How to Be Funny

By Contributor
Be Funny

How to Be Funny. A comedian can see through phoniness to reality and show it to other people.

Don't take yourself or your work too seriously.

Keep your wits about you. Be quick with your responses, because much of humor is getting the timing right.

Know that life is covered by a veneer of phoniness, and see through that veneer. See things for what they are.

Accept the facts as they are, but exaggerate or distort those facts to draw attention to them.

Make up games to make the day-to-day aspects of your life more entertaining. For example, figure out why the people in the other cars look the way they do when you're stuck in a traffic jam.

Bring to life characters and stories that people can relate to and recognize in their own lives. Remember that your life is the subject matter you know best, so use it.

Read your audience and time your jokes correctly. Use pauses to allow the audience - your co-workers, your spouse or whomever - to absorb the humor.

Have confidence in your observations and stories.

Relax and enjoy life.

Tip

There are many different kinds of comedians, such as Jim Carrey, who is a caricaturist, or Bill Cosby, who is a storyteller. Both of them show us characters we recognize, either from our own lives or universally. Fat Albert, for example, was a real character from Bill Cosby's childhood. I was flying coast to coast and had a fainting spell on the airplane. Paramedics wheeled me off the plane on a gurney and treated me in the waiting area. It looked worse than it was, but one kid was horrified by the scene at hand. As I rolled by I said, "That's the last time I use that travel agent." The kid didn't laugh, but the paramedics loved it.

Warning

Most good jokes fail because of bad timing. Don't believe your own press.