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Categories: EntertainmentFunny

How to Be Funny – Easy Steps with Sample Jokes

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How to Be Funny Easy Steps with Sample Jokes

Humor can help you connect with other people and make unpleasant situations a little more bearable. Being funny might seem like it takes a lot of work, but it’s actually not that hard once you tap into your inner sense of humor. Even if you don’t think you’re naturally funny, there are things you can do to make yourself and other people laugh.

Developing a Sense of Humor

  1. Learn a little about what makes you laugh. Laughter itself is unconscious. While it’s possible for us to keep ourselves from laughing (not always successfully), it is very hard for us to produce laughter on demand, and doing so will usually seem “forced”.Fortunately, laughter is very contagious (we’re about 30 times more likely to laugh in the presence of others), and in a social context, it’s easy to start laughing when others are laughing.
    • Studies have shown that three things make us laugh the most: a sense of superiority over someone else behaving “dumber” than us; a difference between our expectation of something and the actual result; or welcome relief from an anxiety


2. Learn to laugh in boring or unfunny circumstances. It’s good to know that the less funny a place is, the easier it becomes to add the element of humorous surprise. It might be easier to get people to laugh about in an office workplace than to get people to laugh in a comedy club.

  • This is why The Office, the NBC show, uses an office as its setting: it’s about as boring as it gets. They even process paper. How boring is that?! We’re not used to looking at an office as a funny place, so when it is funny, it’s especially funny.

3. Learn to appreciate witty wordplay and puns. A lot of the time, comedy comes from linguistic confusion (unintentional) or linguistic playfulness (intentional). We sometimes find things humorous when there’s a gap between our words and our meanings.

  • Freudian slips are linguistic errors that are believed to expose what you were reallythinking rather than what you “meant” to say, and are often of a sexual nature.
  • Witty wordplay is more intentional: “A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.” Or this one, where the words “hockey” and “fight” are switched: “I went to a fight the other night and a hockey game broke out.”


4. ppreciate irony. There’s perhaps nothing in comedy more widely cited but more thoroughly misunderstood than irony. Irony occurs when there is a gap between our expectations of a statement, situation, or image and the actual experience of it.

Comedian Jackie Mason illustrates irony with a joke: “My grandfather always said, ‘Don’t watch your money; watch your health.’ So one day while I was watching my health, someone stole my money. It was my grandfather.”

This joke messes with one of our fundamental expectations: that grandparents are nice, friendly people who are utterly harmless, and that the advice they offer should be sincere.The joke is funny because, in it, we are presented with a grandparent who is rascally, thievish, and double-crossing.

5. Trust in your inner sense of humor. Being funny doesn’t come in a “one-size-fits-all” package. What makes you funny is unique to you and the way you observe the world. Trust that you do have a funny bone; as babies we laugh from 4 months of age, and all children express humor naturally from kindergarten age, using humor to entertain themselves and others. It’s already in you – you just need to bring it out!

Developing a Funny Personality

  1. Take yourself less seriously. Remember the most embarrassing moments in your life so far, the monumental stuff-ups, the times you refused to make changes, the breakdowns in communications that you played a major part in, and maybe even the time you tried to be funny around your friends and only crickets chirped. These things can be hilarious.
  • Telling other people about very embarrassing moments in your life is a great way to get them to laugh. Take a page from famous improv comic Colin Mochrie, who said: “He had the kind of face only a mother could love, if that mother was blind in one eye and had that kind of milky film over the other… but still, he was my identical twin.”

2. Put yourself under the spotlight. Tell self-depracating jokes rather than making jokes at the expense of others. More people will be more willing to laugh. Rodney Dangerfield made fun of both his sanity and his looks with this one: “I went to the psychiatrist, and he says ‘You’re crazy.’ I tell him I want a second opinion. He says, ‘Okay, you’re ugly too!'”

  • Redd Foxx had this to say about his silly devotion to drugs and alcohol: “I feel sorry for people who don’t drink or do drugs. Because someday they’re going to be in a hospital bed, dying, and they won’t know why.”
  • A great joke from Henry Youngman: “I was so ugly when I was born, the doctor slapped my mother.”

3. Know your audience. Different things make different people laugh. Some people find that sensationalism causes them to laugh; others find that satire does the trick. Learn which is which, and deliver your jokes and anecdotes so that they apply to many different categories of humor and emotion at once.

  • Not everyone knows what it’s like to ride in a helicopter or be a millionaire or have a baby. But most people know what it’s like to go fast, fantasize about money, and love another person deeply. So make your jokes cover more ground by utilizing really basic, but profound, human emotions.
  • When you’re in a group of people you don’t know, listen to what subjects they’re talking about and what’s making them laugh. Are they the witty banter type? The slapstick, or physical comedy type? The better you know someone, the easier it will be to make them laugh.

4. Mislead the mind. Misleading the mind is what we referred to earlier as surprise. This is when you create a difference between what someone expects to happen and what actually happens. Verbal jokes use this element to the greatest level possible, trying to misdirect your attention in the same that magic tricks do.

  • For example: “What happens to liars when they die?” Answer – “They lie still.” This joke works because you have to interpret the joke in two ways, and the brain is temporarily confused by its inability to draw on usual experience.
  • Consider Groucho Marx’s clever one-liner, “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read,” or Rodney Dangerfield’s line, “My wife met me at the door the other night in a sexy negligee. Unfortunately, she was just coming home.”

5. Strike while the iron is hot. Good timing is really important, because if you give the brain too much time to work out a situation or joke, the funny moment will pass by. This is probably why jokes people have heard before don’t work, as recognition dulls the humor because the brain is already primed by experience. React quickly and strike while the humorous moment exists.

One liners, or comebacks, can be good fun. Someone says something that, by itself, isn’t funny. And you whip back with something that makes what they said really funny. Timing is crucial here. Your humorous statement needs to come out quickly and fully-formed. For example, your friend is thinking about hair, for some reason, and he says: “Isn’t it weird that we only have hair on our heads and in our pubic areas?” The friend is not really even expecting a response. You say: “Speak for yourself.”

If the timing is all wrong, don’t mess with the joke. The worst you can do as a funny person is try to deliver a joke after your window of opportunity has passed. Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to crack through the silence with your whip of a wit.

6. Know when not to be funny. Be especially careful about cracking jokes or pulling pranks during funerals and weddings, places of worship (or religious events), and whenever your humor could be mistaken for harassment or discrimination, or if your humor might physically harm somebody, as in a physical prank.

7 . Be observant. Jerry Seinfeld and other comedians have made millions of dollars deploying a basic style of comedy known as “observational” humor, making observations about everyday occurrences and experiences. While knowing a lot can increase your capacity for humor, there’s no substitute for seeing a lot. In fact, many very knowledgeable people fail to see the humor in things. Look for the humor in everyday situations, and see what others don’t. Often, the unnoticed humor that is standing right in front of our eyes has the most impact.

8. Memorize some one-liners. One liners can steal the show. Dorothy Parker was brilliant with one-liners; for example, when told that Calvin Coolidge had died, she replied: “How can they tell?”

You’ll need quick wit and readiness for delivering good one-liners but studying other people’s can inspire your own. Or think of Calvin Coolidge himself; a woman came to him and said: “Mr. Coolidge, I made a bet against a fellow who said it was impossible to get more than two words out of you.” Coolidge replied, “You lose.”

Staying Inspired


  1. Learn from funny people.
    You can expand your reach a good deal by listening to other funny people. Whether they’re professional comedians, your parents, your kids, or your boss, learning from the funny people in your life is a key step to being funny yourself. Keep a note of some of the funnier things these people say or do. And find what you admire most in these people. Even if all you do is cobble together your own funny plan based on one admired trait from each person, you’ll be improving your sense of funny tremendously. Immersing yourself like this will help you develop a toolbox of techniques you can use to be funny.
    • Comedy has taken the podcast world by storm in recent years. Comedy podcasts by people like Marc Maron and Joe Rogan are available for free online and feature hilarious interviews, jokes, and stories you can upload to mobile devices. Ride the bus while listening to a comedy podcast and weird everyone out when you laugh suddenly in your headphones.

Watch funny shows. There are many, many TV shows and movies packed with excellent comedy. The British, for example, have a very dry, witty sense of humor that concerns itself primarily with cultural matters, whereas Americans have more of a slapstick, physical humor that often involves issues of sex and race. Getting a good helping of both will help you understand different cultural attitudes towards humor.

  • Watch improvisational comedians. All good comedians are improvisers, but comedians choose to improvise for a living and the experience can be hilarious. Attend an improv show and take part in it as much as you can – you’ll laugh a lot and observe exactly how they take vague, unknown scenarios and turn them into something instantly funny.

3. Broaden your factual knowledge for joke material. It is much easier to find funny moments in material you know well – your workplace attitudes, your amazing knowledge of 17th century poetry, your familiarity with fishing trips that went wrong, etc. Whatever the material, though, it also needs to resonate with your audience, meaning that your concise ability to deconstruct a 17th century poem might not hit its mark with somebody not familiar with the piece!

  • Broaden your horizons so that you are tuned-in regardless of who you’re speaking to. If you can find the humor in physics and Paris Hilton, for example, you’re well on your way. Drawing an interesting parallel between two wildly different subjects can be very funny, if done well.
  • Work your smarts. In a way, being funny is simply showing that you are intelligentenough to find the humorous nuances that others miss. Comics do this routine all the time. They point out the hygienic customs of the clergy, for example, or the breeding practices of chimpanzees, relating it effortlessly back to something the average person knows and understands

4. Read, read, read. Get your hands on anything and everything that is funny, and consume it like your mom told you not to. Chemists become chemists by reading and practicing chemistry; sports writers become sports writers by reading and writing about sports; you’re going to become a funnier person by reading and practicing jokes.

  • Read works by people like James Thurber, P.G. Wodehouse, Stephen Fry, Kaz Cooke, Sarah Silverman, Woody Allen, Bill Bryson, Bill Watterson, Douglas Adams, etc. (Don’t forget children’s books by good authors; they can be a terrific source for good humor!)
  • Read joke books. It won’t hurt to have a few good jokes memorized. Hopefully, reading good jokes might inspire you to start making up your own jokes and witticisms. When reading them, try to pick apart the elements that make them good jokes. Equally, try to work out why some jokes do not work. Just because you wrote it doesn’t mean that it’s good; it can be hard to stare at our own work objectively, so get feedback from someone who doesn’t know you well (that way they won’t sugarcoat the news, whatever it is).

5 . Be an active listener and learn everything you can about comedy. Listen carefully to others, really hear them, and understand what they’re about. There’s nothing more humble than admitting that you can always learn to be funnier from other people. When you’re busy focused on people other than yourself, you’ll get a better sense of how to help others through humor. It will also enable you to observe and relate the small joys of life too – making your funny self more believable and empathetic.

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