I know what you’re thinking.
“Who the hell are you to give me advice on how to be a funnier person? Are you even that funny? PROVE IT.”
To which I will respond: I am not claiming that I am especially funny. There is nothing more excruciating, and in fact, less funny, than the pressure to say something funny.
But what I lack in zingers, I make up for in RESEARCH. And there is nothing funnier than WikiHows explanation of how to be a funnier person. They even include SAMPLE JOKES such as:
“What happens to liars when they die?” Answer – “They lie still.”
No. Please God no. Image via Giphy.
That just…that isn’t even slightly funny.
Our first tip would be to never, ever, recycle a joke from WikiHow. In fact, I would broaden that to: read the entire WikiHow explanation, and then do absolutely none of those things. Ever.
So, throughout the course of my research, I asked for some pointers from my brothers and a few friends who I find particularly funny.
My brother said – and I quote – “First of all, don’t ever f*cking ask that question”.
Well, my dear sibling, it’s already too f*cking late. Here are the best tips for being an all-round funnier human being.
Don’t overthink it.
HA. This one is ironic given that you’re reading a goddamn list on how to be a funnier person. So we’ve all already failed on this one. But hear me out.
You know how you’re funniest when you’re around your family? Or close friends? Or a colleague who just really gets you?
Me making jokes in front of my grandpa. Image via Giphy.
You just nail it one joke after another, BAM, BAM, ZINGER, BOOM. Everyone is laughing and you think to yourself “Dayum gurl, you should really look into stand up comedy.”
Well, the reason that happens is because you’re not overthinking it. You’re not trying to impress anyone. You’ve fallen into an effortless stream of consciousness, and you’re not curating everything you say before you say it. There is nothing less funny than a line you’ve been ruminating on and dissecting for 13 minutes. You’re just far too late.
If you were born without ‘funny’, get really, really good at gifs.
So, we understand that not everyone is born with a sense of humour.
I had a friend who used to try and make one joke everyday and would just…miss it. No matter how hard she tried, she just deep down was not a funny person.
But there are ways to get around that. The first, is that you have to get really good at your gif game.
As anyone well acquainted with the Internet can attest to, a well placed gif can provide ample lol’s.
There are certain pop culture references that you should know, but overusing movie quotes is lame.
This is an extremely contested subject.
I feel like…movie quotes might be the unfunny man/woman’s go-to.
There are articles on the Internet dedicated to getting you up to speed with the one-liners you need to know. Some people think being well versed in pop culture references is a key criteria to being funny.
But they get really annoying really quick. Maybe use one every three – four weeks. If that. And, as a general rule, never say “lamp”. Or “Is this a center for ants?” They are done. Over. Classic examples of overuse.
It’s all in the delivery.
Funniness is about confidence. Commit to the joke, whole-heatedly. Two people could have the same script, and one will make it hilarious, and the other will break your cringe valve. It’s about timing. It’s about tone. And it’s about confidence. Which leads me to my next point…
By ‘take risks’ I don’t mean go on a racist rampage or pull out a cheeky rape joke. That…won’t be funny.
I mean…experiment. Trial a bit of dark humour. Some wit. Some dad jokes. Find your shtick. There is no funny person in the world who hasn’t made a number of really, really bad jokes. Bla bla cue that lame quote about “But what if I fall? Oh, but darling, what if you fly?” VOMIT. Oh bonus tip. Makes jokes about shitty Instagram quotes. That’s pretty funny.
Also – remember that not everyone will think you’re funny. So don’t interpret a lack of laughs as failure. Just because someone is not in tune with your sense of humour doesn’t mean you should stop. You need to march on even when the crowd isn’t responding. There are people who don’t find Louis CK or Amy Schumer funny. Sometimes, your audience is the problem.
Try and make yourself the butt of the joke.
Always pick on yourself first. You are your own best material. Remember that being 'mean funny' is easy. Being 'clever/nice funny' is much, much harder.
Ali Wong does this so well. Post continues after video...
Never appear to be trying to be funny.
People will immediately become more critical. It has to look effortless.
On that point, never laugh at your own jokes. It's a sign of weakness and if you do it shows that you were surprised by your own sense of humour.
Don't take every hit.
This is baseball analogy which is awkward given I don't understand the rules/game at all, but apparently they say "don't hit at everything". You might think that something is a good joke, but it's not always the best time to hit at it. You need to be able to let some go, and wait for the good ones to really hit a home run.
No one likes the person who has to say nine completely not funny things in order to say one semi funny thing.
Don't take every hit. Image via Giphy.
Learn to adapt.
You must learnt to adapt your sense of humour for different social groups, and for different social events. Your anal sex joke probably won't go down all that well at your family Christmas.
You also need to be able to taper your standards depending on they situation. For example, if you're in a room where the anxiety is really high (a uni tutorial, waiting for a job interview etc ) you can't be really 'going for it'. Be self deprecating, and make cliche/general jokes that are a sure win. Do not take risks when meeting the in-laws. ADAPT.
Go forth, and try out your newly acquired skills. And please, when you feel awkward or uncomfortable, don't say "She doesn't even go here!" just for the sake of it.