Want to be a funnier person? Want to use humor to charm others and make them love you? The good news is you can learn how to be funny. Improving your ability to be funny can make you more charming and improve your life better.
The importance of humor
Have you ever wondered why some people can make strangers laugh easily while some of us struggle with our jokes? Why are some people so funny? According to a 2015 study, “What is humorous is highly subjective and varies considerably from person to person and culture to culture. Cultures differ in what they consider humorous in large part because of they have different standards for what is wrong and what is okay.”
In our daily lives, people who are naturally funny can make people laugh in any given situation. They can easily turn a gloomy and tense situation light by throwing a perfectly-timed joke. Perhaps, this is why so many people want to learn how to be funny as humor is a highly desired trait.
A recent survey by Robert Half International discovered that 79% of CFOs believe that “an employee’s sense of humor plays an important role in how well he or she fits in with the company’s corporate culture.” Josh Warborg, Robert Half district president, said “Smart leaders, and smart people in general, want to enjoy their work, in addition to producing a good product. Happy people also typically produce better work.”
Another recent survey by Discover and Match Media Group revealed that when it comes to online dating, 67% of respondents claimed having a sense of humor is extremely important, whereas only 51% of online daters consider attractiveness important.
How humor can help us
The truth is humor can help us develop a more positive mindset and make us appear more confident. In fact, a 2014 study found that humor and laughter can help to improve the quality of life for people with cognitive impairment. The research paper stated “People with cognitive impairments were able to engage in humor during social interactions. Humor and laughter allowed the group to provide a safe social environment to talk about the activity and their illness.”
However, some of us might not be born funny. This is why it is even more crucial for us to improve our sense of humor, not only to be more social and entertaining but also to enjoy life more on a personal level.
How to be funny: 9 Tips
“You’ll be more successful if you can make people laugh. Learning how to be funny can make everything easier,” explains national best-selling author Vanessa Van Edwards. Trying to be funnier and developing your sense of humor can transform your personality and make you more charming.
Here are a few ways you can start your journey to being a funnier person in life:
1. Put yourself out there.
If you want to be funny, you have to take risks. You have to be willing to get laughed at, even unintentionally at times, and realize that not all your jokes will work. You have to understand that some of your attempts at being funny might fail despite how hard you try. This is one of the first things you need to know about being funny. But the good thing is this will help you learn what works and what doesn’t.
In a Psychology Today article, author Scott Weems Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience from UCLA explains that “A survey of famous comedians by the psychologists Seymour and Rhoda Fisher found that one personality trait stood out: a desire to be heard. Funny people aren’t shy. They take risks, and when they don’t succeed, they move on.”
2. Use your struggles as material.
Turn your personal tragedies into entertaining stories and parables. Forgot to zip your fly while giving a presentation? Farted during an interview? See the humor already? Once you start looking at the funny side of your embarrassing personal experiences and struggles, you can make people laugh with you, rather than at you. Laughter at your own expense is the greatest form of comedy, they say. Moreover, real-life stories are funnier than jokes.
Vanessa says “The beauty of using personal experiences as fodder for humor is that your life experience is unique, and, therefore, stories based on it are guaranteed to be original.”
3. Watch comedy shows and films.
There is nothing like learning from the best when it comes to learning something new. And this goes for being funny and humorous as well. Watch as many comedy shows and films as you can. But instead of simply laughing at the funny moments, observe the pros at their game and observe what and how they deliver those jokes. Understand their timing and what exactly makes them funny. It is also a great idea to watch a live comedy show as it is raw and real. Take notes and try to imbibe their style and mannerisms until you develop your own comic style. This is one of the best ways to learn how to be funny.
Scott Weems Ph.D. writes “Studies show that simply watching a comedy, or an extended stand-up routine, increases heart health, improves immune system response, boosts creativity, and even makes you smarter… Watch funny bits from movies and ask yourself why you like them. It can’t hurt.”
4. Observe the situation.
No matter how tense or difficult a situation may be, there is always a silver lining. And funny people know how to put the focus on that silver lining to make people feel better and give them hope.
So every time you find yourself in a tricky situation, try to look for the funny angle in it. Look at things from a different perspective and laugh at yourself. Looking for the absurd in a frustrating situation without being offensive is the mark of a truly funny person.
5. Learn and study.
If you want to “learn” how to be funny, then you need to start putting some effort to “learn” it. Yes, it will be a bit hard, but it will also be a lot of fun. When learning how to be funny, it is important that you learn about context as well. According to a 2013 study, there is a time and setting which makes certain things funny.
It states “Time creates a comedic sweet spot that occurs when the psychological distance from a tragedy is large enough to buffer people from threat (creating a benign violation) but not so large that the event becomes a purely benign, nonthreatening situation.” Understanding concepts like these can help you plan your jokes better without offending or hurting someone’s sentiments.
6. Be yourself.
Although it may be a great idea to imitate your favorite comedians initially, it is important that you develop your own style when trying to be funny. Be as genuine and authentic as you can. This means using your own sense of humor, observations, and judgments when making a joke or saying something funny.
It means you should let your real personality shine without being silly or appearing foolish. It also means that you are sensible not to hurt others when trying to make people laugh. It’s about being funny yet being intelligent, pleasant, and charming.
7. Have a go-to joke.
You need to have a single joke that you can use as your go-to funny story at any given situation. However, you need to be able to tell this joke well and it should be appropriate for everyone. Practice it as much as you can and tell it often to perfect it. When you know how to tell it efficiently, you can make people laugh at any time. That’s how you learn how to be funny.
Scott Weems Ph.D. explains that everyone needs to “have at least one joke in their back pocket, appropriate for all audiences. Practice it often. Perfect it. You’ll be surprised how often it comes in handy.”
8. Believe in yourself.
You may not be the funniest person in the world, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be funny. Have faith in yourself, in your efforts at learning how to be funny, and in your determination to be humorous. Trying to be funny can put a lot of pressure on us and so it is important that we have a lot of self-confidence and believe in ourselves.
9. Laugh more.
Being funny is not just about making others laugh, it’s also about laughing a lot and having a positive mindset. Remember, laughter is infectious. Make sure you laugh a lot more than you used to on a daily basis whether at different situations, at comedy shows or movies, or at yourself. Having a good sense of humor is also about having a good cheerful laugh as often as you can.
Have fun being funny
Well, now you know how to be funny. Simply follow the tips mentioned above and practice daily to improve your sense of humor. Author Vanessa Van Edwards concludes “Practice makes perfect. The more you practice your jokes, your stories, and your timing, the funnier you will be. Start small, with a few written jokes, a few casual stories around the water cooler. If you are really brave, sign up for an improv class or offer to write a wedding toast. Your funny is worth it.”
Being funny is a wonderful skill to develop that can not only make you more charming and pleasing but can also completely transform the way you look at life.
Here’s an interesting video that you may find helpful: