The Secret to Being Funny

Humor or humorous behaviour is the general tendency of human encounters to elicit laughter and provide amusing entertainment. Humor is an infectious form of social communication and a major component of social interaction. Humorous behaviour is frequently displayed during the act of socializing, when individuals become aware of, or involved with others, who are demonstrating feelings of happiness, sorrow, optimism or humor. Humorous people tend to feel good about themselves, while feeling that they are having an equally good time in the company of others. A sense of humor can also diffuse aggressive or hurtful feelings and transmit positive messages to the participants.


Humour is a contagious emotion and contagious communication, but how do we find funny? Humour is infectious when the receiver gets a similar mood and feeling when he or she has been subjected to humour. Humour is contagious when we laugh at ourselves, rather than keeping ourselves aloof or stoically accepting our faults. The key is to be open to the possibilities and laughter is one of those possibilities.

The exact lines of a joke or a skit need not always be funny. In fact, a joke that offends someone may fail to amuse someone else because the joke itself lacks in real effectiveness. The exact lines of a funny skit need not necessarily be funny in itself. For instance, the exact lines “Well, I can tell you my secret” or “I was thinking about you” in a child’s birthday or Christmas poem, or “Your mother knows” in a romance novel, or “Don’t you think I’m attractive” in a work of fiction all amount to saying, ‘Yes I do think so’, but these are not jokes but are ways of expressing feelings in a non-formal manner. When you observe others responding to a joke, note whether they find the punchline funny or not. Once you get the idea, you can start finding out the right way to use humour to express yourself in whatever difficult circumstance you find yourself in.

The power of laughter lies in its ability to change the dynamic of any given situation and make it almost feel like a comedy routine. But it is not just the rightly-timed rightness of a punchline that matters; the strength of its delivery is what counts. If a comic strip created comedy out of excessive seriousness or boredom, it would fail to achieve the desired effect of laughter. The reverse is also true – if the punchline is weak or illogical, the effect will be the opposite.

Even if a joke succeeds in creating an atmosphere of hilarity, it is not necessarily that something funny is being said. In general, the purpose of humor is to make people laugh, but this does not mean that they understand that what they are laughing at is actually a joke. It means only that some things are not right, and if they make people laugh, then that is what is meant by ‘making people laugh’.

A powerful understanding of this fact helps in developing the right attitude towards comedy. When someone tells you that a joke is not funny, try to remember what prompted their answer. Perhaps they are trying to communicate a different point of view than you on the subject. That is always a good sign that you should try a few jokes yourself. When you are able to put a few bits of thought into your responses to a funny clip, you can become very skilled at expressing yourself in ways that many other people cannot.