How To Be Funny

How To Make People Laugh

Learning how to be funny and making people laugh is an art. If you’re a funny person, being humorous and getting some chuckles is second nature. If you’re not a funny person, learning how to be funny might seem like an impossible task.

That being said, there are skills you can learn that will teach you how to be a funny person. Follow the advice below and you can’t help but be a little funny. Remember, everyone has a different sense of humor, so don’t get offended if not everyone finds you the funniest thing alive.

Don’t Take Things Seriously

If you take yourself too seriously, others are going to take you too seriously, too. Being funny is about being the clown people laugh at. If you can’t laugh, no one else will. (At least laugh with you; they might laugh at you.) Look at every situation in your life as another chance at humor, an experience to be mined for comic gold.

Pain Is Funny

This isn’t just the fall down or the broken bone kind of pain – at least not always. I’m not necessarily talking about slapstick, though seeing someone konked on the head can be funny. I’m talking more about personal pain. Emotional pain and misfortune have been mined by comedians from the beginning of humor, I suppose. This goes hand-in-hand with not taking yourself too seriously, because telling people painful stories is only funny if you do so in a sarcastic, humorous way.


Smiling is infectious, you know. People tend to mirror what they see. So when you smile at them as you play funny, they’re likely to smile back at you as a reflex. Once you have them smiling, you can get them laughing.

Have Energy

Bring energy into the room. You need to be the life of the party if you’re going to be funny. Being the life of the party means adding life and energy to the room. Be energetic. Be animated. Make it seem like these stories really excite you, one way or the other.

Be Pop Culture Savvy

Make a connection to your audience. The two of you need to have something in common, so you can point out something funny in their lives. Having a big helping of pop culture knowledge helps with an American audience. Sift through tv, movies and the Internet to be up-to-date, so you can relate to people.

Work Outside the Box – Be Creative

When you go over familiar ground, try to think outside the box and find creative or unique ways to look at the familiar. Find the truth in something, because you want to joke about something people think about and care about, just in a different way. You want them thinking, “He’s right. Why haven’t I ever thought about it that way?”

Don’t Imitate Others – Have Your Own Style

Get your own style, because it’s funnier when people haven’t seen the act before. Besides, if you are caught stealing other peoples’ material, you’re going to look like a jerk. It will kill the act. If you lift material from someone else, credit them and make the imitation part of the act.

Have Jokes In Reserve

Having a reserve of jokes you can use in certain situations. Read one joke per day and memorize the ones that you really like. Learn enough that you’ll have a snappy one-liner or witticism for just about any situation. Find jokes that will fit into a lot of different situations and contexts.

Be Blunt

When you’re blunt, you’re going to take people by surprise. Surprise is a huge part of humor, because it stimulates the brain and shocks people. When people are shocked by humor, you’ll get your biggest laughs.

Get Your Timing Down

Watch professional comedians and you’ll see they work on their timing…a lot. The same joke delivered by two different people will have a different effect, simply if one comedian has better timing than the other. There’s a rhythm and cadence to telling a joke that’s hard to pin down, but it has to do with letting the set-up sink in just long enough for the punchline to have its greatest effect.

Know Your Audience

Know who you’re joking for and tailor your humor for that audience. If you’re in a room full of septuagenarians, humor based on the latest teenage movie isn’t going to go over. If you are in a church, lots of vulgar language and sexual innuendo won’t go over well. Ethnic humor in a room full of people of that ethnicity isn’t likely to be considered funny. (Staying away from ethnic humor is probably a good idea, anyway.)

Play Off Other People

Get others involved in the humor as much as possible. Find people

Go For It – Take Chances

Sometimes, you’ll bomb. Humor doesn’t always hit it’s mark. If your joke bombs, just ignore it and move on to something else. Great comedians might make a comment that saves the joke, but that’s hard to do for us novices. (Johnny Carson was the master of this technique. When he had a joke bomb, his comments were often funnier than the joke ever would have been.) Don’t berate your audience if they don’t like your joke. Self-effacing humor in these situations sometimes helps, though don’t go to this well too often.

This comes full circle. Taking yourself too seriously is a crime for a comedian. Laugh at yourself when you look a little foolish and your audience will probably like you better than before.

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