How To Tell A Good Joke

DR YOMI GARNETT By DR YOMI GARNETT, 27th Oct 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Personal Development>Social Abilities

The fear of our joke falling flat sometimes prevents us from expressing that natural, humorous side of our human nature. Step out and break the myth by learning how to tell great jokes with ease, poise and confidence.

Why Are Jokes Considered Such A Delight?

Jokes possess great value in allowing us to laugh at those incidents and circumstances that are so much a part of our lives, allowing us to view them from fresh perspectives.
Jokes are significant for various reasons. Humor helps us to see issues with new eyes. In addition to this, we can drive home a message more effectively if we add some humor into a serious discussion. A third reason is that, since most presentations can seem quite dull and boring to audiences, a speaker who enriches and spices his delivery with well-told jokes will invariably lift the mood of the gathering, making him or her better appreciated and more popular. Additionally, laughter has tremendous therapeutic value because it stimulates the release of endorphins into the bloodstream. Endorphins are chemical substances in the brain that have the effect of relieving tension.

Why Are People Scared Of Telling Jokes?

While it is quite valid that the ability to tell well-crafted jokes is not an easy one to cultivate, it is also true that most people avoid telling jokes for one reason or the other. Possibly, they once told a joke that fell flat. On the other hand, the possibility of appearing not only silly, but also patently ridiculous, may also prevent people from telling jokes. Another reason may be the fear of offending the sensibilities of others. Despite all these misgivings, however, let us quickly establish that we don’t all have to be natural comedians to infuse well-timed humor into our verbal interactions.

How To Build Up Your Own Collection Of Jokes

Comedy is an art that you can develop with some practice.
These are five strategies that can help you build up your own repertoire of jokes:
1. Invest some time in reading funny and comical books.
2. Take time out of your busy schedule to watch comedies on television.
3. Deliberately include the occasional visit to a comedy club in your social calendar.
4. Associate with funny people who can make you laugh.
5. Consciously make a note of the funny incidents in your own life, so that you can develop the ability to insinuate the humorous, and sometimes outright hilarious, into social and formal interactions.

Strategies For Telling A Good Joke

Here are seven proven strategies for learning how to tell a good joke to an appreciative audience:
1. Select four very good jokes that have made you laugh in the past. These could be from your favorite joke book, from the internet, or even from a comedy club. If you were making a presentation, pick a couple that have some relevance to your subject matter and creatively insinuate them into your presentation.
2. Practice your jokes aloud in front of a mirror, delivering them with a style unique to you, and with an easy confidence and poise.
3. Every joke has, what in the comical industry, is called a punch line. This is the critical, laughter-inducing finale to the joke. Focus on this punch line and ensure that you can deliver it perfectly.
4. Seize the right, crucial moment for telling your joke, keeping at the back of your mind that the most amusing jokes are often delivered when they are least expected. It is this apparent spontaneity that makes jokes the great delight they can sometimes be.
5. Another subtle trick is this: as a rule, you would be serious as you start telling your joke, and then take your audience unawares with your punch line!
6. Be deliberate and confident in your delivery. Many people ruin their jokes by nervously rushing through them, or becoming quite discordant by mumbling them. It is to avoid this tendency that you are encouraged to practice thoroughly before a mirror. Make it a habit to pause for a brief moment before you deliver your punch line. The stage is yours, after all, and no one is rushing you. This can have the dramatic effect of keeping your audience in animated suspense, if only for that brief moment!
7. Make it a point to have a joke ready for situations that may present themselves during during an event. For instance, if a waiter drops a tray, you could tell the appropriate joke to smooth over the awkward moment.

The Narrative Joke

There is a specific type of joke that you could master to the point of perfection over time. It is called the narrative joke. This type of joke would usually begin by establishing characters and setting, as one would with any story. Next, you would build tension in the joke by placing the characters in absurd situations, and ascribing outrageous and absurd dialogue to them. Having succeeded in putting your listeners on the edge of their seats, you would then resolve the tension with a punch line! However, to create a more relaxed atmosphere, the joke would be better told in the present tense, rather than the past tense. For instance, "A drunk strolls into a bar," would serve better than, "A drunk strolled into a bar.” Also, as the narrator of the joke, you would do well not to laugh at your own joke, as this can only rob it of its effectiveness, and this becomes especially true if you dare laugh before delivering your punch line. Additionally, if your punch line relies on a pun, or a very key word, for its humor, you would emphasize the word or phrase that constitutes the pun by saying it more clearly, and louder than the rest of the punch line, for maximal effectiveness.

Delivering Your Punch Line

A punch line is the final part of a joke, and is usually the word or sentence which is intended to be the really funny part of the joke, with the sole intention of provoking laughter or introspective thought from listeners. Few punch lines are inherently funny out of context, but when you set up the foundation of the joke, building up expectation in your audience, your punch line effectively functions as the climax of the anecdote. The fascinating fact, perhaps, about punch lines is that they generally derive their humor from their entire unexpectedness! Below are a few examples of punch lines that I have used on and off over the past few years:

Your future depends on your dreams................So, go to sleep!

Alcohol Kills Slowly….....................So what? Who’s in a hurry?

Can I do anything that others can't?.....Sure. I can read my own handwriting.

A drunk was bundled into the court.
Judge: “You've been brought here for drinking.......”
Drunk ( exclaiming) : “ Great! When do we get started?”

Light travels faster than sound.............That is why people appear bright until you hear them speak.

• Should women have children after 35?........No! 35 children are enough!

A conscience does not prevent sin..It only prevents you from enjoying it.

War doesn't determine who's right.................War determines who's left.

I'm a nobody, but then nobody is perfect,………. therefore I'm perfect!

Where there's a will...........................I want to be in it!

Take my advice.......................... I don't use it anyway!

Match Your Joke With Your Audience

You must always match your joke to your audience. A joke that is hilarious on the golf course may not be appropriate at the church bazaar. Risqué jokes may elicit rib-cracking mirth at a birthday party, but will only produce discomfiture at a management meeting. Admittedly, most jokes will mildly challenge taboos, but any tendency towards seriously offending people can only be seen as an error in judgment, and must be avoided. In according tasteful consideration to the jokes you tell, the following should really be no-go areas: racist jokes, sexual innuendos, jokes that make fun of someone's religion and jokes about people's appearances, as these are are likely to offend someone in the audience.
Finally, insist on being both a good joke teller and a good joke receiver, by appreciating and laughing at others peoples’ jokes.


Anecdote, Comedian, Comedy Club, Comical, Humor, Joke, Joke Book, Laughter, Laughter Is Good Medicine, Punch Line, Tell A Joke

Meet the author

author avatar DR YOMI GARNETT
I am a physician turned creative writer. I have authored three books; one on stress, and the other two in the genre of the motivational. I am also a ghostwriter, biographer and article writer.

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author avatar snerfu
28th Oct 2013 (#)

I never knew until today, the chemistry behind why laughter relieves tension. Thanks for the share. Good article Dr Garnett.

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author avatar DR YOMI GARNETT
28th Oct 2013 (#)

Thank you for the encouraging words, Mr. snerfu. Please accept my respectful and sincere regards.
DR Garnett.

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