1. Coworker showed us a pic on her phone of a Christmas ornament given to her by her late Grandmother. All one guy could offer was how the tree looked burned.

  2. Another coworker was on poster to play in a band for a charity event and the same guy just made fun of how another guy looked.

  3. The guy intentionally miss hears something just so he can substitute it with a word or phrase only he finds amusing.

What's the single word or phrase for someone who acts like this guy does?

  • In your title you mention "joke" but you don't emphasis that in the body of your question. I am assuming that you're talking about someone purposely using a "dry sense of humor" but other people seem to be assuming something else – Tom22 Jan 13 '17 at 21:45
  • I would describe it as a form of deadpan humor using 'feigned ignorance' as a device. .... but that still doesn't catch it exactly and it certainly isn't a short way of putting it. – Tom22 Jan 13 '17 at 21:59
  • I think "wrly" in a way that expresses dry, especially mocking, humor google.com/… would be a good word to express that they were being funny but it would need another word to go with it to say they were "wryly missing the point" – Tom22 Jan 13 '17 at 22:41
  • I do not believe he is truly trying to get a warm laugh. It's much more acerbic than that, and usually leaves people very annoyed or can sour the tone of the group, leaving others either silent or visibly ticked. – user214895 Jan 14 '17 at 2:59
  • How about "EL&U commenter"? – Hot Licks Apr 4 '18 at 0:16

This guy is being a smart-ass. The term can be used to describe someone who is irritatingly clever or smug. His "jokes" are about things beyond the topic at hand, and tend to be a little on the rude side. He's deliberately ignoring the focus of the conversation to satisfy himself with his own wittiness, which other people find less amusing.

  • I voted this up, but how applicable it is depends on both what the OPs intent was as well as how the "smart-ass" label is applied. FWIW I find this sort of irreverent humor very funny ... "other people" might not though. Also, like all wry and/or sarcastic humor ... it's in the delivery....as would be the retort "you smart-ass" if said with a wink and a chuckle compared to a earnest tone of irritation. Calling someone a "smart-ass" could, in itself, be a "smart-ass" reply. – Tom22 Jan 13 '17 at 23:20
  • I would like an alternative to "smart-ass" simply because I am writing a short story and would like to describe in writing how this person interacts with coworkers – user214895 Jan 14 '17 at 14:00

You could say "He/She is being deliberately obtuse".


Annoyingly insensitive or slow to understand:

Oxford Dictionary

The apparently dull-witted but actually quite astute Lt. Columbo (Peter Falk) was accused of this once by a frustrated suspect.

"Are you actually this stupid, or are you just being deliberately obtuse?"

  • 1
    How about "wryly obtuse" wry: in a way that expresses dry, especially mocking, humor. – Tom22 Jan 13 '17 at 22:37

These guys are obviously "playing dumb" so as to be comical and provoke laughter.

  • play dumb - "to pretend to not know or not understand something"


  • "He was playing dumb only to be funny."
  • "Don’t play dumb with me – I know you took the money."
  • "She said she would play dumb if challenged by a police officer."

Your coworker is making offhand comments.

Ungraciously or offensively nonchalant or cool in manner.

(Oxford Living Dictionaries)


Facetious is the word you are looking for.

Facetious /fəˈsiːʃəs/


treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humour; flippant.

"a facetious remark"

  • 1
    Hi Ryan, welcome to EL&U. There are two problems with your answer: firstly, it looks like you've quoted from a dictionary, but you should edit your post to add a link or, at the very least, cite the source. Secondly – and more importantly – I think you've chosen the wrong word: facetious does not describe "someone who intentionally misses the point". Can I suggest you read How to Answer, and take the EL&U Tour for further guidance on how our site differs from others. :-) – Chappo Hasn't Forgotten Monica Apr 29 '19 at 8:16

I would simply say this guy is immature.



  1. Having or showing an emotional or intellectual development appropriate to someone younger.

  2. Exhibiting less than an expected degree of maturity.

  • 2
    While this is something an immature person might do, it's not what immature means – Kevin Jan 13 '17 at 16:13

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