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Want to Know How to Be Funny? HERE’S HOW!

Making people laugh is really a gift. A gift that you’ll have and a gift that you’ll give. That’s why when Sam, a friend of mine asked me, “Ryan, I want to be funny. Do you know how to be funny?” Well, I thought, that’s kind of a FUNNY question… But I can tell you how to do it!

Making someone laugh is one of the best qualities you can have. However, this quality is not a cup of tea for everyone, especially when you don’t inherit this attribute naturally.

So, now you may be wondering how to be funny. Thankfully, being hilarious isn’t just a natural inheritance. Rather it is a skill that you can learn and implement at any given moment.

In short, you can improve your humor, strengthen your ability to think funny, and enhance your confidence to improvise on any content anywhere and anytime.

This article will help you learn the art of making people laugh by providing crucial tips and tricks. Trust us, your humor and perfect timing of cracking jokes will undoubtedly improve and leave a mark among your friends, family, and coworkers.

two girls laughing - how to be funny

How to Become Funny – Two Things to Consider

When you aspire to become funny, you would most probably think about comedians or people who are hilarious among your friends and family. While you might assume that being funny is all about thinking and saying amusing things, there are other aspects that you need to cover.

For instance, being hilarious is not always about cracking jokes and putting up laughable acts. Instead, it’s more about listening to your surroundings and picking up details that you can stitch together to produce witty acts.

In fact, recent research suggests that comedians who create acts based on their audience member’s experiences generate the strongest laughter. These observations produce bonds that make it more appealing and inviting, enhancing mutual understanding between the comedian and the audience.

Furthermore, being sensitive to even minute details can help you recognize what you can fill in your conversation to make it funny. So, the secret to being funny is to pick the right moment, understand your audience, and maintain a healthy balance between speaking and listening.

Likewise, knowing your limitations and understanding when to stop is a crucial aspect of being hilarious. If you feel that your top-notch jokes are falling apart without impacting your audience, it is always wise to take some rest. Besides, you can’t be funny all the time, and that’s the important thing to understand when you are learning the skills to be funny.

See also: Funny would you rather questions

two girls walking and laughing

What Makes Everyone Laugh?

A layman’s term for being funny can be creating a hilarious joke based on different subjects. While it is correct that we will laugh at creative and witty jokes, science explains that there are three factors in play to make everyone laugh.

These factors include superiority, relief, and incongruity based on years of research on the subject. However, humor is an elusive topic and may depend on how people persuade by the words and actions that a comedian delivers. In short, science still does not have a clear answer to what makes everyone laugh.

So how does science explain that superiority, relief, and incongruity make everyone laugh?

According to a study, psychologists and philosophers believed that humor revolves around a common ingredient. So, these pundits translated this concept and formalized their philosophical ideas to search for the true cause.

That’s where the idea of superiority surged up in the context, making it one of the oldest theories of humor.

In fact, Plato (an ancient Greek philosopher) believed that people laughed at others after judging their misfortune compared with the state that they were once. This position made them feel superior, generating humor based on misfortunes.

While superiority prevailed as the root of humor, the 18th century came up with a different theory. Sigmund Freud believed that laughter helped people release their steam or break down their nervous energy. Freud explained punch lines suppress inappropriate emotions and allow people to get relief through laughter.

Incongruity is the third theory that explains why people laugh. For instance, people find humor when incompatible concepts bear unexpected solutions. So, when a comedian cracks a joke that features double-meaning statements, people tend to relate to the statement in a whole new way.

But how do you implement these theories in your context?

While superiority, relief, and incongruity play a vital role in making people laugh, you must understand that being confident while cracking jokes is the basic step.

If you master self-confidence and understand how to share things with your audience, you will undoubtedly get results.

Now that you’ve understood the science behind humor, let’s find out the essential ingredients that will turn you into a great comedian.

Related: Funny pick up lines

a girl laughing

6 Essential Humor Ingredients – The ‘THREES’ Formula

If you want to attend professional comedy-writing classes, you will undoubtedly lay your hands on one of the best-selling books by Melvin Helitzer – Comedy Writing Secrets. In fact, many colleges use it as an essential textbook for comedy courses.

So why is ‘Comedy Writing Secrets’ regarded so highly in comedy writing? Helitzer developed a formula that answers the question, “How to be funny?” The book provides the six essential ingredients that anyone would require to become a successful comedian using the ‘THREES’ formula.

What Is The ‘THREES’ Formula?

The ‘THREES’ formula is actually an acronym, which marks the six different elements that make up a good one-liner or complete comedy act. In short, if you master these elements and act accordingly, you can create funny anecdotes at any given moment with minimal fuss.

Here is the breakdown of the ‘THREES’ formula:

1. T = Target

2. H = Hostility

3. R = Realism

4. E = Exaggeration

5. E = Emotion

6. S = Surprise

Let’s understand what each element represents and how you can use them to be funny.

1. Target

If you’ve ever watched a professional comedian setting up his act, you would probably notice that he will bring a target based on his audience. Since criticism plays a vital role in calibrating entertainment, comedians often use a specific target to create humor.

For instance, targeting someone that your audience can relate to makes them feel connected with your act. You can create jokes about the prejudices or hostilities that you may have with your specific target.

In fact, Helitzer explains that your target can be anybody or anything, provided you have chosen the right one depending on your audience. If you can click with the emotions of your audience, you can undoubtedly produce a great act.

Furthermore, selecting targets that have universal appeal is one of the best ways to develop a connection with your audience.

2. Hostility

Our lives have multiple hostile feelings, and humor can act as a powerful antidote. So, when you release your anger on targets that make your life dull, it will connect with your audience.

For instance, everyone carries hostile feelings about something or the other, and many a time, these emotions are often related to money, family, sex, authority, and technology.

So, when you pick up a target that you think will relate to your audience, you will grab their attention. Couple this target with your hilarious anger and comic hostility, and you undoubtedly amuse your listeners.

However, ensure that you follow the first step and pick the right target for the moment, as subjects that do not excite your audience might backfire.

See also: Funny questions to ask

3. Realism

Although jokes may sound funny and make you laugh, they often state the reality of life and, in some cases, the bitter truth. In fact, audiences always associate with topics that have a fundamental basis of reality so that they can apply their thoughts and pick the humor in the subject.

In short, sticking to reality and choosing the right topic for your audience is key to making an impact while doing your act. This method also works for one-to-one conversations or when you are with your friends or family.

Besides, realism in your words will always connect with your audience and help them relate to the subject with minimal fuss.

4. Exaggeration

The previous point talked about reality and sticking to it to find humor in your act. So why are we talking about exaggerating things and creating metaphors?

While sticking to realism offers easy access to your audience’s thought process, exaggerating things can amplify the humor to the next level. Since creative liberty allows creators to exaggerate reality, you can also play with the humor license to spice things up.

For instance, everyone is aware of what happened during the World War 2. So, you can expand the realistic events and spice them up with your soaring imagination to dramatize key moments. This method helps comedians to lighten such complex and real events and allows them to give a humorous take on past events.

Besides past events, you can also use this technique to lighten other subjects and make your audience laugh. However, ensure that you pick the right topic and apply your soaring imagination to good effect.

5. Emotion

Emotion is a driving factor of any act, and comedians use it very effectively. In fact, professionals use this technique to fill their script with tension and anxiety to build up anticipation among their listeners throughout their acts.

In short, it is a trick that allows professionals to engage with their audience, and you can do it too if you blend the right emotions to grab your listener’s attention.

So how does it work? As mentioned earlier, our lives have a set of hostile feelings for different reasons. So, when you use the second technique and introduce your hostile feelings to your audience, it acts as an inflated balloon. Your listeners will feel a sense of tension and anxiety and anticipate what will happen next.

That’s where you add more tension to the plot and enhance the anticipation to the next level. Your audience will have more interest in how your plot ends, thus bursting the inflated balloon.

In short, emotion is a primary weapon for any comedian, and if you want to be funny, you will have to master the art of creating tension and anxiety in your conversations.

6. Surprise

Surprise never fails to deliver emotions, especially when you are using them to make someone laugh. In fact, professional comedians use surprises to mentally prepare their audience and build anticipation when they are about to close the act.

For instance, surprise is an essential element for a successful joke, just like pulling the rug out while someone is standing on it. That’s how comedians pull the act and leave their audience speechless and surprised by incorporating a mix of emotions, exaggeration, reality, and hostility.

However, you must create a build-up and let your audience stand on the rug in the first place. So, creating an act that includes hostility, reality, exaggeration, and emotions is the perfect way to reveal the surprise you have stored for your audience.

In short, you must learn and practice the art of fooling your audience and letting them fall into your trap without revealing your secrets.

a group of girls against a wall smiling

How To Be Funny In Different Situations

If you are not aiming to become a professional comedian and your goal is to become someone that has the qualities to attract others with humor, you will have to master different situations. Here are some situations that you can pick your humor to the next level.

How To Be Funny In Person

Let’s say that you are in a group where you’re wondering how you can make others laugh. The best way to create humor when you are in a group is to find funny aspects of the people in the group.

You can practice this method by studying similar scenarios in movies, stand-up shows, or TV shows. Once you start noticing and figuring out the funny aspects in different situations, you will have a lot more to express in your conversation.

Not to forget, incorporating funny facial expressions, comic voices, and physical comedy will also help you connect with your audience better. However, ensure that you understand your niche and find the right target to bring the best out of your act.

a girl laughing at work - how to be funny at work

How To Be Funny At Work

Being funny at work can be tough, especially when you have a strict work culture. However, several business and management courses believe that humor at work can do wonders for an individual and the office as a whole.

Humor generates a perspective atmosphere and enhances levity, which reduces tension and work stress. In fact, researchers believe that conversational humor at work can boost job satisfaction and make colleagues feel happier.

Furthermore, laughter strengthens the social bond and allows colleagues to work together more efficiently. So, being funny at work will actually increase your productivity and strengthen your bond with other colleagues.

So how to be funny at work? While creating tension and setting up an act might entice a large audience, an office setup requires a different approach. You will have to rely more on self-generated jokes rather than reactive humor.

Besides self-generated jokes, you can also share quick observational stories with your colleagues. These quick conversations will help you get noticed in your office, and you will have bodies turned towards you at most times.

How To Be Funny While Messaging (Texting)

Crafting witty messages can sound a lot easier, but creating humor over text can be challenging. Since text only contains words, your presentation and the way you craft those messages play a significant role in generating humor. In short, you may have the situation, but expressing those thoughts in words can be hard.

The best way to be funny over text messages is by reducing your anxiety about overthinking. Likewise, pinpointing too much on your partner’s responses can also trigger unwanted moments while messaging. Instead, make fun of yourself and let your partner know that you always look at the funny side of every prospect.

For instance, linguistic playfulness, where you manipulate phrases and languages in a funny way, can bring smiles to the one across the line. In short, you can swap phrases or words and create something funny specific to you.

This way, your partner will connect with your emotions and will love to engage more through text messages.

Related: Text conversation starters

girls out on a night laughing

How Can I Tell A Joke?

There is no shortcut to presenting a joke that will make others laugh. In fact, even professional comedians spend days and months practicing their timing to crack the perfect joke at the perfect time.

In short, you will have to practice a lot and accompany those punch lines with physical comedy to get maximum effect.

The right way? What’s that!?

So how can we ‘Tell a Joke’ the right way? As mentioned earlier, telling a joke requires skill and is all about knowing your audience and understanding what they want to hear. So creating tension and anxiety, coupled with emotions and surprises, will undoubtedly keep your audience glued to your conversation.

For instance, if you’ve created a joke, the first thing you would want to do is evaluate whether your joke is laugh-worthy. If you feel otherwise, your audience will probably do the same. The core idea is to become your own judge and fan and to decide which witty funnies go out in the real act.

Likewise, try to become a good listener and spend time practicing observational humor. Once you master these techniques, you can pull off a great joke, even if you’re cracking an old joke.

Creating jokes about yourself is also a great start, as you can pull things about your life more than others. However, if your jokes aren’t working with your audience, you must also learn to ditch them to save your connection.

group of guys laughing at each other

Here are some points that will help you tell a joke successfully:

  • Practice your jokes properly and try to include physical comedy.
  • Remember to implement the rule of ‘THREES’ and incorporate tension, patterns, and surprises in your act.
  • Evaluate your jokes and figure out whether they are laugh-worthy to your audience.
  • Try to incorporate observational humor in your jokes.
  • Include jokes about your life and try to relate them to your audience.

These points will help you prepare for a laugh fest and make you eye candy in any situation. However, always ensure that your jokes are not offensive to anyone. If you feel that your jokes may not work for some groups, it would be best to put them aside and stick to your guns.

How To Be Funny – FAQ

1. How to tell a funny story

Stories are longer formats of jokes, which means you will have to practice harder to pull them off successfully. The best way to tell funny stories is to incorporate pauses, contrasting word choices, and create unique phrases in your story.

Furthermore, keep your stories short, and focus more on answering follow-up questions. This way, your audience will connect more with your story and find it interesting.

2. How can I be more entertaining?

Being entertaining can be a lot different than being funny. Although there are some similarities between them, you will have to strike the right balance to achieve both ends.

Here are some things that you can do to become more entertaining:

  • Avoid doing things that are not interesting.
  • Stop exploring uninteresting things and try to fix your mind on things that excite you.
  • Spend time with interesting people and ask what they do or consume.
  • Spend time making great conversations and try to explore interesting things that you haven’t tried.

3. How can I be funny on a date?

Going on a date with a stranger can be hectic, especially when you try to be funny. A single mistake can misfire, turning your date into a disaster. The best way to impress the other person is to become an interesting first. Be truthful about yourself and explain yourself to your partner.

Furthermore, turning into a good listener and laughing at witty things that the other person is saying is an ideal start. Always remember to absorb the things that your date is saying while including funny conversations in between.

4. How can I be less boring and more fun?

Feeling bored is the biggest enemy of fun that keeps you away from entertainment and funny conversations. The best way to drop this dull nature is by incorporating interesting things into your life.

You can create spicy goals for your future, try out interesting activities and things, make relationships with interesting people, and explore your desires and funny moments.

Fact checked:
Board reviewed by Marianne Tomlinson, LCSW (Couples and Family Therapy). Content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Learn more.

About the author

Ryan Sanderson (LCSW) Ryan is a game and relationship enthusiast who enjoys all things quizzes, games, fun, love, relationships, and family. He's a licensed social worker and helps families, couples, and children in need. He's spoken about love and relationships on Salon.com, Forbes, and Mirror, to name a few.

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