Make us your home page
Instagram
Working | Stress

Online humor videos can help vent workplace steam

LOS ANGELES — In the eight years Krista Lang Blackwood has been artistic director of a nonprofit choral group, she has heard it all: prospective donors asking again and again why they can't get comped concert tickets, or why money should go to singers when there are starving children in Africa. • It was getting a little frustrating.

Instead of venting to friends, she chose to make a video about the situation — an animated one in which cute teddy bears speak dialogue like emotionless robots.

She used Xtranormal video to creatively crab about work-related annoyances: obnoxious customers, entitled noobs, oblivious bosses and dim co-workers.

People in all professions are posting their Xtranormal videos on the company's site or YouTube, and some of these are racking up more than 100,000 hits.

Psychologists say this can be a healthy way to deal with stress — but only if the video producers remember to keep humor at the forefront and the venom tamped down, and that what gets posted on the Internet stays on the Internet.

Even technophobes can make an Xtranormal video in a couple of hours by logging on at the site (xtranormal.com), typing in dialogue and choosing a few "camera" angles to create their own videos using the company's pre-designed moveable characters. Filmmakers can choose from robots, historical figures, cute animals, people and other creatures who speak in flat, automated voices.

The videos are peppered with zingers, slick retorts, pregnant pauses and copious swear words. They're often more creative and funny than most job-related tirades on sites such as Workrant and Jobitorial. Some are conversations you wish you'd had yourself.

In Radiology vs ER, a doctor demands a CT scan of "everything" in a patient's abdomen; when asked where the pain is located, the doctor replies "in the abdomen" and "everywhere" and again demands that "everything" be checked.

In an episode of Adventures in Freelancing, the editor at a glossy women's magazine tells a reporter that her article — handed in six weeks earlier — "needs work" because "the reporting is stale," and is now to be on an entirely different topic, with the rewrite due the next day.

Posting videos like these may be a good way to let off some steam and can serve a positive purpose, said David Ballard, head of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program.

"If you do it to remove the barriers so people can see the absurdity of the situation, and if it's not overly hostile or aggressive, then it can open up a conversation," he said.

But, he added, "When humor is used to berate another individual, it serves to further divide people — and creates additional problems and conflicts, especially when it promotes discrimination or stereotypes."

Online humor videos can help vent workplace steam 05/02/11 [Last modified: Monday, May 2, 2011 5:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Los Angeles Times.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Despite Hurricane Irma, Hillsborough remains on pace to unlock hotel tax that could pay for Rays ballpark

    Tourism

    TAMPA — Despite the threat of a catastrophic storm, it was business as usual at many Hillsborough County hotels in the days before Hurricane Irma bore down on the Tampa Bay region.

    The Grand Hyatt near TIA closed during Hurricane Irma, but many other Hillsborough hotels were open and saw an influx.
  2. New Graham-Cassidy health care plan stumbles under opposition from governors

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — The suddenly resurgent Republican effort to undo the Affordable Care Act was dealt a blow on Tuesday when a bipartisan group of governors came out against a proposal gaining steam in the Senate.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., joined by, from left, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., speaks to reporters as he pushes a last-ditch effort to uproot former President Barack Obama's health care law, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. To win, 50 of the 52 GOP senators must back it -- a margin they failed to reach when the chamber rejected the effort in July. [/J. Scott Applewhite | Associated Press]
  3. Early estimates peg Hurricane Irma damage at as much as $65B

    Banking

    The damage totals from Hurricane Irma are still being tallied, but early numbers are in: As of Tuesday, the storm is estimated to have caused between $42.5 billion and $65 billion of damage. That's according to a Tuesday release by Irvine, Calif.-based analytics company CoreLogic.

    Hurricane Irma is estimated to have caused up to $65 billion in damage, said analytics company CoreLogic. Pictured is 
Hermilo Munoz Castillo as wades down a flooded street to check on his home in southern Collier County, Fla. after Hurricane Irma passed. | [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  4. Port Tampa Bay makes public/private commitment for $60 million expansion project

    Business

    TAMPA — Port Tampa Bay approved a public-private partnership agreement with four other entities to divvy up who will pay for a $60 million widening and extension of the Big Bend Channel.

    Port Tampa Bay approved a participation agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Florida Department of Transportation, Tampa Electric Company and Mosaic Company at the port's monthly board meeting on  Tuesday. Port Tampa Bay President & CEO Paul Anderson signs the agreement as Ram Kancharla; Port Tampa Bay's vice president of planning & development, Brandon Burch; project manager at United States Army Corps of Engineers, Lois Moore; of Alcalde and Fay and Charles Klug; Port Tampa Bay principal counsel, and Tim Murphy; deputy district engineer of the Army Corps., looks on. [Company handout]
  5. One of St. Petersburg's newest condo projects is sold out

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — Reflecting the continued demand for condos in downtown St. Petersburg, The Salvador, completed earlier this year at 199 Dali Blvd., has sold out. Records show that a 2-bedroom, 2-bath unit sold Friday for $620,000 in an all-cash deal. Two other units — a 3-bedroom, 2-bath penthouse and a …

     Reflecting the continued demand for condos in downtown St. Petersburg, The Salvador, completed earlier this year at 199 Dali Blvd., has sold out. 
[Rendering courtesy of aalliiggnn LLC]