One of the most boring experiences in the world is listening to a person trying to tell a joke when it doesn’t work. Here are some basic rules of how and when to tell a joke.
The most basic rule is to only tell a joke when it is to the right person or to the right group, at the right time.
All jokes are created to only work with a specific audiences. There are jokes for men only, and most women don’t like them at all. There are jokes only for children, and adults find them simple. There are jokes for women only, and men find them humorless.
The best time to tell a joke, for some mystical reason, is when the joke is relevant to the discussion at hand. Then a joke can be like seasoning on the conversation. Usually jokes don’t work when they are out of contex with what is going on in the present moment.
Always leave the audience wanting more! Don’t be a bore. Rarely are two jokes in the same situation appropriate. Even if the first joke gets a good laugh….stop!
Make the joke seem realistic as possible. One of the themes of good humor is that the joke takes authentic reality and twists it into a ridiculous fashion. One of the effects of a good joke is that by laughing at an experience in reality — even if the experience was painful — it helps us transcend everyday reality.
Keep it short. The shorter the better. It is irritating to be forced to listen to a wannabe jokester go on and on, with his/her vivid descriptions, once she has the spotlight and she can monopolize the conversation with an endless joke.
A good joke is like a poem. All unnecessary words must be shaved off with Occum’s razor. It is very important to use the right words, just like in poetry. The right word or right phrase is what tickles the funny bone. A well phrased joke gives the audience an aesthetic pleasure, just like a good poem.
Obscenity, profanity and grossness is not humor. This is a mistake many professional comediens make. Even though making an obscene statement may get a cheap laugh, it doesn’t have the enlightening spiritual lift that authentic humor has. Most good obscene jokes get a laugh, not because they are obscene, but rather because within the obscenity, there is authentic humor. Often, you can shave off the obscenities and get just as much of a laugh, or even better.
You can make jokes about sex, religion, and other sensitive topics without being offensive or obscene. Just keep focused on the humor, and the hopeful laugh.
Remember, the main goal of a jokester is to be entertaining! It is not to be an egotist or a blowhard. It is not to irritate people with a humorless joke. The goal is to add a little joy to life.
Just like a professional comedian, keep testing a joke and keep modifying it until it gets the best laugh possible. If a joke bombs, and you still think it is funny, try it on different audiences and tell the joke different ways. Evaluate each joke you tell and ask yourself how you could have made it better. Only one in a hundred jokes are authentically funny. If a joke consistently bombs, throw it in the ashcan for heaven’s sake.
Most of the jokes written here have been tested to get a good chuckle. However, what works for one jokester may not work for another. Just as with every other endeavor in life, it is best if you are your authentic self when telling a joke and you tell it in your own unique, inimitable way. Keep working at your joke telling. Keep developing your art as a everyday humorist.
Write the good jokes down. They are like diamonds. A classic joke gets worn out soon, just as a classic song does, but it can be stored for a period of time, updated, and then used again and again, just like a classic song.
When you get a good authentic laugh, you’ve accomplished your mission. You’ve made your small contribution to alleviating the misery in the world and moving people closer to the truth, which is appreciating the mystery of existence.
Once your get a good laugh, for God’s sake, stop! A key to good entertainment is always leave them wanting more……not leave them thinking “when is going to stop.”
Telling two or three good jokes in an evening should be the maximum time to be a jokester. Having more serious discussion for a period of time makes the periodic jokes funnier and more entertainment.
Here is a cardinal rule, not only for joking around, but life in general: Don’t be a bore!