How to be Funny: The 101 Crash Course

So you’re looking for tips on how to be funny. Awesome. Last time we talked about conversation starters you can use, now it’s time for yet another great subject.

Want to make friends? Be funny. Need to get out of an awkward situation? Be funny. Need to break the ice? Be funny. Want to become a stand-up comedian? Yes, you guessed it, be funny.

Let’s face it – being funny is the ultimate goal.

You might find it hard to believe, but people with a great sense of humor are way smarter. They are more fun to be around.

For some, being funny comes naturally. Lucky for them. While for others, well, let’s just say they have it hard in life.

How hard? Say you do not have a single funny bone in you, yet you decide to just go for it. And go, you did. The reaction you get, however, is not what you expected.

The scene where you see everyone howling in laughter with fat tears rolling down their cheeks? Nope. Instead, they are awkwardly laughing it off or simply staring at you like you have got some screws loose.

You get the picture!

Today, we will help you learn how to be funny and become everyone’s favorite comedian.

Now back to the main question: How to be funny?

Even if you’re not naturally funny like others, you can always learn to make people laugh. So, without further ado, here are some ways you can have humor at your fingertips.

Say Something Funny during Awkward Situations

Here’s a known fact: Humor is a great way to disarm people mentally.

Take this situation, for instance. On the first day of my college, I walked into a room packed with strangers. As soon as I entered, the first thing I noticed was the unsure whispers and the discomfort filling the air.

The uneasiness was so thick, I wondered if I could actually cut it with a knife. Right then, our homeroom professor walked in and guess what he did?

Ding. Ding. Ding. You got it right! He made a joking remark.

“So, who died?” He simply asked with a smirk.

Yes, it’s one of the most cliché phrases, but I kid you not, it did its magic.

Without even a minute to spare, everyone chuckled or at least cracked a smile.

So you see what he did there? He dissipated the discomfort everyone was feeling with just a witty remark.

If you ever come across situations like this, what you can do is put their guard down with a joke and boom! You’re a lifesaver! Isn’t that awesome?

Give an Unexpected Response

Have you ever tried this strategy? If not, it’s high time you should. A witty, unexpected response will bring out the laughs you’re expecting.

Let me take you back to a moment between Jennifer Lawrence and an interviewer during the world premiere of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

“How are you?” was the simple question from the interviewer.

Jennifer responded with an, “I’m good! I just found two Mentos in my pocket!”

She then proceeded to show the said mentos, earning her laughter from the people around. You see how she easily lightens the mood of the people and also the environment around her.

The Butt of the Joke

Sometimes it’s okay to be the butt of the joke yourself. But that clearly depends on how you approach this method. Never make a self-deprecatory joke about something you feel vulnerable about.

With that said, let’s take the example of the well-known comedian, Kevin Hart.

He often makes funny comments about his short stature on his comedy shows, which makes everyone fall to their knees.

The reason he is able to work this strategy is because he is in a position of authority, and knows he owns every moment.

Opposite Response to a Simple Yes/No Question

Who are we even kidding! This step is one of the easiest ways you can earn the title of being funny. When someone is expecting a yes, respond with the opposite.

Once again, let’s learn about Jennifer Lawrence’s strategy.

On The Jimmy Kimmel Show, Jennifer appeared as the guest host for the first time and interviewed Kim Kardashian. Stephen Colbert decides to mention this moment during his interview with the actress and comments: “Not that easy, huh?”

Jennifer replied with a, “Pretty easy! Not that hard!”

You should have or might have seen the surprised look on Stephen Colbert’s face. Right after, Jennifer Lawrence went about telling how difficult it really was.

Try Exaggerating your Stories

How is exaggeration funny?

State a fact and simply exaggerate it to the point that it paints a ridiculous picture in your audience’s head.

An example of Henry Youngman, a comedian when he said:

‘All my wife does is shop. Once she was sick for a week, and three stores went under’.

Here, Henry talks about his wife’s immense love for shopping and exaggerates the fact.

Another example is Kevin Hart mentioning about his lying habits in the funniest, most exaggerated way possible in one of his shows.

Trust me when I say his comment cracked me up good.

The Rule of Threes

The rule of three forms a pattern that ends with a twist. Many comedians widely use this rule, and it has proven to be one they favor the most.

A famous comedian, Chris Rock, once said:

“There are only three things women need in life: food, water, and compliments.”

By adding ‘compliment’ with the most basic needs, he catches his audience’s attention as his phrase is funny yet true.

Some few more examples:

  • Blood, sweat, and sarcasm.
  • Can I get you anything? Tea, coffee, manners?

Here’s another famous rule-of-three phrase by Charlie Chaplin:

“All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl.”

Now try the rule of threes yourself and see if you could give the third an unexpected answer.

Use Real-Life Experiences as Material

Sometimes it’s not easy to come up with something funny on the spot. So what most comedians do is they talk about funny real-life incidents that happen in their everyday life.

Some famous comedians, such as Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, mostly use this approach.

Another example is Kevin Hart on his stand-up films, ‘Let Me Explain’ and ‘Laugh At My Pain.’ He openly talks and jokes about his real-life experiences.

So, next time you face an embarrassing situation, note it down on your ‘Topic I can Joke about’ list.

Find your Secret Weapon

Just like Sofia Vergara, find a word or phrase and make it your secret weapon. For her, her go-to word is ‘whatever.’

For example, during Sofia’s interview at the Ellen DeGeneres show, she mispronounces the word ‘Pyramids.’ When Ellen starts teasing her, she did not get angry or embarrassed as one would expect or behave.

Instead, she shot her weapon. By dismissing the situation with a ‘whatever,’ she turned things around and made it funnier.

There are other instances where Sofia Vergara turned the tables around with just one word, making people love her more.

On a side note, I always enjoy a good ‘whatever’ moment. How about you?

Learn Sarcasm for Specific Purposes

Most comedians agree that sarcasm is a form of art, and they use this tactic to get the humor going. Bill Murray may very well attest that this is true!

To be sarcastic, reply to a question by saying something funny but with a deadpan or serious face.

Let’s take the example of Chandler Bing from the famous sitcom ‘Friends.’

In my opinion, Chandler’s sarcastic remarks were the cherries on top. It was one of the reasons why I binge-watched the show. Like many others, I learned the way to sarcasm from the ‘Sarcasm King’ himself.

While having said that, keep in mind that sarcasm does not work every time. You need to know when and where to draw the line. Some people simply do not get the fun in sarcasm, or they just don’t like it.

Find the Funny in Everything

Some people always have a witty remark ready at the tip of their tongue at every right situation or occasion. It gets you wondering – how do they even do it?

I’ll let you in on a secret that’s not much of a secret. Humor is a skill that anyone can learn.

What you need to do first is, try and find the funny in everything. It’s the most excellent strategy of all time.

Why do you have to be so serious? Start viewing the world from a different perspective, and then you’ll see the humor within every tiny detail or action.

Observe the things around you and practice yourself to notice the humor. Once you achieve this, you’ll see the funny side of everything.

The comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, calls it the ‘third eye.’ Awaken your third eye – the eye that sees the absurdity and all the funny things happening around.

Here’s an example – Try and compare your daily life at work to one of the popular sitcoms, ‘The Office.’ You’ll definitely identify the ridiculousness and the contrast between the two. If you don’t, once again, make use of your third eye.

Additionally, if you’re familiar with the meme, ‘find the funny,’ apply it to your daily life. You got to keep digging until you locate the humor.

Now that we have got that part covered let me tell you one more thing. There are times you need to hold your joke back.

For example, no death jokes at a funeral. You’ll end up offending people, and you do not want that.

Watch Comedy Shows for Inspiration

Any comedian will at least mention one or two of their role models or shows they get their inspirations from. You, too, can learn to be funny. Observe a particular comedian of your genre or watch stand-up comedies and comedy films.

Focus on not just the funny phrases, but also the way the experts move and behave when telling a joke. Find the pattern. The timing, expression, tone – all these are what makes comedy matter.

Notice how the professionals create characters by using voices or the way they just smile or chuckle.

Here’s one crucial thing you need to take heed of. Do not laugh at your own jokes before you even get to finish your lines.

Surely, your audience will find it boring or just plain annoying if you’re the only one laughing at your own jokes. That doesn’t sound too good!

You’ll only end up becoming a laughing stock and not in a good way.

Practice Makes Perfect

Some people just know how to be funny, but that does not mean they are born with it.

Everybody starts out small. It’s the same case with every famous comedian you know or heard of. The practice is what got them where they are today.

So what’s stopping you?

First things first, practice one joke – a thousand times if you have to until it gets you a laugh. Make it the ideal joke that you can whip out anytime you feel is the right moment.

Once you have mastered that, the next step is to find the confidence and the funny personality in you. A joke only works if you express it the right way.

You can even find a humor partner. They can assist you during your training period and help you develop your skills.

Last but not least, you need to have a great sense of humor. There’s no meaning to making someone laugh if you do not find the humor yourself.

In any case, you should first try to understand what kind of niche humors you most.

The Bottom Line on How to be Funny

Well, there you go – a complete guide on how to be funny. Follow these tips, and you’ll surely see yourself in a different ‘funny’ light. Practice, play around with your words, give your all, and you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

Being funny is a gift in itself. There’s no doubt that people will like you more. It’ll also boost your mental power and tolerance simultaneously. All these good things by just being funny? You have got to try it too.

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