Oftentimes, professors attempt to pepper their lectures with humour to show a lighter side of themselves and perhaps to make the material more enjoyable. Though in the comedy community this would be considered “bombing,” at McGill the jokes continue to roll in! So much so that McGill has created a system to reward professors for their effort: The First-Annual Best Joke Awards.

Many students skimmed past the “Would you like to nominate your professor for the Best Joke Award?” question on their Mercury Course Evaluations, but nonetheless there was an undeniable winner—Department of Physics Assistant Professor Michael Polonski. Whether it was planned or not, his unexpected 2019 sneeze has changed the game.

“He was possibly the most bland professor I’ve ever had, until that last lecture,”  third year Rebecca Carlson explained, unable to contain her excitement. This is not an uncommon opinion, according to his RateMyProfessors page, but perhaps this is about to change.  

The sneeze heard around the world set the lecture hall into a frenzy. Nobody could focus. A sneeze so potent, many reported feeling a tremor in floor six of McLennan.  

“Not only did he sneeze once, but then he went and did it again,” sixth year, Anthony Towne, said in hysterics.

We were able to meet with Professor Polanski during his office hours last week. Polonski, dressed in a pair of khakis and a white polo shirt (equipped with a pen protector), seemed hesitant to let us in. After shaking hands and engaging in common pleasantries, we began the interview. When asked how long he’d been writing that joke, he explained very puzzledly that he’d had “A bad case of the sniffles. It just slipped out.” Meaning: Not only did he write possibly the funniest one liner ever told in a lecture, but it was improvised.  

Just before asking our final question Professor Polonski started to look rather uncomfortable.  Looking around frantically, he began to pat his breast pocket. Unable to pull out his handkerchief in time, he let out two roaring sneezes, one right after the other. The room burst into a sea of laughter as Professor Polonski sat rather still, with a look of bewilderment written across his flushed face.   

After dabbing our eyes free of tears and catching our breath, we bid the professor adieu, unable to gather ourselves for the final question. Perhaps he needs some time to ride out his cold, or maybe some time to write a joke for next year’s awards. All we know is, we hope the sneezes keep coming, because, as the old saying goes, laughter is the best medicine.


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