According to Prof Candid, ‘Banter describes a set of ritualised behaviours performed by working class blokes when they meet up in something called a pub to drink something called a pint. For example if one of their “mates” is Welsh and has man boobs this may lead to all sorts of hilarious comments about his sexuality and his fondness for sheep. Banter may leave him feeling lonely and suicidal but that’s all par for course.’
Prof Candid goes onto explain: ‘The term banter should definitely not be used to describe what happens in medical schools when lecturers point out to their students that general practice is shit. That’s not banter, that’s truth telling.’
Prof Candid’s team has also gone on to show that other forms of humour, no matter how primitive, can actually be harmful to patients.
‘Our team has produced two very easy to understand graphs,’ explains Prof, ‘one describes what happens to patient outcomes if you use banter in the consultation and the other shows what happens if you use innuendo. You’ll notice I’ve drawn a pair of eyes on the banter graph, this is to emphasise that it looks like an unhappy face.’
When it was pointed out to Prof that his innuendo graph looks just like a cock he replied: ‘Oh really… I didn’t notice that.’