Humour is the spice of life: a little here or there goes a long way. It is a gift that keeps on giving: when an audience laughs, they settle in to enjoy themselves and you loosen up and gain confidence to deliver your best. On that note, joke telling has never been my thing. Telling a funny story? Sure. Taking the mickey out of my friends? Maybe. But telling a joke, which screams “Laugh at me!” has always been a struggle.
Joke-telling is so much harder than it looks. Some of us (like myself) think we just don’t have the knack in telling a joke. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Luckily for us that is not true as there are a few simple tricks that professional stand-ups employ which can improve your joke-telling ability.
Just imagine – you went to a comedy show & the next day back in the office or at home that evening, you try retelling that hilarious gag to your friends. But your joke telling goes something like this: “Hang on, how did it start? “Oeps, sorry, that’s the punch line. OK, I’ve got it now, there were these two men – no there were these three women – at an hotel. Sorry, they were on their way to an hotel…”
That sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Therefor today, on “Tell a Joke Day” I have asked a few of my friends that work in comedy to give me a few secrets on joke telling and how not to mess it up!
Experts tips for maximum laughs:
1. Know your audience
– Before you tell a joke, even to your friends, it is a good idea to know your audience.
– If you’re going to say something that’s only moderately funny, make sure the set-up is short. There is nothing worse listening to joke that’s ten minutes long when the punch line could have been said after a minute.
– Don’t tread on a laugh either, which occurs when the next line is lost because the audience are still laughing at the previous one.”
3. Punch line
– A joke has a natural rhythm, if the punch line demands a pause, then pause.
– Jokes are often funnier if you rehearse them, even if it’s only in your head, there is nothing worse getting a third of the way through and then remember you’ve forgotten something.
– By practising the joke to yourself or others, you have time to often improve on it. You’re not committed to retelling a joke exactly the same way you were first heard it. You can make it funnier each time.
5. Choose the right moment
– Don’t tell a gag when everyone is putting their drinks order in
– Pick a time that will have the most impact.
6. Don’t undersell your joke
– Don’t play it down by saying: ‘actually, this isn’t that funny’
7. Don’t oversell your joke
– Don’t tell them ‘you’re going to love this’ as that might make them resistant to liking it.
So before setting off to enjoy National Tell a Joke Day, make sure to tell us your favourite jokes in the comments below – just keep them clean! (Clean jokes tend to take more creativity and skill anyway).
On that note, perhaps I should end with a joke as well: A guest checks into Glenburn Lodge for the first time in his life & goes to his room. Five minutes later he calls the front desk and says:
“You’ve given me a room with no exit…how do I leave?”
The Receptionist says: “Sir, that is absurd, have you looked for the door?”
The guest says: “Well there is one door that leads to the bathroom. There’s a second door that goes into the cupboard and there is a third door I haven’t tried, but it has a ‘do not disturb’ sign on it”