The Art of Being Funny

“Women of New York… frost yourselves!”

In the movie, “How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days,” Matthew McConaughey’s character Benjamin Barry is pitching a slogan for a new advertising campaign when he yells this memorable message out a New York high rise window. The response is a guy on the street below yelling back, “Frost this!”

There are a simple factors in humor. Below you’ll find pointers in how you, too, can be funny. Let’s start with example 1:

Your friend: Dude, can you pass me the ketchup?
You: Sure, here it is.

Your friend asked for ketchup. Because you’re not funny, you passed it their way with little thought. Now check this out:

Your friend: Dude, can you pass me the ketchup?
You: No, but I’ll pass you YOUR FACE.

There you go, much better. Note that it’s important to raise your voice a tad when you get to the “YOUR FACE” part. Now you’ve learned one way to be funny, ludicrous comments that are over-the-top, borderline offensive and typically unexpected. A few other ingredients for being funny are the same things that make a baby born. Timing and delivery. An excellent example of this is Heathcliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show. Time and time again the most funny scenes aren’t even what he said. It was the way he said it. Other times it was the look he gave as he parented his children. Without even speaking a word, he could have the live studio audience ROTFLing. So if you’re taking notes, I’ve covered two ways you can be a funnier you:
1. add “your face” into a conversation
2. practice timing and delivery

Another thing that can help you be funny is remembering that comedy comes in three’s: setup, setup, punch. Take note the next time you’re watching television. You’ll be surprised how much the setup/setup/punch delivery method is used. In comedy, two is not enough and four is overkill. Three is the sweet spot. A recent example of this from Spongebob Squarepants:

This ties in nicely with the next pointer I have for you: repetition. Take a mildly funny comment or thought, repeat it enough and someone will start laughing. It’s true, try it. If you’re still having trouble making people laugh, here’s pointer five: make clever observations of common events. I’ve seen this on the Late Show with David Letterman. The President is giving a speech and Dave will point out the kid picking his nose in the background.

Something else you can do to be more funny is what most people are embarrassed and/or afraid to do. Belly flops for example. Or this:

So to sum up, anyone can be funny. Even you. The idea, though, is to make sure it’s on purpose, unlike “text and walk” lady above. Practice timing and delivery with clever observations, repetition, and a willingness to laugh at yourself instead of being embarrassed. However, if none of these work and you still aren’t that funny, try this:

Not funny:
Your friend hits a tennis ball towards you.
You jump out of the way.

Funny:
Your friend hits a tennis ball towards you.
Ball hits you in the crotch.

When all else fails, crotch shots.

Other thoughts on funny:
Shiny Mess
Scenic Route Snapshots

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