Countless studies have shown that one of the most likeable qualities a person can have is a good sense of humor. So here are five simple steps to hone yours. They come from stand-up comedian Wayne Cotter, and Jonathan Groff – a producer for the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother.” We found these courtesy of Rodale publishing.
Comedy Rule #1: Economize. Any good storyteller can tell you that the longer you talk, the bigger your payoff needs to be. That same rule applies to telling jokes which means you don’t want to spend 2 whole minutes building up to a quick 2 word punch line! So keep your jokes as short and sweet as possible.
Comedy Rule #2: Narrate. Jerry Seinfeld had one of the most popular shows on TV for 10 years doing this. Instead of giving us half an hour of random one liners, he gave us witty, subtle commentary on the world around us. Like poking fun at coffee table books, puffy shirts, or people who say “yada yada” all the time. So narrate the humorous actions we go through in life, and make fun of yourself too.
Never say up front, “this is really funny.” Any professional comic will tell you that it’s up to your audience to decide what’s funny or not.
Be patient. Chances are you’ve got a few silly stories up your sleeve, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be funny to ALL people ALL the time. So bite your tongue, and have a little faith that your moment in the sun will come. Otherwise, your funny story might land with a thud – with you having one of those: “Well, you had to be there” moments. Those are NEVER funny.
Shake things up. In other words, don’t be “that guy” who delivers the same old zingers at every single party. Go to the well too many times, and sooner or later it’s bound to come up dry! So learn a few new jokes, and keep them fresh and topical. Never, ever, try to force the funny when a situation calls for being more serious.