Jennifer Aaker & Naomi Bagdonas || How Humor Can Save The World

February 11, 2021

Today it’s great to chat with Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas on the podcast. Dr. Jennifer Aaker is the General Atlantic Professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a leading expert on how purpose and meaning shape individual choices and how technology can positively impact both human well-being and company growth. Her work has been widely published in lead in scientific journals and featured in The Economist, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, and Science. A recipient of the Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award and the MBA Professor of the Year, Aaker counts winning a dance-off in the early 1980s among her greatest feats.

Naomi Bagdonas is a Lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and an Executive Coach. She helps leaders be more creative, flexible and resilient in the face of change by facilitating interactive sessions for Fortune 100 companies and coaching executives and celebrities for appearances ranging from Saturday Night Live to the Today Show. Formally trained at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, Bagdonas performs at comedy venues and teaches improv in San Francisco’s county jail. Her constant stream of foster dogs describe her as gullible and full of treats.


    • [3:15] Why the world needs more humor
    • [6:06] Humor at the expense of others/4 styles of humor
    • [8:49] Origin story of “Humor, Seriously”
    • [12:51] The bottom-line value of humor
    • [18:19] How to infuse humor in the workplace
    • [22:05] Jennifer’s thoughts on humorlessness
    • [24:58] Cultivating the comedian’s toolbox
    • [28:30] How to create your own signature joke
    • [30:17] Scott and Naomi’s experiences at Upright Citizen’s Brigade
    • [34:11] The link between humor and mental health
    • [37:45] The relationship between status and humor
    • [42:17] The value of self-deprecating humor
    • [44:10] The importance of context in humor
    • [50:22] One of Jennifer’s pranks on her students
    • [51:21] Biological vs cultural dimensions of humor
    • [54:58] How humor reflects elements of our society
    • [58:27] Should there be moral rules for comedy?
    • [1:03:13] Why truth and misdirection are at the core of comedy

Jennifer and Naomi created a terrific virtual coaching tool that’s delivered right to your phone. You can get some of what they teach at Stanford without the Stanford tuition. They’re offering it at 50% off to exclusive to you all! Just go to bootcamp.humorseriously.com and use the code SBK50.



3 Responses to “Jennifer Aaker & Naomi Bagdonas || How Humor Can Save The World”

  1. Bryn says:

    This was a good one Scott. Funny how easy it is to forget, but also remember, to be funny. Thanks Jennifer and Naomi.

  2. Michael says:

    I agree with Bryn! I totally enjoyed this episode. It provided me with the hope that I might be able to learn how to be a bit more humorous. I say a bit more, but I’m starting with little to speak of. I am looking forward to reading their book and hope to inject humor into both my personal and work life. Hopefully, afterward, my students and colleagues might laugh more. Out of curiosity, Scott, would you recommend the book or course first?

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