How to be funny: What Makes People Laugh?

February 24, 2012

Is it because we need stimulation of all sorts that we want to laugh?

Does telling silly jokes fill a void or act as something to take our mind away from it all?

Below are the six good reasons for telling silly jokes, funny stories and anecdotes:

1. BUST THE TENSION: When I have completed a serious job at the end of a work day, I like to be with others who will ease the tension – naturally and without booze or stimulants – that is – relating some jokes or funny stories. Even at a ‘wake’ I feel there is a time to celebrate, and funny anecdotes about the departed (well selected for respectability) can be appropriate and serve to ease tension – think of the film: “Four Weddings and a Funeral”.

2. SOCIALIZE: I often just want to make another person feel at ease and part of the group, so I tell a silly joke that I think they will all enjoy. This started for me as a grade 9’er in high school. I was invited to Grade 13 parties (my girlfriend was a bit older). At the first party, we were sitting around telling jokes. Being young, inexperienced, and a bit shy and feeling awkward, I had no idea what to say but launched into a joke anyway. Everyone laughed hysterically and I had no idea that it was such a funny story. I thought to myself – ‘These are really nice people to make me feel so welcome’.

3. CHALLENGING AN INSULT: Sometimes, I sense that someone is trying to insult by ‘lording something over another” – and it would be a plus to be able to “put them in their place” – without being equally malicious. My wife loves this following story and tells it often, I think because there have been in her past, a few ‘friends’ who really saw themselves as competitors. – and she has a chance to say a ‘naughty’ word.

At a chance meeting with an old classmate after 20 years, the now beautifully coiffed woman came up to me and started to tell me about her life and how great everything is. She started with, “I have a Mercedes for winter and a Porsche for summer driving.” Trying to be polite, I answered, “That is fantastic!” She continued, “My two children are both honour students and going to the best schools.” I said, “Fantastic!” “And,” she continued, “my husband makes over $300 thousand a year, we live in Forest Hill and we travel all the time.” I said again, “Fantastic!” In a half spirited, somewhat disdainful way, this woman took a breath, looked at me pityingly to ask, “And what have you done in the last 20 years, Dear?” I responded, “I went to finishing school in Switzerland.” She then interrupted with – – – “And what did you learn there, Dear?” . . . After a short pause, I looked at her pleasantly and responded, “Oh . . . I learned to say ‘Fantastic!’ instead of ‘Bullshit’.

4. SIMPLY FEEL GOOD: Every so often, I walk down the hall in the plaza at work and think of a little silly joke to share with my hairdresser who has a business at the end of the hall. She likes jokes that are a little risqué – a little spicy. If I can’t think of one, I turn to a one liner from Born Silly Jokes. So many of her clients have sad stories to tell her and too few people try to brighten her day. I tell the joke so that anyone within earshot can hear. They all get a good laugh and a release from monotony and their own troubles – including me.

5. MAKE A BORING SITUATION TOLERABLE: During my high school days, my Grade 12 Chemistry teacher, Miss Knox, pulled me aside before the first class of the year and said, “Willie, I will allow you three jokes per class but on the fourth – you’re out”. True to her word, I was only ‘thrown out’ of class three times that year because I tried to show some restraint and a lot of respect for a person with understanding and a sense of humour. Another teacher, Miss Kirby, was a little more staid and considerably older, so no jokes allowed. Except once . . . Returning to class after winter break, she told the class of her adventure in the West Indies. Thrilled with her experience, she sang the praises of the special palm tree that she saw. It blooms only once every 100 years and it was her good fortune to see it. Without hesitation (or consequential thinking) I blurted out, “How many times?” After a shocked time lapse, everyone in class, including Miss Kirby had a good laugh. What a good sport she turned out to be.

6. GET CLOSER WITH FRIENDS: What happens when friends get together at a home? Do they watch TV, read their own books, or sit around quietly? – not likely. When I visit, I’m prepared for fun whether the host introduces a game to play, or we are there for a meal, or the evening is just to ‘catch up’ with friends. Think about the days before TV and computers when friends would meet to tell stories, anecdotes, or just random silly jokes. Many were true stories of times shared or of incidents about everyone present. It was a time to laugh WITH others not ABOUT others. Even now, when my group of friends visits, we gather in the living room and tell ‘silly jokes’ for hours. It has taken years of practice, a desire to share, and the will to have and make fun.

When learning how to be funny, it is important to understand the social situations people tell jokes in. Also to understand why people tell jokes… then you can really start to chime in at the right time with your silly jokes.

How to be funny? Find a good Listener

February 13, 2012

Have you ever started telling a joke and someone just tries to kill the mood… Well, every joke teller needs at least one good joke listener to be funny.

If you want to learn how to be funny, then you have to find that audience that will want to laugh, want to be involved when you tell your jokes.

Try this today…
Search through our site… there are many long jokes to tell… find one you like, use the advice below when telling it and have fun… good luck… hope you laughed.

How to tell jokes as a story…
Telling a joke is one thing, getting people involved is another… to get them involved, you must get into the joke, start telling it as if it were a true story… with some drama, make eye contact, use your hands, change the tone of your voice as if you have something to tell of a secretive nature… people love rumors, so get into the story yourself as if it were the first time you heard it also… people will only possibly realize it’s a joke half way through and by that time, getting to the punch line is irresistible.

Some jokes take a long set up and require that an audience be patient so – find an attentive individuals if need be.

Don’t worry about the fumble…
For example, yesterday, my father began telling a joke to my wife and my daughter-in-law and remembered half way through that he had forgotten one part. Not thinking it was necessary, he proceeded to the end. They laughed politely. I think that they thought that either they did not understand the punch line or it was not a funny joke. Remembering what he left out, he added it after and they laughed a little and said: “Oh, now I get it”. Polite and patient. Next time, I know he will rehearse a little before launching into a longer joke.

The awkward “I don’t get it?” response
Some people just cannot seem to get certain jokes. Be patient when giving further explanation of the joke and laugh with them when they finally get it.

Yes Yes, I know it already…
Sometimes you’ll hear “Oh, I heard that one before,”. When you hear that, smile, make an offhand comment like “nice” and continue, focusing your energy and actions on the unsuspecting audience…

Beware the offensive nature of a joke…
The only time that interrupting a joke teller is prudent is when you hear them getting into the murky water of racist or inappropriate stereotyping. As in: “Did you hear how many _______ it takes to ……?” To save everyone embarrassment, you might hear someone say half jokingly, “Wait a minute, that’s not good for me.” That is the que to stop and quickly enter the backup joke… so if you are prepared, you might start a different more appropriate joke like: “But I did hear the one where a husband.”
These are simple rules of thumb that can help you answer how to be funny, but practice will make perfect…

Build your reputation
The more you tell “stories” as jokes, the more people will take you as a jokes authority. They will already be mentally prepared to laugh or go along with you when you start the jokes… Almost every meal I sit down to with my family, my father will have a great story to tell, and even after more than 30 years of listening, I am waiting for the joke… there is always a good laugh around the table…

How to be funny using email

February 8, 2012

Learning how to be funny isn’t only how to tell jokes in person, but it is positioning yourself as a funny personality in all that you do. You don’t have to always tell a funny joke, send one in an email to your close buds.

There are several ways to be funny and make people laugh without actually telling a funny joke. Any other suggestions, please reply to this…

FIRST Find a good joke on this site (Try hitting the RANDOM FUNNY JOKES link at top right) or a video on youtube or a random picture… something original… the net is made to share… it only takes a second… DO IT 😉

Remember, know your audience. Sending certain jokes to a child or to a kind, yet naïve old aunt would be inappropriate because they likely would not understand the sexual connotations or the nuance of the twist at the end. On the other hand, I could send it to my dad without any hesitation…

I sent the one below to my dad the other day… Remember, it’s not making fun of a person with Alzheimer’s; it is the reflection on yourself that brings the laugh. Check it…


You should take this Alzheimer’s Test How fast can you guess these words and fill-in the blanks?
1. _ _NDOM
2. F_ _K
3. P_N_S
4. PU_S_
5. S_X
6. BOO_S

5. SIX

You got all 6 wrong….didn’t you? . . . While you may NOT have Alzheimer’s . . .
You might well be a Pervert HAHAHA

I think I may write one on how to be funny using social media… SEND ME YOUR NEEDS…

If you liked this article, let me know… I will continue to figure out ways to help you on how to be funny.

How to be funny telling quick jokes

February 6, 2012

Yes, anyone can learn how to be funny. Learning how to tell jokes is a skill for the young or old, man or woman. You start by focusing on 5 things:


These are the best things to practice if you want to be funny. BUT HOW you ask? Start small with the examples below… good luck…

Today, choose one of the funny jokes from the list below… picture saying it to a few people, and then go try… if it doesn’t get a smile on the first one, try again…

NOTE: Where it is BOLDED below… EMPHASISE and where you see THREE DOTS “…” pause…

How To Be Funny – Example 1

I just came out of the shop with a meat and potato pie, large chips, mushy peas & a jumbo sausage . . . A poor homeless man sat there and said . . . ‘I’ve not eaten for two days.’ I told him . . . ‘I wish I had your will power.’

Just make sure that you are not telling a story that will offend the listener (your audience).

How To Be Funny – Example 2

A large girl served me in McDonald’s at lunch time. She said . . . ‘Sorry about the wait.’ I said, ‘Don’t worry dear . . . you’re bound to lose it eventually.’

Using curse words is unnecessary, yet some audiences like a little risqué to a funny joke.

How To Be Funny – Example 3

Snow in the forecast! The TV weather gal said she was expecting 8 inches tonight.
I thought to myself . . . ‘Fat chance with a face like that!


How To Be Funny – Example 4

I lost a Trivia competition on the last question – which I got wrong. The question was, ‘Where do women have the curliest hair?’ . . . The answer should have been: ‘Fiji’.

There are ethnic jokes that can be easily told because, typically there are groups who enjoy the twists and nuances of their culture.

How To Be Funny – Example 5

A man in a hot air balloon is lost over Ireland. He looks down and sees a farmer in the fields and shouts to him, ‘Where am I?’ The Irish farmer looks back up and shouts back . . . “You’re in that basket up there.”

The kings of comedy, the Catskill comics of the 20’s to the 60’s could throw out ‘one liners’ with ease and they are just as funny jokes today as they were the first 20 times I heard them.

How To Be Funny – Example 6

Doctor: “You’ll live to be 60!”
Patient: “I am 60!”
Doctor: “See! What did I tell you?”

Patient: “I have a ringing in my ears.”
Doctor: “Don’t answer!”

There are so many times in the English language when we mean to say one thing . . . but listeners unintentionally interpret it a different way. You can do this intentionally with short – one, two or three line stories like the ones above. People love to think that they figured out the twist, the double entendre or why they are amused by a joke.

You may have a jealous person in your audience, rolling their eyes at the start of your joke as to try and put you off. Don’t be distracted. You know how to tell jokes, so go get a laugh and disregard the the bullshitters. You already know the basics of how to be funny.

How to be funny using personal frustrations

February 5, 2012

Can it be done? Yes, and it can get a belly laugh as well. Our video below shows a great example of this… 3 minutes of solid fun. A friend sent this to me, and after watching it a bunch of times, I had to post it.

Today’s lesson… The humour found in frustrating social issues can often be amplified by differences in culture, race, sex… essentially most things on the list of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms somewhere around Chapter 11 (if I am not mistaken)… however Comedian beware… know your audience and refine your delivery to have no Mal intent. You certainly don’t want to offend (see the last paragraph “BEWARE THE INSULT” of this blog for some solid advice).

This video depicts an example of what is really coming to the world of voice activation. These guys take a frustrating experience and turn it into funny, wonderful comedy… The frustration is compounded with every attempt to circumvent the program and culminates with a great little twist at the end.

Of course, this kind of frustrating event is usually more funny when it’s happening to others as opposed to us.

My laughter grew with every attempt by the two Scottish comedians to prompt the voice activated elevator. I must have cranked up the sound a bit and forgot to turn it down because the people in the next office heard it and became infected with laughter too. If you have ever used one of these voice activated gadgets, you know that it is so bloody true; it’s funny to watch other people try to overcome the accent problem.

How will we handle the biases in languages, the presumptions of our own accents, and regional differences? We have Siri on IPhone, Bluetooth in our car, while major corporations are using it to connect with departments, and telephone companies use it to allow a search. Now it’s coming to elevators. So much good comedy to be found in all this…

BEWARE THE INSULT… On a more serious note, notice the self-deprecating nature of their actions and comments. They have so much fun making fun of themselves and their Scottish culture. It is what makes the Scots, the Irish and Newfoundlander’s so endearing. Yet it is still difficult to mention the idiosyncrasies of any culture unless you are really part of it, so be careful to consider your audience and your standing within that community. This is still a sensitive world where some people take slights on their culture seriously. Russel Peters, Don Rickles, and Chris Rock are a few comedians who, thankfully, have the ability to poke fun at almost anyone or any culture but they still maintain boundaries of decorum, tradition and common sense around disabilities, religion, sexual orientation and race. Sure they focus mainly on the culture they come from and can even say some pretty serious things about themselves and because it is self-deprecating rather than a perceived attack by an outsider, we laugh. So each of these comedians can call a friend by a derogatory term but someone from a different culture could be hauled over the coals for saying the same things. Quick note: Audience, delivery and no Mal intent… good luck.

Before we sign out… Another fine example of today’s comedy lesson…

Siri meets Siri

Remember, when you get an idea like that… record it on your Iphone and put it on YOUTUBE… anyone can become a star these days… now you are one more step closer to solving the mystery of how to be funny.

How to be funny – Using suspense is KEY

January 28, 2012

This new category will be updated regularly to share ways in which you can be funny in your daily interactions with others…

We have used the buddy hackett jokes video below on a few pages within our site, but that is because such a simple video offers so much value in teaching us how to be funny.

While this clip might be considered a bit risqué because of its content and the reference to penis, you will be hard pressed to find a more perfectly orchestrated funny joke. Buddy Hackett is a scream in this and it is a perfect example of how to tell jokes.

He builds the story from the ground up giving just enough background to set the scene. Then, with his pauses, his glances and his facial expressions during the pauses, he puuulllls the audience along – not knowing what to expect next.

(today, try to find a joke and build on the suspense with your audience)

Without giving away the joke, you will notice in the clip that he gives three punch lines throughout – starting with
– what he says is the girlfriend’s first reaction;
– then the mother’s reaction;
– and then the twist (the unexpected) at the end – the ‘badaboom’.

Check it out once more…

PS… This category will be updated often to help you find a daily way to build your skills and be funny…

I have always loved making people laugh at least once a day, so we will do our best to share with you how to do the same in your own lives