10 Ways to Be Known for a Good Sense of Humour

Pro tips from a global comedian

A good sense of humour is an asset that can help you attain success in both your personal and professional life. I wish I could say the same for your romantic life but the fact is that while they say they’re looking for someone with a ‘GSOH’, invariably the funny person always ends up taking permanent residence in the proverbial friendzone. 

However, a friend is a wonderful thing to be and whether it is work or play, everyone likes to be around someone with whom they can have a laugh.

As a professional stand-up comedian who has performed over 2000 shows in 25 countries over 16 years, here are my tips on how to be known as someone who possesses that elusive good sense of humour. While I wrote these tips from the perspective of a joke teller, many of them hold true for humour writing as well.

1. Know your audience

If they don’t like risque jokes, don’t throw one in just because a ‘really nice one’ popped into your head. Unless, of course, awkward silence is the response you’re aiming for.

2. Don’t force-fit your joke 

If what you have to say fits into the natural flow of a group’s conversation, sure, tell that story. Don’t just butt in because you want your moment in the spotlight. Attention seekers are looked upon as unkindly as lamb chop at a vegan buffet. With respect to writing, the humour you include needs to be in sync with your narrative.

3. Comedy is tragedy plus time

If you’re going to joke about a tragic incident for someone personally or the world at large, remember that there is such a thing as too soon. Make sure your audience or reader is in the same headspace before you attempt that hilarious plane crash joke.

4. Local and topical is funnier

A joke about recent events or something local and specific to the audience tends to be funnier. So avoid doing that Chinese joke about the Texan taxi driver when you’re speaking to Russian colleagues in the South of France. 

5. Be authentic

Your content and delivery should be in sync with your personality. If you’re trying to be someone you’re not just to impress an audience, they’ll see through it immediately and you’ll come across as someone desperately seeking approval. Don’t do that when telling a joke and don’t do that in a job interview.

6. Relatability is key

Your audience does not need to agree with your point of view but unless they get the context of the joke, there is no chance they will get the punchline. Make sure you bridge that gap if there is one. I’m sure that NFT gag is hilarious but some of us haven’t even figured out blockchain yet.

7. Keep it snappy

In an age of limited attention spans, it’s good to have a few one-liners or short jokes in the bag. Also, the thumb rule is that the longer your story is, the better the ending needs to be. So if you’re going to ramble on then the punchline better be brilliant. We all know how we felt about the Game of Thrones finale.

8. A magician always carries cards

Be armed with a couple of jokes or stories that you know are fantastic and that you tell really well. So that if the opportunity comes up, you’re locked and loaded and ready to fire. Just like the excuses you have in the bag for why you can’t put your video on during a work Zoom call.

9. Always leave them wanting

Little and amazing is better than a lot and not that amazing. If you nail two jokes that score 10s, resist the urge to throw in those maybe jokes that will bring down your average. Let them invite you to the next get-together to hear those. Please note that this tip does not apply to dating and most definitely not to the bedroom.

10. Money can be very funny

If you have deep pockets and want someone else to do all the hard work while you reap the benefits, there is a brilliant and extremely modest comedian who’s available for hire. I believe his name is Papa CJ and he can be found in the friendzone.

If you’d like to understand how adopting a comedian’s mindset can help you make more money, you might enjoy the piece below as well. 

How To Make More Money By Thinking Funny
Bored with boardrooms? Adopting a comedian’s mindset can bring value to startups and beyond.entrepreneurshandbook.co

If you’d like to be subjected to my sporadic outbursts of WIT (Words, Ideas, and Thoughts), do subscribe for my free newsletter here. The back catalogue is available there as well.

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If you happen to be on Medium, I publish some of my best pieces on that platform as well.

Papa CJ on Medium