10 Keys to Being Funny
By Charles Hopkins
Published 05/2/2006 | Humor
Have you ever noticed that certain people are always being asked to M.C. the company staff party or their friends wedding? They have funny comments to make about various topics during a conversation. They make you see things in ways that you never imagined; ways that make you see the funny side of life. Theyre usually the life of the party. They make you laugh, or at least chuckle inside.
Being a humorous person allows you establish some relationships better and faster than other people. You will become more outgoing in a crowd and may be able to set people at ease in various situations.
If you aspire to be this type of person, then you most likely have a mad streak in your personality that is making you stoop low enough to actually learn how to be funny. Youre the perfect candidate for the task.
While humor is an art form that seems to develop from within, its definitely something that can also be learned. However, it takes a lot of demented practice sessions and some real-life trial and error to master it. At first, you may see a lot of blank faces but keep persisting. The more you practice this art, the more natural you will be. Funny gestures, facial expressions, and comments will become second nature.
Being funny though is not the enough. Knowing when to be funny is paramount, and this comes only with experience and maybe from a few weird looks from others. Obviously there are times that are appropriate and times that are not.
Humor takes on different faces in different settings and groups. There is a style of humor for wedding receptions, for large and small groups, for staff rooms, parties, friends, church, individuals, committee meetings, and even seemingly staunch boardroom meetings.
While the actual learning the art of humor is too big to fit this small article, here are ten keys to great humor:
1) Be bold. Theres nothing that kills humor more than being shy. If you are using discretion, theres room for humor almost anywhere, including your Bible study group or corporate boardroom.
2) Humor is, in part, about telling people what they want hear but would never actually say. For example, very few people would talk about light-hearted public bathroom embarrassments. It is amazing how far you can go, even at a church function, and remain Family Rated.
3) Learn from others. Know someone whos really funny? Watch them carefully. Also, check out the sitcoms on TV. There, you will find both well scripted and improvised humor, including exaggerated facial expressions and body movements that reinforce the words or theme being used.
Sitcoms are great at turning life into something surreal and funny. They take minute details of life and blow them up until you can see how funny they are. Ever watched Mr. Bean?
4) Use a mirror. If youre going to M.C. an event, or do anything in public, dont be afraid to use a mirror to practice with. Many humorous movie stars use this technique. Even if youre a school bus driver just making faces for the little kids in the bus parked in front of you, youll be amazed at how a mirror at home can help you get some laughs and some big cheesy grins from the kids.
5) Use discretion. Use appropriate humor for the appropriate crowd. Although you can stretch the border at a church function, like talking about boys turning their underwear inside out at camp to get another couples of days use out of them, you cant use off-color language etc.
6) Take a fresh look at life situations. For example, what would a man do if his pants got wet in a bad spot after leaning on a sink counter in a public washroom? How would he get over the embarrassment? Hmm How about using the hot air dryer meant for drying your hands? What would he do if someone walked in while he was drying them?
7) Stare at an object for ten minutes and see how many things you can use it for, or what misfit situations you can get into with it. What can you do with a pair of rubber gloves other than keep your hands dry while you wash dishes etc. with them? Or how about the retractable cup holder that you that you tried to use on your computer? You know, the one that you press the button and it comes out. Its marked CD for Cup Dispenser.
8) Things that dont fit together. A male pastor was asked to say grace at an all-womens award banquet. After being introduced to say grace, he got up to the microphone and said, I am totally honored to be here and to accept this award. The ladies burst into laughter. He continued, When I got the call yesterday, I thought it was just to say grace or something. During the laughter, he pretended to listen to someone in his ear piece tell him that he was just called to say grace. Relaying this conversation out loud to the audience he became an instant hit in a very short period of time.
That is an example of something that doesnt fit. A male would never receive an award at a womans award banquet, and yes he was just called to say grace and the audience obviously knew that.
9) Learn to imitate other personalities and language accents. Learn how to act like a nerd or speak like an East Indian or Scottish person. Even using an accent for a one-sentence answer to someones question can get a laugh.
10) Place yourself in situations that make you come out of your shell. Take chances and experiment.
It takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown and if you deliver honest and sincere humor to people, youll be placing smiles not only on faces but also in hearts.
You can be funny.