How To Be Funny (Improve Sense of Humor)

Reading Time: 17 minutes

How To Be Funny

Humor and laughter can soften the most awkward and remorse situations in life. It can break down the barriers between sexes, races and even different languages. It can allow you to make a good first impression as well as make a lasting impression.

People simply love to be around funny people. Because of the fact that life can be serious as clown chasing you with a machete.

But what do funny people do that make them that way? What traits do they possess?

Well below I jump into many tips and tools that funny people use that can send you on your way to comedic genius. Garnering you a ton of laughs along the way.

Enjoy

How To Be Funny In Conversation

Master The Art The Straight Face

There is something downright hilarious about people who can keep as straight face when telling people something funny. The delivery just doesn’t provide as good of an impact on the people around you when you are laughing your way through what you are saying. Some of the funniest people alive are more deadpan in their delivery. Think poker face! Here are a couple of tips on how to be more funny with dry humor and keeping a straight face:

One article talks about how we can keep a straight face by simply telling ourselves the joke a couple of times in our head until it is more automatic. We laugh a couple of times and get it out of our systems. Then we go on to tell the joke with a straight face.

Wikihow also has an article on this topic, talking about a couple tips we can use including:

  1. Take a deep breath because it is impossible to laugh when you are inhaling. Draw in a deep breath and allow it out slowly. Do this until you don’t feel the need to laugh anymore.
  2. Pursing our lips. This can prevent us from cracking a smile. Clench your jaw and then press your lips together.
  3. Bite the inside of your cheek. It makes telling a joke with a straight face easier when our cheeks are sucked inwards. It also takes the awareness of your humor and onto the pain in your cheeks! (Don’t overdue it!)

Use Puns! (How To Be Punny)

You can use puns to get people chuckling. The best part about them is that you can use them and then say “No Pun Intended” but it makes you look both clever and hilarious in the process. A couple of puns that you can put your own spin on include:

“I wondered why the baseball wasn’t getting bigger. Then it hit me.”

“Why don’t some couples go to the gym? Because some relationships don’t work out.”

“Have you ever heard of the guy that got hit with a soda can? He was lucky it was a soft drink.”

These are just a couple good ones that you can get an idea of how puns work and reshape your own that are similar to these ones. Or make up your own completely.

Another great article talks about how to be punny

Dry Humor 

Dry humor is a great way to add an element to how funny you are. It is an ingredient in your arsenal that you can use to cultivate laughter wherever you go. A great site talks about how we can develop dry sense of humor, offering us these tips:

Observe and Absorb – Dry humor is comes simply out of observations we make that happen to be funny. Observe the world with an open mind. Observe idiosyncrasies or quirks that people display that you can use as ammunition.

Look Within – We can really laugh at ourselves when it comes down to it. There has been so much funny stuff in our lives that we can use to our benefit.

Master Word Play

Always be on the lookout for how you can make a play on words. For example, to make this point, I need to reference the late Robin Williams who said:

Politics: ‘Poli’ a Latin word meaning “many” and ‘tics’ meaning “bloodsucking creatures”.

Using plays on words show your intellect as well as get people giggling and snickering.

Appreciate and Study Sarcasm

We can learn a lot from sarcastic people. Learn to appreciate their style and delivery and study it. Take bits from others who are sarcastic and put your own spin on them.

Also a tip that I can give you that has worked for me. Is that when telling a joke with dry humor, to keep the laughs going, tell them it wasn’t supposed to be funny. It will catch them off guard momentarily and then they will burst into even more laughter.

Study Humor

The way to begin to act more naturally and without much conscious effort is to study the thing you are trying to master. When I first starting studying personal development, it was an obsession. I would spend hours a day listening to audio, reading or watching video. At first, I was horrible at trying to help people in conversation and will still quite negative. But I swear one day I woke up and it was like all the cumulative effort started to show itself. I became really good at helping people stay positive, I myself started to permeate positivity in almost everything I did. My life got better in every realm of my existence.

This is true with studying comedy. Listening and watch as many videos as you can from comedians and how to be funny and witty. One day all of the knowledge about comedy you put in your head will start to stream out of you with more ease. You will be funnier in relationships, at work, with children, with elders, with everyone!

Not only will this give you the ability to find more funny things in life. You will also learn how these comedians use the power of timing when they tell their joke. Which can make or break a joke and how effective and funny it ends up being.

Master The Art of Timing

Like I said above, timing and delivery can make or break a joke. A great site that interviews a comedian, talks about two tips the comedian gives in order to help us master comedic timing, which the two principles have to do with what happens AFTER the joke and not before it. So if you have ever been at a comedy show and people start to laugh, there are stages to their laughter. There is the initial burst of laughter, then a short pause to catch their breath, then laughter rises to a peak. Which the comedian, Dean, interviewed talked about how we should then come in with the next joke as soon as the peak has passed. This is referred to as classic or one-liner timing.

Then we can use what is called redirection which we do once or several times after we tell the initial joke. So for example we may say “For Mother’s Day I took my mother out. It only took 5 bullets.” Which then when the audience hits their peak laugter, you then add something similar in context like “Most people don’t get their pastor that drunk.”

Essentially doing this will add a different twist to the joke which both surprises the audience and keeps their howling. It is a way to keep your audience captivated because they are on their toes. They think the joke is done and can physically and mentally relax. But then you catch them off guard with more.

Learn How To Impersonate

One of the talents that people find most intriguing and funny is impersonation. When someone can impersonate a celebrity or someone famous, people hoot and holler! It makes you look incredibly talented and funny. Along with allowing you to break the humor silence with ease. Map out a couple people of whom you can easily impersonate. These are usually people who are most like you already. Making it easy to adapt their personality and tone of voice into yours.

The NY Times talks about how to impersonate someone, offering us some tips we can use to do so with success. Some of those tips include:

  1. The person you are trying to impersonate needs to be in your genetic range. Is there some sort of resemblance or are you around the same height and weight?
  2. Listen to recordings by first concentrating on the subjects voice. Identify where the sound of their voice is originating. It is low or pushed into the nose and more nasally? For example if it is nasally, try speaking from the upper part of your throat.
  3. Then identify how much they open their mouth when speaking. For example actors open their mouths up wide, whereas someone like Donald Trump keeps his jaw and lips puckered.
  4. Study the persons quirks along with gestures and how the hold their posture.

Laugh At Yourself

The ability to make fun of yourself does two things. It gets people laughing along with you as they can usually relate to some sort of experience they had. As well as allows people to have no ammo against you you have shown all your cards! Laughing at yourself shows that you aren’t acting like you a perfect. You are human and relatable. Relatability is key for getting people to laugh with you. Have you ever heard someone say “So True” when someone is telling a joke. Well the truth is funny, it is funny because it is true. That is all comedy really is. People identify with the truth of it. So in order to be more funny, laugh at yourself when you are telling people something embarrassing that has happened to you.

So now that I spoke, lets let science speak! There is a study about how humor researchers from the University of California set out to gauge how well people laughed at themselves. Which the ability to do so is thought of to be a core component of having an awesome sense of humor.

Plus the more you laugh at yourself, the more you take life less serious. This will break down the walls that better humor is behind. It will allow you to become a more humorous person along with enjoy life more!

This also gives people the permission to join in. Often times we can tell someone something embarrassing that happened to us and they will want to act sympathetic. But in order to get them roaring, we give them permission by roaring about ourselves.

Use Specifics

When it comes down to it, in order to be funny you and I need to be specific and possible in our style of communication. What sentence tickles your funny bone most?

  1. Some random dude was yelling at the car in front of him
  2. This rotund bald man with with a neck that would define the term “redneck” was hollering what sounded like every four letter word in the book, in an obviously still drunk/hungover tone, at the poor old lady that was short enough to be a legal midget.

The second was may be a bit long, but you get the point! Be specific. It paints a better pictures and captivates your audience more because it is storytelling. And people, no matter what age, love stories! This will let you hold their attention longer to get your humor across to them.

Learn A Few Jokes And Learn Them Well

There has always been a time in ones life where everyone is bored or on a long drive. Then suddenly someone in the group says “Wanna hear a joke.” Then the person spouts out some comedic gold and everyone laughs. IF the person tells the joke well. If not, then the get lost in the middle of it, have to start over or forget small details. This can ruin the mood!

When it comes to how to be more funny, we should have an few solid jokes on us and learn to tell them well. Practice them here and there. Learn to master the delivery of them. The pace of it and the tone of voice you will tell it in. This will allow you to deliver it in epic fashion when you are in a group and need to break the silence or lighten up the mood!

Be A Great Listener

In order to respond in a funny fashion, you need to become a great listener. As people will give you material you need in order to be quick witted with. If we have some prefabricated joke that we are waiting to say, it keeps us away from building something better with the material that the other person is giving us.

When you find something that you can use from what the other person is saying, use it. Don’t be afraid to offend. Take risks and put yourself out there. Believe in your humorous ability. This will allow you to have breakthroughs and get better at your delivery and ability to make people laugh.

Use Exaggerations And Extremes

Being funny means stretching the truth a bit by being a bit outlandish and extreme. Guys like Dane Cook have mastered this art of comedy that brings the joke to life and make him and the joke seem bigger larger than life. He has a skit about how he would get nightmares about Kool-Aid guy when he was a child saying that he would dream of it kick his door in and he would not only be scared of the Kool-Aid guy and how the kids were way to excited about how he just broke into their house!

Then he goes to talk about how the kids in the commercial Kool-Aid commercial would then proceed to drink out of his “big dumb head that debris just fell in” and how he the Kool-Aid man would wear tights when he would come in the house. Dane says “I don’t like when juice wears tights.”

He would exaggerate the details so much to where it starts to paint a vivid story in the listeners mind. It makes it funny without creating punchlines. It is exaggerating the stories details so much that either the punchline becomes that more funny when it is delivered. Or that you don’t even need a punchline because you exaggerations are funny enough to suffice.

A great site gives us some tips on humor writing by exaggeration talking about how we can do so by exaggerating truths to almost the point of absurdity. Also we should create an emotional aspect about it that people can relate to. Like going to the dentist made your childhood unhappy because of the fact that the dentist took some sort of sick delight in the extraction of your molar.

Lastly we want to use stereotypes on steroids. Take the Diva for example, she isn’t simply a vain Diva, she is so vain that every time she passes ups a mirror, she pauses to appreciate her image. They are exaggerated to a point where it wouldn’t actually happen in real life but is still relatable because we have stopped to admire our image and have seen people do so as well.

Here is one quote from funny man Jim Gaffigan:

“I struggle with my laziness. I’m like: Should I sit down and do nothing or lie down and do nothing.” – Jim Gaffigan

Read Your Audience

At the end of the day there are people out there who just don’t laugh at the same stuff we do. You know the stuffy people that think sexual jokes or dark humor or as bad as selling your soul to the Devil? Yeah those people. You have to read your audience. If you deliver your joke with a cuss word or multiple and people cringe, just dial it back. Still use your style of humor but just do so with non-swear words. Which as you get to know the person more, you can call them out in front of everyone as a yard duty who won’t allow cussing in comedy. Making fun of them but in a way that is not a direct attack. This will allow your humor to go further as people won’t immediately shut it down.

Surprise Your Audience

When you set out to start writing your own jokes, you need to create an element of surprise to them. A great site about comedy likens comedy to magic to where if a magician doesn’t surprise their audience, there is no trick. The same can be true with comedy. No surprise, no joke.

This is where you want to develop your plot twist. So when we are trying to be funny, we should lead the audience to assume one thing, but then surprise them with someone different. You essentially get your audience to step on the rug, then once they do, you pull it out from under them.

For example a joke of this fashion would be:

“I woke up to the housekeeper banging on the door, just banging away. Finally I had to get out of the bed and let her out.”

You think it is going one way and then you flip a 180.

The same site talks about how we need to have many elements of the story in our joke. The more the better. So when writing and creating jokes, make sure you have:

  1. Character
  2. Setting
  3. Plot
  4. Conflict
  5. Theme
  6. Narrative Arc

Search For Comedy

Act like you are a treasure hunter but replace treasure with comedy. Hunt down comedy in your everyday life. Seek it out. Find humor in anything and everything. In order to become funny we must find funny things in even things most people would find humor in. That is when you get really good at humor. Creating humor where there is thought to be none! So seek it out, and hang out with people who are funny. As they will show you their ways in how they find humor in any situation. Learn from them and learn from life!

Play Dumb (But Smart)

Playing dumb is one of the funniest things funny people do. We know they are intelligent because we are laughing at their “mistake”. Like for example Jim Carey and Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber or Will Ferrell in Anchorman. Their ability to bring so much stupid to their characters makes them funny as hell. If you can add this to your repitoire of comedy tools, you for sure gets some laughs. Although it is said to be one of the comedic techniques that people get most tired of the quickest. So use it sparingly!

Like for example, the line from Dumb and Dumber where a couple passes up Harry and Lloyd. They both look at them walking away and Harry says “Look at the buns on that one” and Lloyd proceeds to say “Yeah, he must workout.” Leaving the audience laughing because he totally missed Harry’s point. We can do similar things, we we play the dumb guy/gal in clever fashion. But not long enough to become the dumb one.

Facial Expression

Another way to add element to your humor is to learn how to use your face. You can over exaggerate your expressions as well to bring life to your jokes and stories. Instead of saying you slammed your pinky toe into the wall and that it hurt. Show exactly how much it hurt by opening your mouth wider than you ever have and wincing with one eyebrow raises up in the air. Overdo you emotions in order to really get people laughing. Like in the movies where the guy is denied by the lady and he frowns way to big, getting her to laugh. Use that money maker mug of yours to your comedic benefit.

Body Language

Body language also factors into humor greatly. If you are talking about how you once blew your back out in the gym and point to your back, nothing funny here. But while telling your friend about it, you walk around in a circle like your back is stuck like a hunchback and you have an imaginary cane in your hand, you will get more laughs! Use that body!

Focus On Your Audience, Not You

An awesome article about the 50 best stand up comedy tips came in clutch for our last tips on how to be funny. He talks about how we need to talk to our audience. Engage them. Either if you are doing improv or have gotten a joke from someone else. We need to really engage our audience and make them feel like we are not talking AT them but TO them. Talk to them as if they are actually there and you will be able to make a bond with them.

Also in order to be funny we should, we need to get the focus of ourselves and onto our audience. Whether that be one person or a crowd of humans gathering for you to make them laugh. The article talks about how our brains our wired to only focus on one thing at a time. When our focus in on the audience we forget about stage fright and go into at state of flow. The audience begins to feel as if you are authentic and they can relate to you more. They sense you care more about them then yourself. Don’t try to be perfect on stage, just be yourself.

Funny Quotes (Dry Humor Quotes)

  1. “Dogs are the leaders of the planet. If you see two life forms, one of them’s making poop, the other one’s carrying it for him, who would you assume is in charge?” – Jerry Seinfeld
  2. “Oh you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so? There’s a support group for that. It’s called EVERYBODY and they beet at the bar.” – George Carlin
  3. “I used to think I was indecisive, but now I’m not too sure.”
  4. “Life is too short, smile while you still have teeth.”
  5. “I remember what I was doing the first time I told someone I loved them. I was lying to get sex.” – Jimmy Carr
  6. “Always remember you are unique, just like everyone else.”
  7. “Some boxers believe that abstaining from sex before a bout makes them a better fighter. In that case, then I’m slowly becoming the greatest fighter of all time.” – Joe Pettis
  8. “The early bird can have the worm, because worms are gross and mornings are stupid.”
  9. “I love the expression “A number of, because it doesn’t mean anything. A number of Victoria Secret models have expressed interest in sleeping with me. That number is zero.” – Keith Newman
  10. “I feel like ‘Binge Watch’ is our new word for depression. It’s like, hey what have you been up to? Well this week I’ve barely spoken to anyone and I binge watched all 9 seasons of FRIENDS. How is this not a cry for help.” –
  11. “When I see an emo, I don’t see one person. I see two disappointed parents.” – Jimmy Carr
  12. “For me, trying to have one beer is kinda like trying to fall down just one step of a staircase.” – Peter Kramer
  13. “The more you weigh the harder you are to kidnap. Stay Safe. Eat Cake.
  14. “I think the reason I like sleep is because it’s like dying but with breakfast at the end.” – Jack Johnson
  15. “I followed a diet but it didn’t follow be back so I unfollowed it.”
  16. “Some people are like clouds. When they disappear, it’s a beautiful day.”
  17. “At my old job, my manager used to say ‘the most important part of your uniform is your smile’ until the day I forgot to wear pants” – Adam Cozens
  18. “Three out of four marriages end in failure. If you were going skydiving and they told you three out of four parachutes won’t open, would you still jump?” – Bill Burr
  19. “I used to work at McDonald’s making minimum wage. You know that that means when someone pays you minimum wage?  It’s like “Hey if I could pay you less, I would, but it’s against the law.” – Chris Rock
  20. “Someday I am literally going to eye roll myself into another dimension.”
  21. “My mind is like my internet browser. At least 19 open tabs. 3 of them are frozen And I have no clue where the music is coming from.”
  22. “I just flew in from the gender neutrality conference, and boy or girl are my arms tired.” – Chris Schmidt
  23. “Before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow internet to see who they really are. – Will Ferrell
  24. “Did you ever see the customers in health food stores? They are pale, skinny people who look half dead. In a steak house, you see robust, ruddy people, they’re dying of course, but they look terrific.”
  25. “I hate when I’m buying organic vegetables and when I get home I discover they’re just regular donuts.”
  26. “Ever catch a glimpse of yourself in a mirror and it just ruins your day?” – Jim Gaffigan
  27. “Life status: currently holding it all together with one bobby pin.”
  28. “Nothing messes up your Friday like finding out it is only Tuesday.”
  29. “Never get jealous, when you see your ex with someone else, because our parents taught us to give our used toys to the less fortunate”
  30. “She asked why I broke up with the last girl and I said ‘It didn’t work out’. She told me to be more specific. ‘I just told you, she didn’t exercise.”
  31. “Don’t judge me cause I’m quiet. No one plans a murder out loud.”
  32. “I want to be like a caterpillar. Eat a lot. Sleep for a while. Wake up beautiful.”
  33. “My mom told me to follow my dreams. So I took a nap.”
  34. “See, the problem is that God gives men a brain and penis, and only enough blood to flow through one at a time.” – Robin Williams
  35. “My goal this weekend is to move only enough so people know I’m not dead.”
  36. “Somebody left a grocery list in this cart that said: ‘cheese and shit like that’. So my soul mate is out there.”
  37. “Some people manage stress with yoga, meditation and a long walk. I manage stress with simple carbs, sarcasm and swearing.”
  38. “Never argue with stupid people. They will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.” – Mark Twain
  39. “I am proud to announce that I am expected a food baby.”
  40. “I have a vest. If I had my arms cut off it would be a jacket.” – Mitch Hedberg
  41. “If women ran the world we wouldn’t have wars, just intense negotiations every 28 days.” – Robin Williams
  42. “There are two temperatures in my office. Satan’s butthole. Or my nipples should be registered weapons.”
  43. “I need a six month vacation, twice a year.”
  44. “Pie can’t compete with cake. Put candles in a cake, it’s a birthday cake. Put candles in a pie, and somebody is drunk in the kitchen.”
  45. “Black people are way more susceptible to diabetes. That’s not racist, it’s just a medical fact. No if I said ‘hid your wallets, there’s a diabetes patient around here,” that would be racist.” – Ari Shaffir
  46. “I’m actually not funny. I’m just mean and people thing I’m joking.”
  47. “People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.” – Isaac Asimov
  48. “Maybe you should eat some makeup so you can be pretty on the inside too.”
  49. “It’s not an accent, it’s a whole city of people saying most words wrong.” – Louis C.K.
  50. “If a blizzard means you don’t have to go to work, but also you can’t go out to do anything fun, it’s basically a Jewish holiday.” – Adam Newman
  51. “How I feel when there is no coffee: Depresso.”
  52. “Singing in the shower is all fun and games until you get shampoo in your mouth. Then it just becomes a soap opera.”
  53. “My room is not messy, it is an obstacle course designed to keep me fit.”
  54. “We can still be friends” is like saying “The dog died but we can still keep it.”
  55. “If a book of failures doesn’t sell, is it a success?”
  56. “I need to talk to you. That one sentence has the power to make you remember every single bad thing you did in your whole life.”
  57. “The most annoying are those people in exceptionally good shape at the gym. I’m like “What are you doing here? You’re done!” – Jim Gaffigan
  58. “I once saw a forklift with a lift crate full of forks. And it was way to literal for me.” – Mitch Hedberg
  59. “If we’re together and break up, I’m changing my netflix password. You’re not gonna entertain another dude with my 8 dollars a month.” – Kevin Hart
  60. “I spent four years in college. I didn’t learn a thing. It was really my own fault. I had a double major in psychology and reverse psychology.” – B.J. Novak
  61. “My wife says ‘ camping’s a tradition in my family’. it was a tradition in everyone’s family, til we invented the house.'” – Jim Gaffigan
  62. “I was coming out of the store earlier, I just bought some Oreos and Chips Ohoy. So I get outside and there’s this guy like ‘Hey brother, it’s my birthday today. And that was the first time in my life, without any sarcasm, I could say: What? You want a cookie or something?” – Hannibal Burress
  63. “I hate when people say age is only a number. Age is clearly a word!” – Kevin Hart

 

 

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