This is a free chapter from my new book ‘Offline Dating’.
I chose to give this chapter away because it’s a great example of the detail and expertise that’s included in this book.
I broke this skill down into a science, while keeping it easy and fun to read.
And I did the same for every other skill outlined in the book.
You can learn more about the book and buy it by clicking here.
Chapter 14: How To Be Funny
Marilyn Monroe said a lot of dumb and annoying things over the years, including that quote on every ratchet Tinder profile about accepting women at their worst.
But she does have one quote that I consider to be a golden piece of dating advice.
“If you can make a woman laugh, you can make her do anything.”
Humour is one of the most powerful and consistent tools to spike a woman’s emotions and make her want to be around you.
Most guys who can talk a woman into bed usually crack a fair few jokes along the way. Meanwhile, many of my clients who struggle with women describe themselves as ‘not funny’.
They justify this by explaining that they’re naturally serious and logical. Nonsense. Some people think you’re either born funny or you’re not. That’s so untrue. A sense of humour develops over time. Professional comedians work ruthlessly to master their craft. Their routines come as a result of painstaking trial and error. So, if you’re not a naturally funny guy, you can learn.
There’s an exact science to making someone laugh, and I’ve done my best to explain it in this chapter. Below, you’ll find eight golden rules of comedy that’ll make you instantly funnier.
Build Rapport With Your Audience
It’s easier to make someone laugh when they like you. This is because we’re more primed to laugh around people who already give us positive emotions.
A comedian will start longer routines by engaging with the crowd for this reason. He’ll often begin with self-deprecating or relatable jokes to make the audience feel like he’s ‘one of them’. This makes it easier to succeed with more polarising jokes later on.
So, if you’re at a party or social gathering, make sure to introduce yourself to everyone around you. Take a genuine interest in them. Don’t let anyone feel excluded. Issue compliments and find commonalities. This should stop anyone from taking an instant dislike to you.
It’s a good idea not to say anything too controversial within moments of meeting someone. If their first impression is your Holocaust gag, you could lose them and never win them back. When someone is determined not to like you, they’ll refuse to put themselves in the mood to laugh at anything. They might turn their friends against you too. So, you’re better off saving your edgy jokes until it’s clear everyone likes you.
Humour Is Infectious
You’re probably quite good at telling when someone is nervous or sad, even when they try to hide it. Most likely, their negative energy makes you feel a little down. It’s a natural law of the universe called The Law Of State Transference. Whatever you feel, they feel.
The same sensation occurs with your energy around other people. If you’re uncomfortable making a joke, your audience will feel uncomfortable. If you believe your material isn’t funny, it’ll be tough to make anyone giggle.
The good news is: if your material cracks you up, there’s a great chance that others will laugh. This might happen purely because of the funny energy they receive from you.
Ever experienced the beautiful moment where one person laughs at seemingly nothing, another follows, then the whole group is in tears? That’s the Law Of State Transference in action. The easiest way to make it work in your favour is to tell jokes that you find funny, rather than what you think other people will like.
The Structure Of A Joke
Once you understand the classic joke structure, it becomes easier to create them from scratch.
The basic structure of a joke consists of:
- a set-up (which creates an expectation);
- a punchline (which defies the expectation).
Here’s an example from the late Sir Ken Dodd.
“I do all the exercises every morning in front of the television — up, down, up, down, up, down.”
“Then the other eyelid.”
The set-up suggests he’s talking about physical exercise, then the punchline takes his story in a different direction. It’s this surprise that creates the sensation of laughter. Most jokes follow this simple structure.
The longer your set-up, the funnier your punchline needs to be. So, don’t make your set-ups too lengthy. Cut everything but what’s needed for the punchline to make sense. Don’t tell stories like Grandpa Simpson.
How To Find A Basic Punchline
If you struggle to come up with punchlines, this list of templates will help you.
The ‘opposite’ punchline
Punchlines that take the joke in the opposite direction of the set-up. Positive turns to negative. Inspirational turns to cynical. Innocent turns to morbid.
“It was beautiful weather in Los Angeles today. I spent the whole day on…Facebook.”
This example joke by Mark Normand has an extroverted set-up and an introverted punchline. You expect he’s going to talk about the beach when he actually stayed indoors all day.
The ‘wordplay’ punchline
Punchlines that play with the double-meanings of words. These are also called ‘puns’.
“How many friend-zoned guys does it take to change a lightbulb? None. They just compliment it and get mad when it won’t screw.”
This joke plays on the double-meaning of the word screw.
The ‘exaggeration’ punchline
Punchlines that exaggerate the expectation created by the set-up.
“I’ve not been laid in so long, my virginity grew back.”
This is a clear exaggeration because your virginity can’t grow back.
The ‘understatement’ punchline
Punchlines that understate the reaction to the set-up.
“I broke up with my girlfriend. She moved in with another guy, and I draw the line at that.”
This joke by Garry Shandling is a great example. To ‘draw the line’ at her moving with someone else is clearly an understated reaction to a huge betrayal.
The ‘absurd’ punchline
An absurd reaction or solution to the set-up. Something that would never happen in normal society.
“I had a real chatty Uber driver. Don’t you hate that? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a smalltalk option on the app??”
This set-up from Mark Normand is absurd in itself and usually creates titters from the audience. Then, he goes one step further into absurdity with the punchline…
“You have to find your own way to quieten the guy. I like to scare him. He asks ‘Hey, what do you think is causing this traffic?’ I say ‘I dunno…probably the Jews’”.
It’s an absurd punchline in two ways. The idea that he’d be racist just to quieten a cab driver, plus the idea that Jews would be causing heavy traffic.
The ‘double-down’ punchline
This is where you make the audience expect a twist, but keep going down the same path.
“I’m not just a pretty face, I also have a great rack!”
With this set-up, the audience would normally expect a woman to follow up with something that isn’t superficial. Instead, she keeps going and becomes more superficial.
Timing Is Everything
A witty comedian needs to learn to think fast. If he’s too slow with his response to a situation, the joke will fall flat. A good exercise to improve the speed of your wit is to create a list of set-ups, then rattle off different types of punchlines for each.
- The ‘opposite’ punchline
- The ‘wordplay’ punchline
- The ‘understatement’ punchline
- The ‘absurd’ punchline
- The ‘exaggeration’ punchline
- The ‘double-down’ punchline
These are unlikely to all be hilarious, but it’ll get you in the habit of dreaming up punchlines with speed. You can use bizarre things that happened to you throughout your day as set-ups. Then, you can use your favourite punchlines when telling your friends the story of what happened. An improv class is a great place to practice these sorts of exercises. In these classes, you’ll be presented with various scenarios to improvise and make funny.
Creating space for your audience to laugh is another essential part of timing your jokes. So, leave a gap of silence after your punchlines. Experiment with pauses before your punchline to create anticipation too.
Perfect Your Delivery
Enthusiasm is the key to a perfect joke delivery. Tell your story as if it’s the most epic tale they’ve ever heard. Don’t hold back. Be loud and proud. Remember, whatever you feel, they feel.
Body language is also a great tool to supercharge your humour. Consider what emotion you should portray to make your punchline funnier. If you can exaggerate your joke using facial expressions or by telling the story with your hands, do it.
Multiply Your Laughs With ‘Tags’
A ‘tag’ is anything you add after your punchline to get another laugh. This could be a second or third punchline for the same set-up, although tags don’t have to be punchlines at all. You can also tag by:
- physically acting out the punchline;
- adding an example of what your punchline would look like;
- exploring how someone else in the story reacted;
- reacting to an audience member’s reaction;
- making a callback to a previous joke.
This is perhaps beyond a beginner’s level of comedy, but it’s the easiest way to build on previous laughs and have your audience falling over themselves.
The More Jokes You Make, The More Laughs You’ll Get
With this knowledge at their fingertips, anyone can be funny. But you’ll still have to find the bravery to speak up and make your witty comment. You have to risk your joke bombing. An awkward silence is a real possibility.
To get over that, I like to remember that everyone wants to be able to let loose and enjoy a joke. If you’re at least trying to create that light-hearted atmosphere, others will respect that. They won’t hate you for making a bad joke (unless it’s truly offensive). In most cases, people will forget about it within a few moments. You’ll never realise this unless you try though.
A great sense of humour is a trait that most people desire in a friend or partner. The joy of making someone laugh is a win-win for both parties. So, get in the habit of firing your punchlines as soon as they pop into your head. You’ll make the world a better place by doing so.
My book ‘Offline Dating’ teaches you all the skills needed to excel at seducing in the real world. To learn more about the book, click here or watch the video below.