How To Be Funny: 12 Practical Ways To Significantly Improve Your Humor

The idea of impressing a friend, colleague, or someone new with a sense of humor is a great way to break the ice and make people laugh. Learning how to be funny is not just meant for people who are building a comedy routine, trying a new joke, or finding a brand of humor among friends and colleagues.

It’s an important way to use down-to-earth language to establish a solid business or personal relationship. Developing hilarious stories and getting a few laughs creates a common ground and a much easier way to get along with people in life.

Often, many people think of being funny as telling jokes and using related, common phrases that most people know. While a joke or pun may be a quick-witted way to get someone’s attention, it’s usually short-lived if it’s not original. People tend to gravitate towards an anecdote or unique line that’s relatable to everyday life and humorous at the same time.

It’s much easier to learn how to be funny than most people realize because there is a lot to find funny in everyday life and shared experiences. The following techniques are easy, fun ways to put a sense of humor into practice with another person and build an amicable bond or relationship.

How to be the Funny Person:

1. The Opposite Response Technique for Humor

If you’re looking for a quick reaction to create some fun, try the opposite response approach. This technique is simple and easy to try if you’re new to developing your humor skills. It works when someone asks a question, and they expect you to answer with “yes,” say “no” instead.

For example, if someone asks you, “do you realize how late it is?” expecting an affirmative reaction, and you say “no,” it will spark some laughter and a chance to build on the comment. “Midnight isn’t too late, is it?” or “I can pull an all-nighter, it’s okay!” are quick follow-up responses that make people laugh and strike up light-hearted fun with a small group or audience.

The opposite response approach works best when you know what the other person’s expecting for an answer. It keeps the dialogue fun and witty while offering a segway to a related topic that leads to a strong, engaging conversation.

This technique is simple and doesn’t require much practice when you want to be funny. It’s also one of the easiest ways to laugh naturally, without feeling too rehearsed by telling a joke or familiar line.

2. Keep it Natural, Free, and Relaxed

One of the first steps to developing a good sense of humor is relaxing and getting comfortable relating to other people. Every person feels uptight, at least sometimes, which can stifle the natural flow of conversation.

When this happens, it’s not as easy to make a joke or share a laugh, as the tone becomes more serious and tense. Some people may feel self-conscious and lack confidence in making people laugh or see themself as being funny.

When there’s a relaxed disposition, which is easier for some people than others, the flow of humor and making jokes becomes effortless. Funny ideas shared laughs, and free-flowing dialogue often paves the way for many people to find funny things in everyday situations.

If people feel content and relaxed, they can tell a funny story or relate an experience to make people laugh and share common jokes. Almost instantly, laughter erupts and becomes contagious, especially within a group or team of people.

A natural approach to humor is often the best advice to accessing your abilities and making it much easier to share with others. People sometimes force a laugh if they think they’re expected to find a joke or story funny, even if it’s not.

Keeping the flow relaxed and free doesn’t give people the impression that they have to laugh, and at the same time, there’s authentic humor due to its nature.

Related: Assertive Communication: Important Benefits, Techniques and Examples

How to be Funny

3. Find Humor in Everyday Life

Comedians often build their acts based on personal experiences, opinions, and practical ideas that are hilarious within the moment. They develop their routine of funny content based on what they already know and how they can relate to other people.

Many funny people draw on their childhood memories, and pets, to money issues, relationships, and work-related wit. With a bit of practice, anyone can find inspiration in the most standard experiences and find a unique, funny perspective that makes people laugh through them.

To create humor from everyday material, try making a point of finding at least three humorous things in daily life, whether it’s about music, fashion, news headlines, trends, or sports.

The source of laughs doesn’t have to be exceptional or unusual, as the most common, well-known items are easier to relate to and make people laugh much easier than a lesser-known topic.

Many people appreciate the irony of a social media trend or whatever is popular at the moment. It’s also important to get comfortable expressing opinions to unite people, with a humorous aspect relating to a current situation instead of polarizing them.

The holidays, seasonal situations, and even business-related topics can be a source of humor and a much easier path to humor among a familiar group of people, such as coworkers or colleagues.

It’s a great feeling to become the funny guy or girl in a group. People often view a funny person as approachable and easy-going, which is ideal when building personal and professional connections.

4. Get to Know Your Audience

It’s important to know the kind of people you’ll be talking with and what makes them laugh. Not everyone finds the same jokes funny or shares a common sense of humor. In some situations, people may be slow to laughter, either because they are stressed or focused on a serious matter.

It’s essential to understand that while the intention of funny people is good, not everyone views humor through the same lens of acceptance. Just because one person finds a comment or jokes funny doesn’t necessarily mean everyone else will laugh.

Getting familiar with your audience is vital to making humor work, especially where there are new people or a variance in age, background, and culture.

Some jokes that a specific workplace or community finds hilarious may be seen as offensive or disrespectful by other people or even individuals within a common group. Some people don’t understand certain terms or stories because they aren’t able to relate to inside jokes, which are best shared with close friends, family, or colleagues.

Different Humor for Different People

An edgy sense of humor may be seen as explicit or too aggressive for an older crowd, yet it’s more likely to be a good fit for a younger audience or people who enjoy getting a bit controversial.

Unless there’s a solid familiarity with the individuals in the audience, it’s best to play safe and avoid any jokes that could potentially become offensive or divisive, such as politics and religion.

It’s also important to avoid targeting someone’s appearance, beliefs, or personality traits as a source for humor, as this can be hurtful. It’s much easier to strike with something fun, light-hearted, and well-known, to develop a good rapport with a larger group of people.

5. Use Observations to Make People Laugh

A typical observation can make a great line for some jokes and shared humor. It’s an effective tool that many comedians apply in their act, and it creates a more relatable and funnier result from more people who are eager to watch and share common ground.

Start a conversation with “Have you ever noticed that…” to share a funny moment, or “Is it just me, or does it appear that…” to see how another person or people will react to a specific observation or situation. If only a few people relate to a specific scenario, try another story.

Alternatively, pose a question such as, “what are your thoughts on this…” or “what’s the deal with this trend about…”. Test the audience, and look for signs about what makes people smile or react positively.

Some people find certain observations funnier than others, though most people laugh at common scenarios or funny situations in life.

Related: Learning the Skill of Adapting to Change: Personally and Professionally

6. Avoid Telling Old Jokes

As a rule of thumb, most people enjoy laughing at well-known jokes, especially if they are new and current. After a while, some humor styles grow stale, and people are quickly turned off regurgitated jokes or memorized stories that are neither original nor unique.

It’s best to create humor out of common scenarios that people can relate to personally. A stand-up comedian sticks with what they know and uses their skills to build something hilarious, fun, and new.

Fresh content works wonders for appealing to most people, and talking about something that comes naturally doesn’t sound rehearsed or repeated from an online post or television show.

7. Save the Funny Part Towards the End

When the best part of a joke is saved towards the end of a story or act, it makes a great impact. This method is a useful tip in creating an engaging story that draws in the audience, holding their attention until the end.

Use descriptive words and ideas to keep the anticipation building, and watch their reaction until the end, where there’s the reward of a punchline or hilarious outcome.

For some people, including comedians, this technique takes a bit of practice, but it’s worth the effort, especially in preparation for a party or social event.

Comedy combines personal experience, skill, and practice to create a funny narrative and great interaction. Anyone can become a funny person with the right combination of story-telling, patience, and observation with an eye for what appeals to their audience and makes a good sense of humor.

Keep it real and personable, starting with “I have a few tips on how to raise kids…” or “We all have that friend who…” to pique interest with everyone.

Most individuals find common grievances funny and often laugh in solidarity with those shared thoughts and ideas, even if they come from a dark or painful experience. Using a story to relate to others while interjecting funny ideas can establish a solid bond with other people.

8. Humor as a Creative Way to Deflect Criticism and Negativity

Sometimes, a group or team may create division or criticism, especially during a stressful project or discussion.

During this experience, humor can create a more positive situation that makes everything more bearable for everyone, including individuals at odds. Some people know how to be funny using self-deprecating comments to create comedy.

While this may seem like a quick fix and a good distraction initially, it can become embarrassing and can cause other people to show disrespect or lower their opinion of you.

On the other hand, using observational humor is highly effective if you receive criticism that’s neither constructive nor helpful because you’re effectively taking it lightly and making a joke to combat the negative effect of the comment.

When you need to address someone’s criticisms without confrontation, a light-hearted sense of humor can diffuse tension and create a more productive and enjoyable experience without appearing pretentious or rude.

Humor offers a bonding opportunity for many people while helping them learn to get along with each other. The skill of being funny can bridge gaps between people who may not have a lot in common but share the same laughs about current events and shared knowledge.

How to be Funny

9. Choose Stories Over Jokes for Laughs

Telling a joke is a great ice-breaker and may work for some people, though telling a funny story is far more effective in captivating people. Talking about an experience or relating a tale with a good sense of humor makes a much bigger impact.

The choice of words is also important and they can make people laugh throughout the story.

An example of changing words for unexpected laughs may include “Ready, set…not yet!” or “practice makes…more work”, and other spins on common phrases or sayings where people expect one predictable response and hear another, which creates a hilarious result.

When telling an anecdotal or personal story, funny moments often happen naturally, giving everyone else incentive to listen further while looking forward to the ultimate punchline or ending. Stories are ideal because they are unique, signature ideas that come from a creative place within.

They can involve anything from teenagers and smartphone technology, the challenges of working out in fitness clubs for the first time, to tales of being stuck in traffic on the commute to work.

Related: How to Connect With People: 12 Effective Ways to Connect with Anyone

10. Natural Comedy is Funnier

Keep it real, and don’t try too hard to make people laugh. Most people are able to detect a false sense of humor or if something doesn’t seem genuine or realistic.

Some individuals create jokes or stories with serious embellishments, or they may add on more to the initial idea to keep people laughing with various language and side jokes.

Eventually, people will grow tired of comedy that’s been stretched too far, beyond the punchline or natural ending where they get the most laughs. It’s best to keep the funny talk practical and sincere without extending it so far that you could potentially lose an audience.

Make a point of working towards a pique in the story, much like a plotline, without getting too descriptive or diluted along the way. Natural talking means keeping your story fun and easy to listen to without much effort or rehearsing.

Instead of just sharing a post on your phone, an online article or book that may be funny, draw from the item to express something humorous about it, and wait for a response to see where the conversation leads.

A relaxed, engaging way of being funny gives people a sense that you are easy to be around and can talk about anything.

11. Say Whatever for Comedic Effect

Sometimes, there’s a rude or uncomfortable comment that is said, which may be unintentional or downright offensive. Instead of taking it to heart and arguing with the person, some comedians use the word “whatever” to push back the negativity and get a few laughs out of it.

It’s a great way to get out of expressing an opinion or avoiding confrontation when it’s not worthwhile. Some of the best comedians and actors in film and television use this option as a great response.

Handling Inappropriate Comments with Humor

A colleague may say something unprofessional or inappropriate in business, such as commenting on your appearance or making an outright insult. Instead of adding fuel to the comment, a simple “whatever” to brush it off saves energy and hassle while making it laughable and less impactful.

This simple but effective approach is also ideal for mockery or a nasty comments that simply don’t deserve a response. Drawing attention away from a negative situation with light humor can dissolve the tension and make it easier to cope with, which is also great for workplace and business situations.

12. Watch Funny Television Shows, Films, and Comedian Performances

There’s a lot to learn by watching a funny film or television show with skilled comedians and scenarios. Many people enjoy sitcoms or series where relatable characters know which words to use to make people laugh while relating to the audience personally.

Live comedy and improv offer new ideas for using common jokes and playing off everyday situations and personal experiences. It’s fun to learn from seasoned comedy routines, often built on subjects that most people understand and know personally.

For a more in-depth look at comedy and the experts in the business, read a book by a famous comedian or film director who’s made their living in the business of making people laugh.

There is no set of rules on making people laugh, though learning about others can offer a glimpse into how it’s done well. Being funny doesn’t mean having a bag of jokes to use at every social gathering or event, but rather, it should be a natural skill that develops over time to make people laugh naturally.

Related: How to Keep a Conversation Going and Never Run Out of Things to Say

The Bottom Line

Humor draws people together and creates wonderful memories through laughter, shared thoughts, and connections. There are many tips and examples on how to be funny at work, home, and at social events, but essentially, it’s best to keep it light and fun, without any over-the-top theatrics or jokes.

The most successful comedians, and individuals that are regarded as being funny, are usually the people who are the most natural and free.

They don’t have to follow a script or try too hard to make people laugh and find it much easier to be themselves instead of copying jokes to be funnier. A good sense of humor and being funny is a great way to build relationships and make a great first impression.

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