For many people the words funny and witty are synonymous. But exactly which is the true definition of the word? And how does one go about making sure that they use the right words at the right times? Here are a few basic rules you need to follow:
Joke is a word that is loosely applied to a variety of things, but a good rule of thumb is that if something can be called a joke then most likely it is. The best place to start is with the word itself. Haircut is funny, while Synonyms and similar words are not.
If you cannot tell whether or not something is a joke, it is not a joke, no matter how much people may try to tell you otherwise. A lot of the definition of the word has to do with humor, the ability to make others laugh, as well as other related emotions. Humor is subjective, but there is a good chance that the definition you have in your head right now will be different from the ones around you. The point of humor is to make us laugh, and the ability to make others laugh is necessary for successful communication. When you tell someone a joke and they do not feel comfortable with it, that is not the point of it, you still made your point without having to say anything.
So when you decide that a joke is too far, it is time to move on to other avenues. The first thing that you need to establish is the emotional response that you are hoping to trigger. Emotions play a major role in laughter, so you should think about what you would like the person to be feeling when they hear your joke. Is there a glint in their eye or a smirk on their face? This is the type of response you are looking for to help you get the full effect of the humor.
Once you establish the emotional reaction that you are hoping to create, the next step is to focus on the positive affect that you hope to create. If you are hoping for them to laugh so that they can laugh at your joke, then this will likely happen. However, if you want them to laugh because it makes them feel happy or excited, this likely will not happen either. It is important to remember that the key to comedy is using the right emotions in your jokes.
Once you have the reaction established, it is time to focus on the positive affect that you are hoping for your audience to feel. This is much easier than trying to get them to laugh with your jokes. The goal is to use humor to bring out the positive characteristics in others while highlighting the negative qualities as well. This will allow you to have a lot of success when you are telling funny stories and making others laugh.