Have you ever marveled at the way some people have the ability to effortlessly make people laugh? You may feel that you were born with a missing funny bone or have the misconception that humor isn’t something that can be learned. Although some people are naturally funnier than others, they most likely started practicing their talent at a very young age. You see, being funny is a skill and like any other skill it can be learned and perfected. Take the following steps and tailor them to fit your personal needs to become a more clever and witty person:
1. Find Your Comedic Strengths
Humor can’t be learned through a cookie cutter approach. Every person’s comedic style is unique to that person. If your attempts at humor fall flat, it could be that the type of joke you are attempting is not your strong suit. Perhaps you are trying to do impersonations not knowing that you are more talented at word play or telling jokes. When you’re around other people try various types of humor and see what gets the biggest laughs. This will be the best indicator of your comedic strength. Once you’ve figured out your style, you can focus on your strong points and steer clear of comedy that will bomb.
Bonus joke: “How do you catch a unique Roo?”…“Unique up on it!”
2. Get Material
You can’t be funny if you don’t have references and material. Stay up-to-date on pop culture, news and current events. The broader your knowledge, the more clever you can be. Have a collection of jokes to pull from and be sure to keep your material fresh. Your friends won’t find it very amusing to hear the same jokes over and over. Consider buying a joke-of-the-day calendar or asking people you meet if they have any jokes. Not only will this give you more material to work with, but you can also see what other people do to be funny.
Quotes from popular movies and television shows are another great resource. Having the ability to memorize and recite the funniest parts of the most well-known movies is probably the easiest way to get a laugh and to get other people involved in the fun. If you look or sound like the actor from the movie, that’s even better.
Kangaroo Jack: [imitating Dr. Evil] “Come on people, throw me a freaking bone! I have a son! I shall call him… Mini Roo!”
3. Don’t Try So Hard
It’s painfully obvious when someone is trying too hard to be funny because it comes across as either clownish or awkward. Great comedy is like fashion, it only works if it looks effortless. It’s all about attitude and style. Think about the way Melissa McCarthy or Sandra Bullock delivers a joke without making a major production out of it. They can say the most hilarious things in an easy-going conversational tone.
Bonus joke: “What do you get when you cross a giraffe with a kangaroo?”…“Lots of broken legs.”
4. Study Funny People
While you’re watching McCarthy and Bullock, go ahead study other great comedians as well. They don’t have to be famous. If someone in your office or group of friends is hilarious, pay attention to the way they inject humor into various situations. If you’re truly committed, you can even take a class or watch videos on how to do improvisational comedy.
5. Know Your Audience
A joke is only funny if other people understand it and can relate to it. Making a humorous reference to something funny on Twitter won’t have the same impact on your grandmother as it would a group of teenagers. This is where having a broad range of knowledge comes in handy. By knowing something about several subjects, you can be funny in any situation.
6. Timing is Everything
Good comedy has a rhythm. Banter between friends should bounce back and forth like a ball during a tennis match. It doesn’t matter how funny a joke is if the timing is off. Having the ability to think quickly on your feet is important if you want to be funny. Once the window of opportunity for humor has passed, just let it go and wait for the next one to come along. When you do deliver your joke, one-liner or zinger, the speed of deliver must match the humor. For example, if you’re going for a mumble joke, it must be said quickly or it will bomb.
7. Never Underestimate the Power of Potty Humor
It doesn’t matter how old you are fart jokes are always funny! Sorry ladies, jests about panty whispers. Is that where the term “wisecracks” originated?
Bonus joke: “Why don’t little girls fart?”…“Because they don’t have a**holes until they’re married.”
8. Know How to Tell a Joke
You can memorize a thousand jokes, but if you don’t tell them properly they are all going to bomb. Understanding the Rule of Three will help in this situation. The structure of a joke should be: set up, anticipation and punch line. If your story or joke is lively and upbeat, then tell it with animation and excitement. When you’re using dark or dry humor, deliver it with a more level or monotone voice. If you attempt physical humor or slapstick, fully commit yourself. A half-assed attempt will only be lame.
9. Be the Butt (of the joke)
Don’t be afraid to use self-deprecation. Making fun of yourself is always preferable to making fun of others. It’s also an excellent way to rebound from an awkward or embarrassing situation by having people laugh with you, rather than at you. When someone stumbles or spills something down their pants, it’s funny. People will naturally want to giggle but they don’t want to be rude. If you’re the one stumbling all over the place or have a lap full of water, make a joke about your clumsiness. It will make you feel less embarrassed and keep the people around you from feeling like jerks.
10. Look for Humor in Unlikely Places
There is a funny side to absolutely everything in life. It’s simply up to us to find it. If you look for the brighter or humorous side to things, you can be the person to break the tension or monotony with a well-timed joke. As long as you’re not being insensitive or hurting anyone else, life is full of side-splitting situations.
Having a healthy sense of humor is important. Laughter relieves stress, helps people bond and gives everyone a more positive outlook on life. You will find that being a funny person causes other’s to be more humorous because laughter is contagious. The funnier you become, the more popular you will be. When you make someone laugh or smile, they trust you more. So, get your comedy act together and go spread some joy. The world could use a good laugh today.