Humor can help you connect with other people and make unpleasant situations a little more bearable. This is part three of a four part blog about how to be funny. 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.
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.
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 intelligent enough 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.
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).
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.
If you have something to add, please leave a comment below !!!
Next and final part is going to be about tips & warnings.
Previous parts are: