Simulated Laughter Will Make This Significantly Less Painful For All Involved

Before you bite into your burger, Ted, can I just announce something? Throughout the course of this mandatory work dinner, I'll be making a series of statements that I unironically consider jokes. The intent of these sporadic and ill-considered comments is to cause laughter up and down the length of the table, from all seated parties. With that in mind, I wanted to point out that laughter, or at least a passable laughing sound, will make these moments far less painful for everyone. Please take this into consideration before we get started.

OK, here we go...Can these cheesesticks get any smaller? They look like fried children fingers. They're more like cheese matchsticks! Everybody call them cheese matchsticks now. If you want to use that one in the future, feel free. It's on the house. Hand me a potato skin, Amy, I want to pretend like I'm going to cup it against my chin like Abe Lincoln. Don't use a napkin. Scoop the bacon bits back on. You're ruining this.

What? Are these too intense for you guys? You're right, you're right. Let's start off nice and easy with some work gossip. How about Steve, huh? Leaving last Monday mid-day and sending that weird email? I mean, what the heck, right? Did his Momma need help warshin' the dishes? Oh man. He is Southern, right? Or am I thinking of Dean.

Remember, what I said earlier about making some laughing noises when I fire these babies off. Trust me, it'll make the mounting tension slightly more bearable. Anyway, you can't all just hide in the bathroom or pace around the front room of this pub, hoping I'll get caught up in the quesadillas and stop making oppressive observations. I'll say this: I won't.

Man. What else. Who here likes...Diane? It's me. Who here likes...what's going on down there. What are they saying? Who is the new guy with the glasses. Chris! Hey, Chris...down this way. I got this. Who here likes arena football? Because I know how to get tickets. Write down how many you want and I'll call.

What time is it? At least another half-hour on the boss's dime. Um, waitress, I'll have the filet mignon, please? With a side of really expensive potatoes! What's that? No, I was just joking. I'll have another Sprite please. Ahem.

OK, here it is, I got it. Here's a game: We'll go around the table and each say our most embarrassing accident. Like whatever the worst thing that happened to you or whatever. We can just fire them off if we don't want to do the linear thing. No - wait - let's go in order of reverse seniority! That will be fun. So, that means that Emily goes first. Go ahead, Emily. Say the worst thing that's happened to you in your life. Don't be shy, it can't be any worse than Santi over there.