How to Be Funny — The Definitive Guide

Welcome to the most comprehensive guide on how to be funny that anyone has ever written. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about making people laugh.

Mastering the art of humor will enable you to become a fun person to be around. Being funny allows you to connect with people instantly, build stronger relationships faster and avoid numerous awkward situations in your life.

Not only that, scientific research shows that the ability to make people laugh makes them more likely to be interested in dating you!

The question you are probably asking is: how can I be more interesting and funny? This is exactly where our ultimate guide to humor comes into play.

Let’s get into it.

How to be funny?

Can You Be Naturally Un-Funny?

Can you be naturally un-funny?

If the answer to this was affirmative, do you really think we would have ever written this guide?

People don’t just pop into this world, cry for a few seconds, and walk off to bring us the best ‘Live at the Apollo’ performance we have seen in years.

Humor is a delicate skill, but at the end of the day, that’s all it is – a skill. That means you can learn and perfect it. You just have to know where to look (hint – you are in the right place!).

Back when we were trying to figure out how to master humor, the information was scattered all over the place. Sure, there were a few partially good books, a couple of mediocre articles, and that mind-numbingly boring family member who wants to teach you their ways.

So what did we do?

We spent months reading books, watching videos, buying courses, interviewing comedians, and observing our funny friends. As a matter of fact, we still do all of those things!

The only way to improve is to keep learning, day after day, month after month. While you can use some of our tips as quick fixes, our goal is to help you with long-term self-improvement.

We have compiled everything we have ever learned about humor into this article, hoping it would be your go-to guide on how to be funny for years to come.

Who Should Read This Guide?

Young man wondering.

We all go through a phase of our lives where things in our social life seem hopeless. You have that constant, weird feeling in your gut that you don’t belong anywhere and that you truly struggle when it comes to connecting with people.

Almost every interaction you have with those around you seems to be a disaster. Can you relate to any of these things:

  • You never try to make jokes when you are out with a large group of people.
  • People may like you, but they don’t seem to love spending time with you.
  • If you had to, you would rate your conversations interesting but not hilarious.
  • Nobody has ever considered you as the funny person in their life. Good – yes! Smart – yes! But a they-always-bring-me-close-to-tears-kind-of-funny friend? Nope.

Been there, done that. The information we are going to show you here will help you change all of those things.

There is no point in waiting anymore. Let’s get into the good stuff!

What Makes a Person Funny?

We all have our unique sense of humor, and we find different things funny. The same goes for people. There is this wonderful quote we love:

I thought I was funny as f**k till I started doing stand-up.

Patrice O’Neal

The thing about the quality of humor is that it has a very strong link to how we communicate and the interaction patterns that we prefer. Being funny is not simply a matter of being liked, although it has a lot to do with it.

It is also a good indicator of excellent communication skills and the ability to adapt. Being funny is also a very powerful way to make a statement and hold your own in a group of people.

With that being said, you cannot confine humor to one particular type. Similarly, you can’t define being funny as the ability to tell jokes.

What you can do is look at humor as a part of your personality and work to improve every aspect of it.

Four main things make a person funny:

  • great sense of humor
  • proper mindset
  • execution of funny interactions
  • communication skills

We are starting with your sense of humor.

Section #1 – How to Develop a Sense of Humor

Your unique sense of humor.

If you could choose one characteristic that would get you through life, choose a sense of humor.

━Jennifer Jones

People often believe that a good sense of humor is a natural personality trait. The truth is that you can develop it just like any other life skill.

While our humor is constantly evolving ever since our birth, sometimes people might struggle with expressing it properly or relating to others’ sense of humor.

If this sounds like you, here are a few tips that can help you out.

Step #1 – Identify your unique sense of humor.

The first step on your lifelong journey of developing a great sense of humor is understanding what you find funny and what you don’t.

After all, learning how to be funny is never about being unnatural or telling scripted jokes. It all starts with understanding yourself and letting your true personality shine through!

You need to dive deeper into why you feel certain ways regarding different kinds of comedy. This approach will help you identify and develop your own style of humor instead of forcing yourself to laugh at things your friends may find funny.

Once you’re aware of the kind of jokes (dry, dark, or even stupid ones) you enjoy, you can slowly try putting them into practice with your friends and family.

Step #2 – Immerse yourself in your favorite humor.

Research has proven that fully immersing yourself in a particular subject is incredibly effective in helping you learn more.

For this reason, you’d want to absorb a lot of comedic material.

You can watch stand-up comedians that you enjoy, listen to comedy podcasts that brighten up your day, or read some humorous books!

The purpose of this is not to allow you to blatantly copy the jokes great comedians make. The idea is to examine their body language, facial expressions, the timing and delivery of their jokes.

You don’t have to mimic them, but a careful analysis can help you better understand what makes people laugh and how to execute it naturally.

Step #3 – Establish boundaries for yourself.

To have a great sense of humor, you should be well aware of the lines that you should not cross while sharing jokes with other people.

Avoid racist, sexist and bigoted jokes that may offend others, even if that wasn’t your intention. Be very careful about the type of humor that is appropriate and the other kinds that are not!

Instead of such derogatory jokes, focus on positive humor as it is more likely to be well-received by others.

Step #4 – Expand your views.

Once you understand what makes you laugh, why is that the case, and how your favorite funny people do it – you are ready for the final step!

Developing your sense of humor starts with the three steps above, but the crucial part that will last your entire life is this one.

You should always be exploring different types of humor and trying to find various things that you (and other people) find funny. Only by constantly surrounding yourself with a wide variety of humorous materials will you be able to develop your unique sense of humor further.

Keep growing and evolving and make great humor a part of your DNA!

Section #2 – How to Develop the Proper Mindset

The right mindset.

If you can build a muscle, you can build a mindset.

━Jay Shetty

Much like many things in your life – learning how to be funny cannot be separated from developing a proper mindset.

You need to know how to think like a funny person to become one.

Let’s go through the key frames of mind that should become second nature to you.

Frame #1 – Be ready for any type of response.

Funny people are not too concerned with getting a positive response. Rather, humor is a good expressive outlet for them.

Do you tell jokes primarily to make people like you or because you truly enjoy your own sense of humor?

Focusing on the outcome (whether people laugh or not) is the least important part of your journey. Since not many of us are out to become stand-up comedians, we should focus and start small – with a simple mindset shift.

It is vital to understand you will never be able to ensure that everybody enjoys your humor.

If you find something funny, and your friends don’t – there is nothing wrong with that. Your senses of humor just differ a bit.

In fact, it is the very dilemma of this century that regardless of what type of joke one makes, they are sure to offend at least one person. This does not in any way mean that we encourage you to put the most offensive and hurtful jokes out there. A move like this completely defeats the purpose of humor in the first place.

Sure, the basic purpose of trying to be funny is to make other people feel good and to make them laugh.

But, it is only natural that different people enjoy different things. The same goes for what appeals to people as funny and what doesn’t.

So, if you want to learn how to be funny, keep learning through exposure. Say what you think might be funny and shoot your shot without focusing too much on how much people enjoy it.

Slowly, through this, you’ll be able to adapt to and determine what most people like and don’t like. Eventually, you’ll find your place with what type of humor works for you and those around you.

Frame #2 – Find the ‘funny’ in everything.

Exploring things from new angles is always a good idea to obtain a fresher perspective.

The same goes for humor and all its aspects.

If you try looking at things from the perspective of their potential to make others laugh or just generally sound funny, then you’re bound to come up with something.

So, try to adopt a lighter and more relaxed perspective on life and its many facets. This approach will help you learn how to be funny by simply thinking of the hilarious angles of a situation, even if it seems frustrating and infuriating.

Using this strategy will serve the dual purpose of improving your humor and allowing you to deal with unexpected situations better.

Frame #3 – Take yourself less seriously.

This technique is an excellent way to keep yourself grounded in situations that seem to be getting the best of you.

For instance, in a stressful circumstance, try imaging the utter hilarity of it all. Taking ourselves too seriously is always what gets us so worked up over little things.

If, instead, you do the exact opposite, then you’ll notice how not only you’ll find yourself getting funnier, but also more relaxed and happy.

Being comfortable enough to make fun of yourself is an excellent way to become more relatable and look more confident. The ability to laugh at your own flaws or mistakes is a sign of high self-esteem.

Of course, this does not in any way mean that you have to try to find something funny in life situations that do not call for humor at all, but of course, you will be the better judge of that.

Frame #4 – Use energy to fuel up your humor.

Though this piece of advice might sound a bit bland, it is the farthest from it in reality.

Putting good and positive energy into things has a way of making them infinitely more interesting and drawing to others. Thus, adding enthusiasm is an essential part of being funnier because more energy can leave a stronger impression on people.

Think of why certain comedians always have the spark that others seem to lack. This spark is the energy that they add to the delivery of their jokes and comedic material. This energy adds charm and magnetism to their humor.

Do you remember that friend from high school or college who was able to make everything funny, regardless of what they were saying?

You just gave yourself an example of why adding enthusiasm to the general dynamic of our humor tends to work in our favor.

It is important to note that overdoing things is never a good idea.

It ultimately renders the entire humor angle of things useless. People will notice you are dying to get others to like you or find you interesting.

So, be careful to find a working balance as you add enthusiasm and energy to your delivery.

Frame #5 – Fish for opportunities.

If you want to showcase your humor, then allow yourself the chance to do so!

It is the perfect way to create opportunities to try out the popularity of certain jokes or anecdotes that you might have in mind.

Of course, you shouldn’t start running around telling jokes and stories without proper context or a reasonable opportunity.

You can also consider being funny a matter of seizing and creating appropriate opportunities for yourself to show your sense of humor!

While this might sound like a particularly hard task, it’s not the case. It is simply a matter of practicing your timing.

Pro Tip: How to create an opportunity?

Do you want to know the easiest way to tell a joke that you have been dying to tell for ages?

It’s simple. Strike a topic that ties well with the kind of humorous statement you want to make.

You can almost categorize this as very well-chosen bait that is bound to bring in a good catch.

Don’t make it too obvious, though. Slip in a question or an idea that will trigger the conversation in the direction you want and wait for the natural opportunity to tell your story.

Section #3 – How to Be Witty & Funny in Conversations

How to be funny in conversations.

There’s only one true superpower amongst human beings, and that is being funny. People treat you differently if you can make them laugh.

━Jeff Garlin

Slowly but surely – we have reached the part of the post you may have been looking forward to the most.

So far, you have understood the importance of working on your sense of humor and developing the right mindset.

In this section, we will be covering the exact methods and tips on how to tell your funny stories and jokes in a way that will make everybody laugh.

The best thing about it – we will give you examples for each tip on the list so that you can understand the concept entirely.

Let’s get started.

Tip #1 – Master the delivery.

How many times have you told a joke at a party only for it to fall flat and get no reaction from your audience?

If this is an issue you struggle with, it’s quite likely that it wasn’t the joke itself that bored the audience, but rather it was your delivery of that joke.

If you want to learn how to be funny, you’ll have to keep several things in mind while telling jokes to others:

  • Be relaxed and confident while telling your joke. If you believe that your joke is funny, your audience is more likely to find it funny as well. On the contrary, if you’re tense and awkward while narrating, your emotions will carry on to them as well.
  • Vary the rate of your speech and volume. Telling your joke in a monotone is bound to lose your audience’s interest. Make sure that you understand the power of pauses and properly emphasize the important parts of the story.
  • Signal the punchline. You can build up suspense by adding a slight pause for effect before concluding your joke, hence capturing your listeners’ attention.

The Example

Great comedians can pull all of this off even in a single sentence! Watch Jimmy Carr execute one-liners perfectly (and pay attention to the pauses!):

Tip #2 – Give unexpected answers.

A fun and easy technique to use to get a laugh from the people around you is to give the opposite answer to questions that have a highly anticipated reply.

When you give an opposite answer to such a question, your listeners are momentarily stunned before they get the joke and burst out in laughter.

The Example

Say your friend is celebrating a birthday in a fancy restaurant and you rarely go to such places. You feel uncomfortable and don’t know how to behave. 

A waiter brings in the main dish, and you have no idea how to eat that thing! Naturally, your friends start teasing you a bit because – well, why not.

Instead of being defensive and embarrassed, remember what we told you before – stop taking yourself seriously. Let’s look at this part of a potential conversation:

Them: It seems you are struggling with that one, buddy. Have you ever eaten *insert a fancy dish* before?

Now, the obvious answer everyone is expecting is negative. However, you can add a slight twist and simply respond unexpectedly:

You: Oh, yes! As you can see – I am an expert at this particular treat.

We bet you would get a few good laughs!

Is this the highest form of humor that exists?

Of course not. But it works – and it has the power to make even the most mundane conversations a bit more interesting!

Let’s keep going.

Tip #3 – Share anecdotes and real-life stories.

Stories that have occurred in real life are often more fun to listen to instead of fictional jokes.

As everyone has their own unique life experiences, the story you tell will be unlike any your listeners have ever heard before.

So the next time anything funny happens to you, make sure that you remember it and describe that experience to your friends and family. It could be something hilarious that you overheard or if it’s a silly mistake you made.

Doing this regularly can help you improve your overall storytelling skills.

The Example

Take a look at Bill Burr as he tells a hilarious story about owning a dog:

Tip #4 – Don’t be afraid to poke fun at yourself.

Self-deprecating humor is an old technique used by several of the greatest comedians that almost always makes the audience crack a smile.

The main reason why self-deprecation is so humorous to others is that it shows that you are comfortable with your flaws and weaknesses.

That sense of confidence attracts others and allows them to laugh alongside you at your troubles instead of treading on eggshells around you whenever you are having a bad day.

The Example

We love showing this great short performance by Tyler Wood to anyone wondering what is self-deprecating humor:

Tip #5 – Use callbacks.

In comedy, a callback is a joke that is about a funny story or a joke that someone has already told previously.

Instead of constantly cracking new jokes, you can always call back to a previous one that got a good reaction from others.

Not only does this make people laugh again, but it also creates a sense of bonding as it appears to be an inside joke between you and your listeners.

The Example

Take note of how Chris D’Elia comes back to the same joke about crying in the shower multiple times during this short bit below. (A fair warning if you are reading this guide with your family – it has some NSFW parts.)

Tip #6 – Twist the rule of three into something unexpected.

The rule of three is often used in public speaking and comedy to grasp the audience’s attention. There isn’t much to it, so let’s look at a simple example.

The Example

Let’s say you are giving a speech. You may start by saying:

I am thrilled, happy, and positively delighted to be here with you all!

But where’s the fun in that?

To add a humorous twist to this situation, you could say:

I am thrilled, happy, and absolutely terrified to be here with you all!

The first two items on your list build suspense. The third one surprises your audience and makes them forcefully let air outside of their nostrils as a sign of confirmation that your joke was at least a little funny.

Tip #7 – Narrate jokes people have already told.

While parroting jokes is generally frowned upon in the professional comedy scene, nothing stops ordinary people from repeating a joke that someone else has already told.

Sharing such humorous moments with your friends and family will brighten up many conversations. It can also help you become that person who always has a funny and interesting story to tell.

However, as with all things – do not overdo it, or it will become annoying.

The Example

Simply begin your sentence with:

I heard this joke the other day…

If you saw something funny on social media, you could say:

I saw this hilarious post the other day that said…

It’s as simple as it gets. Let’s move to the next tip.

Tip #8 – Use irony.

The use of irony is slightly similar to responding to yes-no questions with the opposite response. Nevertheless, it is a great technique.

We can broadly define irony as expressing something using language that normally indicates the exact opposite for a comedic effect. 

The use of irony is particularly funny as it is unexpected and catches your listeners off guard.

The Example

When stuck in heavy traffic on a noisy highway with your friends, you might say:

I feel so calm and at peace right now.

In reality, you might be feeling anything but! The irony in your statement might make your friends smile and make the awful situation a bit better.

Tip #9 – State the obvious.

One of the most notable characteristics of genuinely funny people is that they don’t shy away from stating the obvious.

In a world where people often advise us to keep our opinions to ourselves, you can always lighten up the room by saying something that everyone is thinking, but no one dares to speak about it.

It can also be a simple joke that is so obvious that it becomes unexpected and funny.

The Example

We have written an entire post about the funniest anti jokes. Many of the examples on our list are obvious but still hilarious. Here is an example from the list:

What do you call a pigeon that can’t find its way back home?

A pigeon.

Bonus Tip – Build up the suspense.

While suspense is an element that finds its use in mysteries, more than humor, it also goes hand in hand with delivering a great joke.

How do you do it?

When you have an opportunity to tell a longer story, don’t reveal the punchline before it is the right time for it. Build up the story, gradually adding layers of humor to it, and let it culminate at the right moment.

Building suspense serves as a preparation for many good jokes, and it helps set the tone of the story. That is why retelling the same stories to different groups of people can help you perfect them and learn how to tell them hilariously.

But wait, isn’t being funny supposed to be completely spontaneous?

Not always.

Think of stand-up comedians or hosts of comedic talk shows. They tend to have their best lines scripted and integrated into a perfectly planned build-up that adds to the overall effect.

So, while you might not be professionally pursuing a career in making other people laugh, using the power of suspense is nonetheless a good idea.

This is also why it is a good idea not to limit yourself to one type of humor or wit. People will start anticipating or expecting the kind of things you say, which, let’s face it, takes away from the amusement of it all.

Section #4 – How to Use Good Communication Skills to Be Funnier

How to use communications skills for humor.

Communication works for those who work at it.

━John Powell

Being funny is all about communicating well with people and building connections. The better your social skills, the easier you will find it to become a more humorous person.

Keep in mind that none of the tips in this section will help you become funnier directly. It would be best to consider them as supplemental skills that can help you get one step further.

Most importantly, these skills can help you utilize your humor to connect with people faster, which is always useful in all areas of your life.

Let’s see which communication skills you should work on if you are learning how to be funny.

Skill #1 – Learn to be relatable.

Putting out your personal experiences in the stories and jokes you tell can help you connect with people easier.

The best way to get people to perceive you as a funny person is to share the most ordinary and relatable things with others in the most hilarious of ways.

How can you do this?

Like many pieces of advice in this guide, it is simple. You just need to draw experiences from your own life and tie them well with the current funny situations.

The most extreme example of being relatable is, once again, self-deprecating humor. While we do not recommend it because it can turn into a bad habit, you can understand how it works. Highlighting your flaws can make other people feel good about themselves and their own.

This brings us to our final point here:

The true art of being relatable lies in humor that might make others feel good but never attacked. Putting yourself on the spot from time to time achieves this with ease.

Skill #2 – Practice becoming a quick thinker.

A prominent trait of witty people is that they somehow always know what to say immediately in any given situation.

You can’t plan ahead for a witty comeback. You can only make them in the spur of the moment.

To give a humorous response quickly and effectively, you must practice quick thinking.

You can check out our full guide on how to be witty and become a quick thinker here.

Skill #3 – Improve your vocabulary.

Yes, quite a few funny people that you know are not the most educated and eloquent individuals.

However, that does not mean that improving your vocabulary doesn’t help. To be wittier in your conversations, you’ll need to learn new words and how to use these words in different situations effectively.

Expanding your vocabulary can also enable you to use different types of wordplay, such as puns, by relating similar words that have different meanings to each other.

One tremendous benefit here is that you will become more confident in the way you speak. Confidence will make it easier for you to be relaxed and let your natural sense of humor shine.

Skill #4 – Pay attention to the conversation.

Witty banter and quick jokes are entirely dependent on the timing and flow of the conversation.

Listening carefully and tuning into the conversation more than you usually do will make it easy to find the opportunities that we talked about before.

However, you need to make sure that you don’t interrupt the other person while speaking.

Learning how to observe your conversation partner and their manner of speaking is an important communication skill.

It will help you understand when and how you can chime in with a witty comment at just the right moment.

Here are a few quick tips that can help you focus on the conversation:

  • Focus on the person talking. It might sound like an obvious one, but most of us don’t do it. If you want to invest yourself in a conversation, the number one thing to do is start listening attentively.
  • Give them your undivided attention. Don’t mess around with your phone or look through the window. Listen to what they have to say.
  • Ask follow-up questions. However, do your best not to interrupt the person who is speaking at key moments.

Skill #5 – Bring surprise to the table.

The very simple element of surprise has a lot to do with humor.

When it comes to communication, many people enjoy the unexpected, which is why sarcasm and dark humor are so popular.

Being funny can be as simple as making a joke out of something when people expect it the least.

It has its limits, though. There still are situations where it is inappropriate to joke around.

The key is to seize opportunities that others might not notice as easily to display your humor. People appreciate those who can make them laugh at the least likely moments.

Let’s Recap

All in all, humor is nothing short of a superpower, as it can both allow you to make a powerful statement and connect with people rapidly.

However, as we have learned, it is a skill that you can learn, and it doesn’t require years of experience. After all, only a handful of us will opt for stand-up comedy as a career.

For most social interactions, you should work on four main areas that can make you a funnier person:

  • sense of humor,
  • mindset,
  • the art of telling jokes,
  • and your communication skills.

Being a funny person is a good way to socialize, boost your confidence, build charisma and develop a healthy way to cope with difficult situations. We hope our comprehensive guide has helped you with that!

Your Turn

Now, we would like to hear from you.

Which specific tip from our article did you find the most useful?

Let us know by leaving a comment down below right away!

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