Having a good sense of humor is one of the best personality traits a person can have, in our opinion. Some people don’t need to learn how to be funny, they just seem to be naturally funny.
They have a knack for seeing the positives in all situations and always know how to get a smile from someone by cracking a joke or saying a witty comment.
You may think that being funny is something that just happens naturally, and to some extent it is. We are sure that you can all think of that one friend who doesn’t even try to be funny but somehow always has everyone in stitches.
It just seems like some people don’t even have to try to be funny. You know, like Chandler from the popular TV show F.R.I.E.N.D.S?
However, even though natural funniness is certainly a thing, there are definitely things you can do in order to teach yourself how to be funny.
Yep, you read that correctly. You can learn how to be funny. No, we don’t suggest reciting a joke book word for word. Although that may come in handy (more on this later).
We simply mean that there are some handy tips that you can learn and apply in situations to seem more funny.
Our brains are wonderful things. They are so clever and allow us to pick and choose who we want to be. By this we mean, if we want to become more funny, we can train our brain into being funny.
Just like you can decide one day that you want to learn to drive, you could wake up tomorrow and say “Today I am going to be the funniest I have ever been”. Sure, it might take some practice, but when you have all the tips and tricks available it will be a doddle.
Humor and funniness can mean different things to different people. In fact, it can even change depending on your culture and where in the world you are.
Even your age can have an effect on what you find funny! This may sound like it will be hard to learn how to be funny, as you have so many different types of people you have to appeal to.
However, this is not the case. We are going to give you a rundown of how you can be funny with our handy guide.
Quick Guide: How to Be Funny
1. Be Yourself
The first thing you should consider is the fact that in order to be funny, you should not put on airs and graces or pretend to be someone you are not. Sure, it is cool to be inspired by some of the world’s funniest comedians, but it is far more special if you create your own funniness.
By this we mean, lots of comedians around the world have their own unique style. That is what makes them popular and good at what they do. You want to aspire to the same thing for yourself. It is important that you be authentic.
A study found in 2015 that higher authenticity was associated with benign humor, and lower authenticity with disparaging humor. By disparaging humor, we mean humor that has the main goal of causing offensive (racist, sexist and homophobic ‘jokes’ fall into this category).
In order for your authentic self to come across in your humor, it is important that you stay true to your core values. For example, you should not make jokes about things that do not interest you, or worse still, upset you as you would not be staying true to yourself.
For example, if you do not use curse words, you should not use curse words in your jokes just because that is what your favorite famous comedian does. Likewise, if you are not someone who usually teases other people, you should not do this in order to be funny.
2. Stay Relevant, Stay Relatable
For lots of people, the jokes that they laugh at the most are ones that they can relate to. Try to make jokes about your everyday life, the state of the political world, current affairs, and general human-nature related things.
Of course, part of this is reading and knowing your audience. It is far easier to make relatable jokes to your family and friends than it is to an audience full of people at a gig. Being aware of your audience and what is relevant to them is a biggie.
For example, you probably wouldn’t crack a joke about the Kardashians in front of your grandparents because they probably;y won’t understand it, therefore, they will not find it funny.
Likewise, you may not make a witty comment about a politician toa bunch of pre-teens in school because wit may not be as funny to them, and they may not be able to relate to the topic.
You may even want to take this a step further by cracking jokes about the unspoken truths of society. OK, that sounds intense but bear with us.
As humans, there are things that annoy us or bother us as a collective. Things we can all relate to. Pinpointing these things can actually prove to be very funny when used appropriately.
A Portland State University lecturer recently pointed out that for many years, one of the main genres of humor has been pointing out elements of truth that everyone knows but doesn’t admit.
3. Have a Fallback Joke Bank
There is no shame in having a few handy one-liners or favorite jokes that you can recycle again and again. Maybe you have told a joke in the past that has amassed a lot of laughter. Or perhaps you have some trusty quotations and quips that never fail to get a chuckle from people.
Memorize some of your fool-proof jokes and use them to break the ice. This is especially handy when meeting new people and the conversation just doesn’t seem to be flowing. It doesn’t have to be particularly long or silly, keep it short and snappy.
Something as simple as a witty comment about the weather will be a great choice as it ticks the box of being relevant and relatable.
For example, if it is raining outside you could say something like this: “The only thing worse than raining cats and dogs is hailing taxis…” This joke is funny, witty, an excellent play on words. Above all, it’s relevant (well, unless, of course, it’s sunny!)
4. Study, study, and study some more!
Oh, that dreaded word…studying. Don’t worry, there’s not going to be a pop quiz! However, we definitely think there are innumerous benefits to picking up a book when it comes to learning a new skill. Being funny is just that, a skill that can be learned.
There are so many books available, and countless blog posts and journal articles about the theories behind humor. There’s no better way to learn than to read about the theories before applying them.
For example, comedy expert Steve North has written a book dedicated to helping you find your inner comedian.
If theories aren’t your thing, why not pick up the memoir of your favorite funny person, whether that be an actor or dedicated comedian. You are bound to learn countless tips and tricks from them.
Another way to study how to be funny is to watch other funny people. Make a habit of watching comedy movies, tv shows, and real-life comedians to try and see what makes the audience tick. This will help you to understand what you find funny, too.
Something that you find funny may not apply to everyone, but there will certainly be some people who agree with you. Learn from others, let them be your inspiration.
5. Expect the Unexpected
This is one of our favourite “funny” methods. It never fails. It involves being a little bit confusing and just a smidge sarcastic.
This works best when having a conversation with someone as you can casually drop it in and just a wait for laughter to ensue – and trust us, it will! All you need to do is say the opposite of what is expected of you.
For example, if someone asks you something like “did you get here OK?” you could reply something like “No….the train was late because a giant donut fell on the track”.
Or, if someone asks if you are alright, you can reply with a simple “No” before you elaborate to tell them “I’m half left, actually”. This clever play on words is bound to get a chuckle from them.
You could keep it even simpler than that by simply replying “No” when you are expected to say “Yes” and vice versa. This is hugely effective as it catches people off guard and makes them think for a split second that you are being serious, only for them to realise you are playing a prank on them.
6. It’s not what you said, it’s the way you said it
Tone of voice is such an important tool for learning how to be funny, and it’s something we all have. We don’t really need to work that hard at this one either as it tends to be something we do naturally. You can change the tone of your voice to make things funnier than they actually are.
As Pixus points out, tone of voice actually makes up 38% of effective communication, so nailing this can take your comedy from drab to fab! Try playing around with your tone of voice, sounding serious or sad about things that are expected to make you happy.
This sounds quite the opposite of funny, we know, but bear with us as we explain…. Imagine a conversation with someone following a job interview. They ask how the interview went, not knowing that it went really well and you got the job.
You turn your face into a sad frown and say “Yeah, I guess it was OK….” and as they are reacting to your sadness you change that frown into a smile saying “….because I got the job!!!”. Cue laughter and surprise! Cool, right? You can use this to your benefit when it comes to being more funny, too.
7. Use sarcasm to your advantage
Sarcasm, when used sparingly, can be one of the funniest ways of communication. Take a leaf out of Chandler’s book (Yep, we’ve made reference to him again…he really is that funny!) and throw sarcastic comments around like confetti – OK maybe not confetti, we don’t want to get it everywhere.
What we mean is, use it around people you know, and people who will understand that it is just sarcastic humor rather than a serious comment. A 1985 article in a journal called Studies in American Humor made the point that women in particular often use sarcastic humor as it is a way of expressing their anger at social situations.
The author, Suzanne L. Bunkers wrote: “Social criticism is the cornerstone of sarcastic humor, which provides an outlet for anger that has been repressed for too long” (86).
This sort of humor, then, is super relatable, particularly it seems for other women. It’s definitely worth a try if you feel you have the right audience for it!
So there you have it, your one stop shop guide on how to be funny. As we are sure you know by now, you already have what it takes to be funny. It is something that we can all achieve naturally, even if we don’t feel like it.
In fact, there are probably people who know you that already think you are the funniest person you know. However, we completely understand the desire to be even more funny, especially since making people laugh is one of the nicest feelings in the world.
Even though you are probably your own kind of natural funniess, there are some super helpful tips here in our ‘how to be funny guide’ that you will certainly love to add to your repertoire.
It’s always great to remind yourself that everyone in this world is unique, we all have different likes and dislikes. This does mean that no matter how hard you try, there may always be some people that just don’t find you funny.
You know what though? That’s Ok, because you probably have people that you don’t find very funny too. So don’t sweat it, keep all your jokes for the people that can appreciate your sense of humor, and share some of your new found tips and tricks with them too.
After reading our article we are sure that you feel like you could take on all of the comedy gigs in the world with ease – Ok maybe that’s a step too far, but certainly, you are feeling like your sense of humor has had a huge boost, right?!
We hope that you have found this informative, helpful, and we hope it has also made you laugh. Thank you for taking the time to read our article – now go and make the world giggle!