How to be funny. I hesitated to tackle this subject, because I’m well aware there’s something sad about studying being funny.
Fortunately these feelings of inadequacy only lasted for a few seconds, and I realized what a fantastic job description I’d have while researching and writing about this.
After all, laughter is the best medicine (except when there’s a better one, which, I imagine, is quite often, although I’m no Doctor).
I have always loved comedy, and I’ve always marvelled at those stand-up comedians who can get an audience weeping with laughter for so long it hurts.
Like Michael McIntyre ...
Like all professionals, they make it look so easy, but something tells me it’s not. I had a sneaking suspicion they’ve also spent quite a bit of time pondering the question ‘how to be funny’. Maybe they’ve cracked a code of some sort? A magic formula of frivolity which never fails?
Perhaps those of us who speak in public in more ‘serious’ situations can learn from these masters of making an audience laugh out loud.
This section of the site will help you bring more humor into your public speaking. This page has some important principles, plus links to more material.
Important Ideas About How To Be Funny
Thinking is hard, laughing is easy. That's why they'll love you.
Practice some observational humor. The guy in the video does it brilliantly doesn't he?
I've told you a million times - don't exaggerate. That sentence is funny because it's got an unexpected twist. The message is also absolutely wrong for humor in speaking - exaggeration is one of the funniest things speakers do! Like Tommy Tiernan below.
Try different stuff and see what works. Just pick a topic and decide to talk about it in a funny way, and then try things out on a live audience. Often bits (that's what comedians call jokes by the way) don't work as you thought they would. Pay attention to which bits get laughs. Then try and work out why!
Write a speech advocating the exact opposite of what you really believe on a subject. At the moment I'm writing a speech in which I advocate being better at drinking and driving. The aim is to rain down ridicule on our government's refusal to lower our appallingly high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit.
Remember who you're there for. One of my absolute pet hates is a speaker who laughs out loud at their own jokes. It's a terrible habit for a speaker, so stop it! You'll see the odd comedian do it, but only after the audience is roaring with laughter - and even then they do it sparingly and get themselves under control quickly. Dead pan is good. Smiling is good. Laughing before they do is bad.
Save the best bit to last. Here's a useful tip from the pros. It's a way to structure your gig in the order of 'funnyness' of jokes (1 funniest, 2 next funniest etc)4 jokes - 2, 3, 4, 18 jokes - 2, 3, 4, 5 ,6 ,7 8, 1
Observe. Every time a speaker cracks you up, think about what just happened. Then shamelessly copy the technique (but not the gag) in your own material.
Have fun understanding and practicing how to be funny in your way!