Practical jokes and social games are played in which embarrassments which are to be taken unseriously are purposely engineered. Anecdotes from the past - real, embroidered or fictitious - are told and retold, detailing disruptions which occurred [to the way a person presents themself], almost occurred, or occurred and were admirably resolved. There seems to be no grouping which does not have a ready supply of these games, reveries, and cautionary tales, to be used as a source of humour, a catharsis for anxieties, and a sanction for inducing individuals to be modest in their claims and reasonable in their projected expectations.
Incidentally the perspective Goffman developed is known as dramaturgy. This is clearly similar to the the idea of 'dramatism' developed by Kenneth Burke (who gets a mention or two), and about whom I've blogged before. And Burke of course leads on to my old fave Walter Fisher.