Everyone loves someone who can make them laugh. Funny people are just enjoyable to be around!
Unfortunately, there is a fine line between a good joke and an awkward silence. It can be difficult to differentiate between hilarious and offensive or uncomfortable.
What exactly makes a good joke? Although we all have our own personal tastes, it turns out that there are some universal techniques for being funny!
Let science help you be the life of a party that can fill a room with laughter.
1. “It’s funny because it’s true”
Interestingly enough, there is an entire field of psychology dedicated to understanding the evolutionary explanations for human behavior. Evolutionary psychology findings suggest that people find things funny that are relatable. One particular publication investigated what made Chris Rock’s standup routine so successful. Turns out – his bits on marriage life sex are engaging and funny because they make fun of real experiences.
2. Don’t take yourself so seriously
Making jokes about real-world experiences often means that you will have to look towards yourself. You have probably noticed the trend of self-deprecating humor in pop culture. Certainly, millennials are known for their jokes where they take jabs at themselves rather than poke fun at others. This has been demonstrated to be successful for many people – just make sure to recognize the line between funny and sad. These kinds of jokes are enjoyable in small doses, but some may find it alarming and consider it a “cry for help.”
3. Know your audience
When you aren’t directing the humor at yourself – you will often need to find a subject. Remember, there is a time and a place for certain jokes and there is a fine line between funny and offensive. Know your audience and avoid hurting people’s feelings. You are always taking a risk when you have fun at someone else’s expense. Lighthearted or general jokes are a much safer choice.
4. Keep it simple
The point of comedy is to make people laugh – not make them feel stupid. On the topic of knowing your audience, try to be aware of the depth of jokes you make around other people. Don’t make puns about complex physics formulas if they are not common knowledge. Otherwise, the jokes will go right over people’s heads. Humor is most effective when people aren’t sitting there scratching their heads.
5. Laugh along!
You certainly don’t want to be the only person laughing at your joke – but you should participate in the enjoyment of it. This is not just because you want to have fun, but just acting like something you did was funny can be enough to alert others around you they should find it funny too. This is actually the function of laugh tracks in sitcoms. They are there to let the audience know that they should be finding something funny – and it works! It can actually even dictate what content people find funny in the future. If you don’t believe us, try to watch one of these sitcoms with their laugh tracks taken out. You would be surprised to see how many jokes went over your head or just weren’t as funny anymore. Aside from a little “manipulation,” laughing at your jokes also signals an invitation for others to laugh. Sometimes, if you just make a joke and don’t smile or laugh after, it may seem inappropriate to laugh – especially if you are making a joke at your own expense. The presence or absence of laughter can have an immense impact on the impression of your comment.
6. Language is key
Remember that humor is ingrained in human language. It is a communication tool above all. Understanding it in this way is a great way to help you be able to “develop” a language of your own. Try to practice with different annunciations and so. Learning how to use your words to alert others you are joking brings you one step closer to establishing a humorous streak.
What works for you? Please feel free to comment all of your tips on how to get a room to fill with laughter below!