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Laughter is the best medicine and a great icebreaker for a first date, as a sense of humor is as the number one turn-on for many women. But it’s one thing to have a great sense of humor, it’s quite another to have everyone in stitches.
Okay, the first thing you need to do is relax. No one’s going to throw tomatoes at you if you strike out, and you’re not going for some life-altering test. You just want to add some spice to your life and conversations, and appear more easygoing.
So don’t put so much pressure on yourself — you just want to get people to laugh, or at least smile.
Don’t take things seriously
Ease up on life and yourself; get used to taking things with a grain of salt. See the humor in situations; you’ll see that most situations, even getting a $200 dollar speeding ticket or falling down on a banana peel have humor written all over them — the trick is finding them and being able to laugh at yourself.
Be pop culture savvy
You can’t be funny if you don’t have any references or material. The broader your general knowledge is, the funnier the remarks you’ll make. You can’t say a Homer-esque comment if you don’t know who The Simpsons are, and Allllrrriiighttty then! doesn’t have the same effect if you’ve never seen Ace Ventura: Pet Detective .
So the more you know film, TV, music, and everything pop culture, the greater the chance of being funny. Broaden your horizons and stay up-to-date with current events in the news, and you’ll be surprised at how much material will randomly come to you. You may even get to be someone’s lifeline on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? .
Don’t imitate others
You want to know about famous actors and comedians, but by the same token, you don’t want to get caught using someone else’s material. So rather than reciting that great Chris Rock line you heard the other night and passing it off as your own, use the joke in Chris Rock’s intonation. That way, people know you’re using his joke, and it can still be considered hysterical.
Or, if you’re stuck waiting in a department store line with your buddy for 45 minutes, and when you finally get to the cash, the cashier just refuses to let you return a sweater that has a defect on it, say something like, “This is such a Seinfeld situation,” thereby giving Jerry credit while getting a laugh or two.
Find your style
Another reason to avoid imitating actors and comedians is because it may not suit your style. If you’re not a very sarcastic or cynical person, it makes it hard to imitate someone like David Letterman or Chandler from Friends (besides, your friends will get annoyed when you keep saying, “Could this BE more [fill in the blank]?”). If you’re rather quiet and subdued, it’ll be nearly impossible to take on Robin Williams’ or Jim Carrey’s humor.
You can always take bits and pieces of others’ humor, but you’ll want to adapt your shtick to your own style and personality — in turn, this’ll be easier for you and sound more genuine as you won’t have to try as hard.
Have a joke pool
You never know when a situation calls for a joke, like if you’re at a lame party, chatting with some acquaintances. This is where a reserve of jokes can come in handy. Humor yourself with a joke a day to take a break from your daily tasks, and keep the ones you like best in mind. That way, you’ll always have several in stock for when the time is right.
Of course, you don’t want to break into your best “A rabbi, a priest and a nun walk into a bar…” joke in the middle of a conversation with your manager, but you’ll know when to resort to your pool. One-liners and witty comments are the best to have, as they can be used in many contexts.
Know your audience
There’s a time and a place for everything, and just like you need to know your audience when giving a speech, you need to know whom you’re delivering a joke to. This said, save the dirty jokes for your friends, and the witty comments for your girlfriend’s parents.
Get your delivery and timing right
Being funny isn’t only about telling great jokes; it’s all in your mannerism, attitude, how you project yourself, and your delivery. Be animated and alive when you speak, and you can make any story funny.
Make eye contact with people, speak with confidence, and everyone will want to hear your stories. On the other hand, if your humor is more dark, sarcastic, or neurotic (a la Woody Allen, Steven Wright and George Costanza), then play the part and talk in a monotonous voice. Your delivery has to go with your humor, and if your timing is off, then it can ruin the entire joke.
Use people as props
You’re not Carrot Top so drop the props. Rather than using objects as props, use people (I didn’t say to use people as the butt of your jokes). What always gets a rise out of the ladies is trying to sell things to strangers on the street, like selling your wallet to an old lady. Or start talking to your invisible friend — just make sure others know you’re kidding around and haven’t gone crazy.
Don’t worry about bombing
Your goal isn’t to strike a 10 on the Laugh-o-Meter, and every great comedian bombs every now and then. So don’t worry if no one gets your joke — just ignore it or laugh at yourself, and whatever you do: do not delve into your bag of jokes and continue trying to make everyone laugh — you don’t want to try too hard.
Develop your own persona
Smiling is infectious, so if you smile a lot while talking, it’ll encourage others to laugh.
- Be animated and energetic when you’re telling a story, it’ll make your stories more interesting and captivate listeners.
- Be blunt; this usually takes people by surprise and can end up being pretty funny.
- Make sure your timing is right.
- When telling a joke, don’t laugh before the punch line.
- Be creative. It’ll inspire you to be funny.
Remember, you don’t need to be the life of the party; being funny is just a great asset as it makes you look easygoing and approachable, helps you handle certain awkward situations, makes you more sociable, and is a great turn-on to women.
But while you want to be funny, you don’t want to be the office clown. If you’re typecast as the joker no one will ever take you seriously, so know when to be funny and when to be serious, or the joke will be on you.