination For Rocky Mountaineer Vacations, Winner Of 2006 Organization Over 100 People Category

Second Annual Humour Awards Examples:

1. See The Individual Nomination For Lorna Anderson, Winner Of 2005 Individual Category

2. See The Organization Nomination For Vancity Credit Union, Winner Of 2005 Organization Over 50 People Category

3. See The Organization Nomination For 1-800-Got-Junk?, Winner Of 2005 Organization Under 50 People Category

First Annual Humour Awards Examples:

1. See The Individual Nomination For Nash Dhalla, Winner Of 2004 Individual Category

2. See The Organization Nomination For Acl, Winner Of 2004 Organization Over 50 People Category
3. See The Organization Nomination For Destinations, Winner Of 2004 Organization Under 50 People Category


Third Annual Humour Awards

Individual Nomination For Dr. Paddy Smith, Winner Of 2006 Individual Category

Challenge: To educate university students

Answer: Professor Smith uses humour generally to take what might otherwise be considered rather dry political science topics and turn them into fun interesting learning experiences. His self-deprecating sense of humour is legendary amongst political science students and alumni.

Further examples of humour: Prof. Smith holds an award every year for the student with the most creative solution for a missed paper deadlines. He invariably wears his (in)famous red high tops with suits (or more recently) or bermuda shorts.
His use of humorous anecdotes keeps his students interested in whatever topics might be studied that day.

Results: Prof. Smith, and the material he teaches, is rarely forgotten by his students, no matter how far removed from their university days.

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Organization Nomination For Laughing Bean Cafe, Winner Of 2006 Organization Over 50 People Category

Challenge: The traffic on this part of East Hastings is hugely loud, big trucks roll by. Although there’s many stores for shopping etc., it feels more like a freeway area. It’s difficult to hear people or make friendly conversation. The Laughing Bean is a great, cozy, friendly neighbourhood meeting ground. As soon as it opened, the cafe became home to many – stroller moms, students, firefighters, many people from the neighbourhood. When the 2nd Starbucks opened on this 6-block stretch between Nanaimo and Renfrew, I was scared for the fate of the Laughing Bean. Could it stay alive and compete against corporate java?

Answer: The Laughing Bean has fantastic staff. They always converse with the customers and get up to antics. The owners have 3 wooden life-sized dummies (Papa, Mama, and Child). In the summer everyday, these wooden people are set out in different clothes and positions.

It’s like a mimed, laugh of the day!

The week that the 2nd Starbucks opened, I went to check out the Bean. All the baristas/baristos were abuzz but something was different. They were acting a bit robot-like and definitely hyper-efficient. When I got to the head of the line I could see that the staff were each wearing a different colour of pipe-cleaner bent into the shape of headsets. they were acting as if they were only talking to each other and putting in orders through the headsets. the barista who took my order was really funny with her cordiality and ultra-sugary appreciation of customers. too much!
then she told me the new starbux had opened and they were trying to compete and so elevated themselves to higher technological efficiency. too hilarious!

Results: They won themselves a true fan and kept this customer and many others! the place was packed like jam and continues to be ‘The’ spot on this stretch of East Hastings!

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Organization Nomination For Rocky Mountaineer Vacations, Winner Of 2006 Organization Under 50 People Category

In 2005 Rocky Mountaineer Vacations (RMV) experienced exponential growth. The acquisition of the Thompson Hotel in Kamloops, BC, the acquisition of 3 Gray Line franchises (Victoria, Vancouver, and Banff) in early 2005, literally double the number of employees, overnight!

The RMV, a small organization, rich in internal traditions where each employee knew a little something about one another and greeted each other by first name, had suddenly become a large and geographically disperse – (do we dare label it!) – organization!

With the growth, employees were “getting to know more and more about less and less” and it became critically important for the executive team to step up to the challenge of ensuring the cultural tradition of an approachable, friendly, spontaneous and creative work environment was maintained at all levels.

In order to overcome this challenge, the executive team renewed their commitment to ensuring the employees are kept abreast of company news and at the same time preserving the fun, easy and approachable working relationship with the executive team.

Course of action:

The monthly staff meeting is one of the communication tools in which the executive team gives an update on what is happening in the company. All employees are encouraged to attend. One never knows what will happen…

In keeping with the sprit of the culture of ensuring RMV as a fun place to work, the executive team regularly competes for the greatest volume of hysterical laughs, giggles, and chuckles.

For example, in December 2005 at a staff meeting, an update was given about our newest dinner show, the Great Canadian Lumberjack show. The lumberjacks attended our staff meeting to generously give us a sneak preview. The executive teams jumped at this opportunity to demonstrate their true sportsmanship and to show off their logger sport skills. Peter Casement, Vice President, Operations and Graham Gilley, Vice President of Marketing & Communications took the challenge and competed against one another for RMV logger of the year award.

The annual 2005 Summer Picnic was a big event. One of the activities was the Tricky Sticky Obstacle Course. (Note: Velcro suits combined with eth company president competing against the Chief Operation Officer, was destined to be a hilarious highlight in our end of season video). Our President & CEO, Peter Armstrong and Exec. Vice President, James Terry competed against each other, for bragging rights, through the obstacle course. Little did Peter know, James had some help from someone (who didn’t want to be identified) on how to beat his Boss for the right to brag!


The challenge of ensuring effective communication on issues of importance relative to the business is handled in a humorous and lighthearted way that upholds the strong tradition of having fun at work and being a great place to work.

Staff meetings and employee events such as the summer picnic are some of the most “talked about” events, not only about the antics involved but most importantly, the message delivered!

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Second Annual Humour Awards

Individual Nomination For Lorna Anderson, Winner Of 2005 Individual Category

Answer: Lorna wrote a skit where the boss was “The Donald”, gave him a hairpiece, the whole razzle dazzle thing as the reality tv show …in the skit he was firing her because she had shredded all of her files – she wrote a poem, had a shredder as a prop in front of audience demonstrating her way to get time management under control and she wrote a song including people’s names in the office and had co-workers participating in the skit.

Results: Christmas was a hit for everyone in the office no matter that there was no budget.

Lorna will be able to expand on this herself. She has a million stories to tell about how she has shown her co-workers, whose jobs (essentially taking care of the legal duties required to bury people and probate the estates of the John and Jane Doe’s of Vancouver … a rather dark subject) how to make their workplace into a lively, fun and happy place to work.

Lorna’s Poem:

Award Winner Checking In…

Holy Moley

Oh What a Night

The Program you organized

Was a true delight

I waited all weekend

For the Cinderella Ball

In my moment of stardom

I suffered a fall

“It’s Stand Up Comedy!!

Can’t she read the Sign

Anderson vs Yuk Yuks

No folks, she’s up and she’s fine!”

Thank you everyone

at RPS

I had no idea I’d win

Not even a guess

Yesterday was a day

That I’ll never forget

I am flaunting my trophy

And its not over yet

Cheers from my fans

Friends and Family Too

I just heard my Chicken

Do a Cockadoodledoo.

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Organization Nomination For Vancity, Winner Of 2005 Organization Over 50 People Category

Challenge: Vancity’s Public Affairs department was approached by CBC TV last spring to participate in a special edition of the show “Venture” called “The Big Switcheroo”. The premise of the show involved the CEO taking on a number of junior jobs (teller, call centre, cleaning graffiti off the side of a branch, sales, mailroom) within the company while a junior employee took on the head honcho role for three days. It sounded like a sweet opportunity – for national publicity and fun and culture building in the organization. The challenge was how to allow all 1,600 employees to share in the fun of the “experiment” and feel part of the experience.

Answer: The Public Affairs and Corporate Communications department came up with the idea of documenting the experience during filming and writing up each day’s news “reporter style” and posting it overnight on the corporate Intranet with photos. The “CEO Switch Chronicles” was written in a hilariously funny and tongue-in-cheek style that created a buzz among staff that people still talk about to this day. The “Chronicles” focused on what the CEO was messing up (who can’t relate to that?) and the challenges the junior CEO experience as she struggled with the long hours and weighty responsibilities of leading a $10 billion company.

Results: The “CEO Switch Chronicles” are now part of Vancity lore as one of the most well read Intranet items in the history of the company and certainly for 2004 with more than 1,000 hits a day. News of the Chronicles spread throughout the company to the point that everyone seemed to know where the CEO was during the filming, what jobs he had botched up and what grunt work was planned for him for that day. Employees still mention the Chronicles when discussing their favourite communications over the years. Although more than 60 employees applied to switch jobs with the CEO Only one person could be chosen, but the Chronicles made everyone feel part of the experience and helped strengthen the strong reputation of the CEO as someone willing to put himself out there – not only trying different jobs, but allowing someone else to step into his giant leather chair.

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Organization Nomination For 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, Winner Of 2005 Organization Under 50 People Category

Challenge: Maintaining good franchisor/Franchisee relations within our North American Wide Franchise Family. In a time where relationships are crucial to growing businesses, Christopher Bennett enables us to bridge the gap between our Franchise Partners with his sense of humor. In tense meetings or situations, he always has a joke ready and a wisecrack to break the tension. He is our PR/Media Manager and everyone knows him as “High Gloss”. He is one of the funniest guys you’ll ever meet.

Brian is the President & CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? The challenge is that the company is literally in hypergrowth mode. We have a large group of high pressure overperformer employees that are pouring so much passion into building this company that they can begin to take criticism personally. Brian has this unbelievable way of coming into a high pressure situations with a calm voice and just throwing out something silly or foolish. It doesn’t really have to be something specific. This is a real skill he has.

Answer: As the MC/Host of the largest ever 1-800-GOT-JUNK? annual conference, Christopher took the opportunity to roast the COO of the company in a legendary fashion. (I can email you a digital copy if you’d like!) Famous for his “man on the street” video skits, High Gloss (his company nickname for being high energy and hilarious) loves to show the lighter side of our brand, by interviewing people in an annual skit he does called “Behind close doors with HG” He had over 300 people laughing out loud for 25 minutes. Christopher managed to score an interview with the commissioner of economic development for the state of California, and had a hilarious interview poking fun and teasing him about California. It was a real hoot for everyone who got to see it. He is also in the process of entering a dance contest for the Ellen Degeneres show, we’re sure will have everyone laughing.

Brian chooses times when the pressure is high to simply joke around. It breaks the ice and helps people to stop for a moment and not take themselves so seriously.

Results: Christopher “High Gloss” Bennett is the hilarious backbone of our organization, and keeps everyone rolling in their seats with laughter. He hosted the largest ever 1-800-GOT-JUNK? conference at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver, and the “Oscars” awards Gala as well(our annual awards ceremony recognizing excellence). The results are always smiles, and everyone telling us how Christopher made the evening great. He truly deserves this award. You should call it the Christopher Bennett “Funny Boy” award! Christopher takes the corporate feel out of our office environment and always has a joke ready to brighten someone’s day. We hope you’ll consider him for this award.

Employees stop taking themselves so seriously and then regroup to get the uncompleted tasks done. It keeps the atmosphere positive and creates a better office culture when the President is willing to just joke around with staff.

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First Annual Humour Awards

Individual Nomination For Nash Dhalla, Winner Of 2004 Individual Category

Challenge: We as an organization coordinate the TB program in the downtown core. TB rates are the highest in the world right down in the inner core. it is our task to screen people down there to contain the disease. It requires giving skin tests using a needle and x-rays. Our client are located in the Portland hotel housing which houses those who are unable to be housed anywhere else due to behaviour problems and drug addiction. We often go in and do the whole building. They are mostly attention deficit folks who can become very agitated in most situations which they are asked to participate especially when they are in a group.

Answer: Nash does this time and time again. She has a presence that draws you and them in taking them out of their own preoccupation with themselves. She is a natural comic who utilizes whatever is going on at the time. She will often use me as an object to make fun to elevate herself. She will also engage other staff members who are helping out. She does it in a manner where you feel part of the process and are helping to ease the situation again. She can transform a very stressful situation into one where everyone actually feels part of the process and good about themselves.

How: She is the funny stuff. She uses her body movements and voice that takes over. It really is magical when she is on a roll.

Results: The success rate we have in screening downtown clients and managing their disease is about 80% compared to the rest of the province which is less than 50%. She has a reputation in the downtown core which makes the community very accessible to use in carrying out our responsibilities. Trust me you would not regret for one minute picking her to acknowledge. There is an absolute plethora of professionals down here who would concur with me.

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Organization Nomination For Acl, Winner Of 2004 Organization Over 50 People Category

Challenge: Our company had been growing at a steady pace and, recently, we moved to a new building where our offices are spread out over three floors (and counting!). We had gotten to that point where employees were only on a first name basis with other people on their floor – and some only within their department.

Answer: It all started in our weekly newsletter with a comparison of an employee who resembled a popular sitcom character. We ran their photo and the actor’s photo side by side and it created a quote “snowball effect”; The next thing we knew, submissions were coming in from every department.

How: We ended up creating a page on the company intranet for all the “celebrity look alike”; submissions we kept receiving. At first there were just a handful but, at last count, there were over 40 – that’s almost 25% of the company!

Results: The readership of the weekly newsletter has increased, as well as submissions to both the newsletter and the intranet. We’ve managed to preserve our small company, community atmosphere throughout all the changes of growing and moving into a new environment.

We feel that “Separated at Birth” and other things like it, have definitely played a big part. It not only gives all our employees a chance to put names to the faces they’re not familiar with but it also puts everyone on the same level, in a sense, instead of just associating people with their spot on the organizational chart or where they fit in their department’s hierarchy.

Most of all, it’s given expression to two of our company’s most fundamental values, which are also two of the qualities that make this one of best places to work; Enthusiasm and a Sense of Humor.

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Organization Nomination For Destinations, Winner Of 2004 Organization Under 50 People Category

The Challenge: Since it was founded in 1994, Destinations (www.destinations.ca) struggled to effectively communicate with the Ministry of Human Resources to explain the programs and attract referrals.(JP contract began Jan 1st, 2000. That was really the beginning of the referral challenge!) Newsletters and other communications tactics (attending Ministry team meetings) hadn’t really worked to properly inform Ministry staff include employment and assistance workers who would directly refer their cases.

The Solution: A humorous play written and performed by Destinations staff (along with people from “JobWave” and the Ministry of HR) two summers ago. In all, 300 Ministry workers saw the play performed at a theatre on Granville Island. The theme of the play was the evolution of job-placement program and procedure told through a story about cavemen (MHR employee) without the tools to evolve (or effective client services). At the end of the 40-minute presentation, there was a direct Q&A and a Jeopardy-style trivia game.

The Results: Referrals doubled instantly. Destinations learned that creative communications assist in helping business. Business today is up.

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The Small Print

Rock.Paper.Scissors, the organizers of the Third Annual Humour in the Workplace Awards and event sponsors are not responsible for the loss or damage of contest entries. Proposals will not be returned to proponents and will remain the property of the event organizers until they are destroyed. Event organizers may award the Humour in the Workplace Award to the applicant it finds most suitable. Event organizers may determine not to give out a Humour in the Workplace Award if there is not a suitable entry. Entrants agree to participate in media arranged for the event. Event organizers respect the privacy of entries and agree not to misuse or share information in proposals with other organizations. Prizes cannot be substituted or traded.

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