The Power of LOL: Panel at N.J. Municipal Convention Explores Humor in Government

By Erin O’Neill
November 18, 2014

ATLANTIC CITY — Humor can help move the gears of government. That’s the message a panel that included Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Union) today brought to a packed room of local officials at the Atlantic City Convention Center during a session named “The Power of LOL: Using Humor to Solve Municipal Issues” at the 99th annual New Jersey League of Municipalities convention.

Bramnick — who also does stand-up comedy — delivered a series of jokes during the panel, saying he saw the parking director for Hoboken in the crowd.

“I can’t imagine what he does,” Bramnick said, because “there’s no parking in Hoboken.”

Bramnick then introduced a series of “laws” he would like enacted, which included:

• The Gas Station Attendant Act: “If you’re working in a gas station, pumping gas, you have to know directions to at least one place in the state of New Jersey.”

• The Telephone Voicemail Act: “If you’re going to leave a long, meandering message and then race through your phone number, you should be penalized.”

Bramnick also said "there's no reason to waste any more money on doing DWI checkpoints. All you have to do is at two in the morning, you go to a 7-11. Whoever’s eating one of those hotdogs, they’re drunk. Arrest them.”

In closing, Bramnick said, “what brings us together as human beings and those interpersonal relations are the most important thing we have on Earth. The comedy, if that helps you increase the relationship with other people, use it. If it doesn’t help you, don’t. The key is just have those relationships with people on both sides of the aisle so we can move forward as a state and as a country.”

Joshua Henne, a Democratic political strategist and founder of the consulting firm White Horse Strategies, and Joey Novick, a comedian and a Flemington councilman, also sat on today’s panel. All of the panelists warned the crowd to watch the type of humor they use and how they use it.

Novick said “in the environment in which we walk, attack humor doesn’t work at all.” He also warned against sarcasm.

Henne said to be aware of your presence on social media as well, including which groups you join on Facebook. “You have to watch everything you’re joining, not just what you’re saying,” he said.