How To Be Funny.
Being funny is one of those things that is easy to point out, but kind of hard to explain.
There’s no one definition that everyone agrees on.
The sense of humour is the ability to surprise the audience by creating a connection between two or more things.
Now there are two ways you can improve your sense of humour. You can improve the content of your humour and you can also improve the delivery of your humour.
Now in terms of improving the content of your humour, it’s all about variety. To be funny you have to be able to catch people off guard. When you rely simply on one type of humour you become predictable, and predictable is not funny.
They call it a punch line because you don’t see it coming. There are many different types of humour. I’ll try to go over the most common ones.
Exaggeration is one of the most common forms of humour.
It’s great because almost everyone gets it. And it’s extremely easy to use. Simply put, you take an observation about something and you exaggerate it way out of proportions.
The more absurd the comparison the funnier it usually is. He’s so dumb he tried to climb mountain dew. I literally grew this beard waiting for you. Mark, it’s like you wake up with a beer can in your hand every single day.
Misdirection is another extremely common type of humour.
Almost everyone gets it and it’s pretty easy to use. It’s when you make a connection that nobody expects. The conversation is going one way and all of a sudden you twist it to everyone’s surprise.
Here’s an example: “Hey, where are you from?” “Corona.” “Really, I hate Corona, my favourite type of beer is Coors Lite.” Here’s another example: “You ever get that feeling when you find that girl that’s just perfect and you’re
hitting it off? Yeah…me neither.” Storytelling can be a great way to not only get a good laugh but also share something about yourself and build rapport.
Stories are great because you can hold the punchline all the way to the end. People usually never see it coming
because they’re so focused on the actual story.
The easiest stories that can induce humour are embarrassing or absurd stories. Now the key to pulling off a great funny story is to learn how to tell a story properly.
Teasing is an extremely effective form of humour that has to be used very carefully.
Basically, you point something out about a person and you make fun of it.
Here’s an example: Let’s say your dating a girl who’s a germaphobe, and she’s wiping down the table with one of those table wipes before eating. You can say something like, “Are you going to wipe me down too before we hold hands?” You have to be very careful about teasing people because it can easily come off as offensive.
The key here is to have good intentions behind the joke. If you say something with intentions to offend someone they will be offended.
You also want to make sure you’ve built a certain level of comfort with the person, before making a joke like this. And for the daring that want to skip this step, don’t expect it to work every single time.
Sarcasm is a type of humour that is less commonly appreciated by people.
It’s when you say something that is obviously opposite to what everyone is thinking.
Here’s an example: I used to be a door-to-door salesman. And there would be days where the weather was just terrible. It would be pouring outside and I would be drenched. And I still had to knock on doors!
So my favourite one-liner was, “Hi, nice to meet you, beautiful weather right?”
Now when it comes to sarcasm some people simply won’t get it. People who do like sarcasm usually LOVE sarcasm, but they are far and few in between. The key here is to emphasize keywords and also to limit the amount of sarcasm you use. Many people simply do not like sarcastic people.
Another less commonly appreciated form of humour are puns.
Puns are basically words that sound alike but have different meanings.
Here are some examples: I’d tell you a chemistry joke, but I know I wouldn’t get a reaction. I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest. Puns are a lot harder to get a laugh from as compared to other forms of humour because most of the time they’re going to simply fly over everyone’s head.
But, people who like puns LOVE puns. The key when it comes to using puns is to use them very sparingly. As they can get old very fast.
Role-playing is my all-time favourite type of humour.
This is because it is extremely hard to pull off, and it’s just absurd and hilarious in its own way. Very few people use role-play as a form of humour.
Role-play is when you pretend to be someone or something else.
Here’s an example: When I was in college. I would throw parties. Now once I had the right idea of going around and pretending to be the “Sober Police”. I would go up to be people and pull out an imaginary badge and say, “Sir, this is the sober police. Are you sober right now.” “Wait…wait?” “Sir, please step outside of the vehicle.” At this point, people would kind of start getting what I was trying to do.
We would go on to conduct sobriety tests and even calling for backup if the person still didn’t get what was going on. Now role-playing is extremely hard to pull off because not everyone is going to get it.
The key when it comes to role-playing is to never break character. If you keep at it with enough perseverance people usually get what you’re trying to do. In terms of improving the delivery of your humour – there are four rules you can abide by.
One thing that you’ll notice about almost every great comedian or talk host, is that they will never be the first one to laugh at their own jokes. They’ll smile and they’ll smirk, but they will not be the first ones to laugh. And this is because being funny is all about catching your audience off guard.
You want them to say, “Hey….wait a minute….that was funny!” When you laugh first you ruin this surprise. You’re basically telling them, “Hey, that was my attempt at a joke. Please laugh with me.”
Rule #1: Never be the first person to laugh at your own jokes.
As we mentioned before everyone has a different sense of humour.
A common mistake people make is that they only have one type of humour that they constantly fall back on. There’s a chance that whoever your talking to do not get that type of humour.
When you notice that a certain type of humour is failing, you have to try something else. See funny people have an entire arsenal of jokes. They can draw humour from many different perspectives to suit their audience.
For example, kids don’t really get puns or sarcasm. They actually enjoy role-playing a lot. PhD students are more likely to enjoy puns as compared to a high school kid, who probably enjoys exaggerations or teasing.
Rule #2 is to adjust your humour to your audience.
The essence of jokes is about having fun. A common mistake that people make when trying to be funny, is that they try so hard or care so much about being funny, that they accidentally adopt nervous body language.
When you have nervous body language, everyone around you feels a little bit tenser. You’re portraying with your body that something is wrong. And this makes it very hard to tell a joke or come off as funny because in order to be funny you have to be in a relaxed state so everyone around you can tell that the vibe is calm and cool.
Here’s a couple of tips and tricks in order to present proper body language for humour. Slow down your speech. Don’t fidget that much. And open up your body.
Rule #3 is to portray calm and confident body language as well as tonality.
And finally, the thing about jokes is that not everyone is going to find each and every single one of your jokes to be funny. Your jokes are going to be hit or miss. And the key here is to maintain composure even when you miss.
Nobodies going to notice the misses unless you put a lot of attention on it.
Rule #4 is to keep calm and carry on.
And to close it all off one of the greatest ways you can improve your overall sense of humour is to watch stand up comedians.
They are at the top of their fields. It seems like they can say anything and people will laugh, and this is because their delivery is amazing.
That’s all about how to be funny.