Humour Hide & Seek Part 3: Testing Your Funny

Ladies and Gentlemen and adoring readers, over the past few weeks I have been trying to get my funny back. It’s still not at 100% and it comes and goes, but I have found reasons to laugh and ways to make other people laugh. One of the best ways I know to get through the tough stuff is laughing, even though that can be the hardest time to find something to laugh about. I see this as a challenge, and not just any old challenge, but a challenge I can win. I love to laugh. It feels so good doesn’t it? And hearing other people laugh, especially if I was the one who inspired their laughter, warms my heart and it makes me feel good. Also, someone laughing at my jokes only encourages me, which I see as a good thing. Based on my experiments and experiences over the past few weeks, I have some additional advice for getting your funny back and possible results for trying those things out.

Drinking Caffeinated Beverages

Be careful!

If you’re sensitive to caffeine like I am, it makes you funny. You feel funny (as in strange), it makes your heart beat fast, and in my case it makes me talk fast which is funny for other people to listen to. It even makes you more entertaining to yourself as you laugh at how weird you feel or how fast you’re talking. For some the caffeine may have a similar effect to alcohol in that it could reduce your inhibitions. That means it pokes holes in your filter and the jokes start spilling out. Inappropriate? Maybe, but who cares! It’s funny! Something to watch out for here is that you may regret some of the things that you say later on, but I can’t see that being much different from every-day life so I still say go for it (just keep your filter intact around your boss, in case that could be an issue).

Practise Talking to People

As an introvert, I am quiet at first and might be inclined to stay in when I’m not feeling funny, but getting out does help. Hanging out with just one other friend keeps an introvert feeling safe and comfortable works well, and worked well for me last week. I challenged myself and ventured out to an event to where there were a few people I knew, and others I had never met. So it was a little less comfortable since making conversation was…required. I went to a birthday dinner recently, and I may have been slightly overdressed, but I looked phenomenal and felt confident. And because I was late arriving (why is could be the subject of another article). The short version is, I made an entrance – a more subtle, introverted type of entrance, but I was noticed. Anyway, after I got comfortable and had something to eat (funny needs fuel) I was positively charming. My wit knew no bounds and my filter was at times absent. That means that in this birthday dinner-party situation I had ample opportunity to experiment with my weird jokes, timing, and trying old material out on new people. I like meeting new people (sometimes) if only to use my tried-and-true jokes on them and get that BIG laugh!

Knowing that these jokes worked in the past and got the laugh starts a person off with some confidence, which can be built on. That’s how I became so charming and got the laughs! Hearing people laugh made me feel good, AND funny!

You may know that something I’m big on is getting to know something about, and gauging the audience. One thing I do is evaluate the dynamic in the room and get a sense of what people might laugh at in a social situation. I tried some “safe” as in “appropriate” and slightly dry humour (because that’s my natural style) to start with, and then once I had that sense of what the person(s) I was conversing with would respond to, I went to the riskier stuff. So as I was talking to people, I was assessing: “Is this person going to respond well to weirdness (which also comes naturally to some of us)”? Will they get it? I have a special talent for figuring this out. I was careful not to say anything offensive, but the weirdness factor went up for sure, and my filter became, let’s say, full of holes. One person even questioned whether I had a filter to begin with. See? Absolutely and positively charming. If you’re trying to get your funny back, I suggest that if you find it necessary to do so, abandon your inner filter entirely. It’s likely that you won’t even notice it has disappeared until it’s too late. You may second-guess yourself afterward, but you’ll get the laugh. And if that’s what you care about at the time, then get the laugh and clean up the mess later (in any case, you’re just being authentic). Getting your funny back (or finding it in the first place) sometimes involves a little bit of risk-taking.

Improv-Comedy

Something that I have yet to try as a way of getting my funny back is testing it out doing improv-comedy at or with an improv-comedy club where strangers can see me acting out my funny. One place I try to work it in is at my local public-speaking club. The audience is different every week, so we get the regular challenge of “figuring out” a different audience each time. Have you ever done stand-up comedy? If you’re really feeling brave (I consider it very brave) go ahead and try out your funny on a group of strangers at an amateur comedy night. Let me know how it goes if you do it.  Doing this is a huge test of whether you’ve got your funny back. You don’t have to go in cold though – writing is an important part of being funny in this situation. And if you’re making yourself laugh as you’re writing, odds are others will laugh too.

Keeping On Going

When you’re working on getting your funny back, I’ve found that it’s important not to let the discouragement of not getting a laugh stop you from trying out different jokes to see if those get laughs. In fact, it’s the reason for all of this experimentation. I can’t tell you the exact statistics or percentages for how many of my attempts at humour got laughs over the past few weeks, except to say that it was less than 100%. So, keep going and keep trying. If someone didn’t laugh right away, I saw it as an opportunity to try again until my mission of making the person laugh before the end of the conversation was accomplished. If I find that a person doesn’t have a sense of humour and I can’t do anything about it, I’ll move onto the next person and avoid the other person for the rest of the evening. I haven’t given up, I’m simply moving on. I’m keeping on going one step and one joke at a time.

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E-mail kathryn@kathrynreichheld.ca Hours Contact me anytime and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.
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