You can learn to be funny or funnier.
Yes, you can be funny and get more laughs but I’ve got some bad news too. It’s going to take a little work.
In Daniel Coyle’s book: The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills he shares tips for developing skill. Tip #18 is:
Choose 5 Minutes a Day Over an Hour a Week.
He refers to the idea as a “practice snack” and is the best approach for leveraging the fact that our brains grow a little every day.
The additional benefit is that the daily practice will help you be funny by developing the habit and that is a huge benefit. Most people can be funny on occasion but my goal as a humor consultant to help you be funny on purpose, when you want to be funny.
Would you like to know what to practice in those 5 minutes to really enhance your ability to be funny?
Have you read Humor Simplified and Demystified? If not, you need to do that before you continue. If you aren’t familiar with this “behind the scenes” look at humor, the process won’t make sense.
I recommend taking phrases you hear every day and practice coming up with twists that you could use to get laughs and be funny.
For example, I noticed that the people at Starbucks like to say, “what can I get started for you?” Using these opportunities to practice being funny is ideal, it’s low stakes. Take 5 minutes today and practice coming up with ways to twist that line.
Make a note in your cellphone or your notepad. Next, see if you can come up with 10 responses that would make you and the barista smile.
“What can I get started for you?”
Pay attention every where you go. At a different Starbucks last week I was asked, “what can I get for you today?” I quipped, “how about a reason to live?” That reply got a laugh from the Starbucks’ team. That’s my humor and may not set well with you. That’s fine, make a list of your own possible witty replies.
You don’t have to try them out, yet, this exercise is about training your brain and developing the skill of being funnier.
John Vorhaus in The Little Book of Sitcom calls this a defeat of expectation and is also an inappropriate response. The writer’s of the television series Cheers used this technique with the lovable Norm.
Woody: What can I do for you Mr. Peterson?
Norm: Elope with my wife.
Woody is expecting to hear a reply about Norm wanting a beer and Norm defeats that expectation by providing the inappropriate response. The result is surprise and as you now know, surprise generates laughter.
Pay attention and try to find one statement a day for your practice snack. Next, you will want to take those potential replies from the page and try them out.
Oh yea, if you want to be funny you not only have to practice, you have to be willing to look like a fool. In fact Daniel Coyle’s 5th tip is to Be Willing to Look Stupid.
Most people give up too early on learning a new skill, not just wanting to be funny, because they feel foolish and don’t want to look stupid. Don’t let this stop you. Being funny has way too many benefits, you will succeed.
“You will become clever through your mistakes” – German Proverb
Keep practicing, looking stupid and becoming clever and you too will be funny.
I created the A Funnier You Practice Snack to help you practice daily. Check it out here: http://afunnieryou.com/tag/practice-snack/