Yes! There’s a myth going around which says humor can’t be studied–you need to be born naturally funny. It’s something you either know or you don’t. Everyone else says just by watching witty things, like watching funny YouTube videos or reading funny articles or blog posts or watching funny TV shows will make you become a witty person.
While beneficial, this isn’t the case right?
Consider if this applied to other skills in life. Do you learn how to draw simply by visiting an art gallery and taking a look at the paintings? Or learn how to play the guitar by listening to a guitar solo? This logic clearly doesn’t apply for these talents, and that’s why it doesn’t make any sense when you’re thinking of figuring out how to be funny either. Just understanding what’s funny doesn’t necessarily make you funny.
People today who have attempted to be funny by making a joke and receive unfavorable feedback have it far worse. You make a joke, nobody laughs, and then you get that sinking, humiliating feeling inside. It makes you not want to try making a joke ever again.
Sharing funny pictures or images that you found online doesn’t make you funny–it just shows that you have a sense of humor. But developing your own humor and developing your very own one-of-a-kind content just from your own way of life or imagination involves skill. And that skill can be learned.
One thing you can do that can help cultivate your funny, charming personality is by paying attention to your environment. Seems strange, but listen for a second. Rather than spotting a tree while you’re going for a walk, make note of the details about the tree. What color is it? Do you notice many trees around or is it just by itself? Is there anything unusual about the tree? Think about the leaves; are there a lot or just a little? What shade are the leaves?
When you start paying attention to all the details, big or small, good ideas arise. This is called the baseline, which is essentially the factual information you’ve got to work with. The greater your baseline, the more you are able to explore your ideas. If all you saw was just “tree” then your entire baseline is very limited, and you’ll have almost nothing to build from there. The baseline acts as the basic foundation and the more you have to work with, the better.
The next step you can do is to get started in thinking about strange or interesting observations you may make about any details you can note within your baseline. Is there something funny about the tree? Would you relate it to something different in your life? Does it seem like something you recognize elsewhere? That’s usually where you got to stretch your imagination–a lot of us don’t really think creatively enough and trying to think of interesting topics to talk about or compare things to will take time for you to cultivate. But this is how the process works–you don’t become witty by saying mundane things.
The final thing to do is reduce: nearly every joke benefits from being shorter. The shorter the better, since the longer you force people to pay attention to what you’ve said to be able to get the joke, the more difficult it becomes to actually be funny. The best jokes are one-liners for a simple reason: they are straight and to the point. Jokes with a back-story can also work, particularly if it’s in written form, but can you think about telling a joke with a back-story within a conversation? It requires the audience to keep in mind so many details to appreciate the reason why it’s funny, and you risk dropping their attention while you give them the details they need to understand the joke.
Make it easy for your audience with easy to understand material and make it funny without making it too lengthy and you’ll find yourself expressing your natural funny, enchanting character almost instantly.