5 Easy Ways to Make People Laugh:
- Make fun of yourself. The only thing that beats a good self-deprecating joke, is two good self-deprecating jokes. If you’re obese, thin, or look like a celebrity who let go of his looks, draw people’s attention to that and the crowd will laugh with you and at you. For example, I had big ears when I was a kid and there was this one guy who would tease me every single day, “Hey Dumbo! Dumbo! Why don’t you fly away with your big ears!” So finally I stood up to him, “Shut up, Dad!” That was the last time we heard from him. He still owes my mother alimony.
- Talk about pain. Pain is truth and truth is pain. Everyone can relate to a painful experience. Share that time when you stalked an ex-girlfriend who cheated on you with her “co-worker” and how you were unjustly arrested for violating the restraining order (case is still pending in the lower court). What about that time you got fired from your job as a manager for a fast food restaurant because you were allegedly playing favorites when you promoted that cute girl working on the fry-a-lator to senior fry-a-lator after only 2 weeks on the job.
- Admit when you’re bombing. Sometimes a joke will fall flat and there will be an awkward silence – this is what comedians call bombing or as I call it, just another day at the office. An amateur comedian would just piss in his pants , but not a professional. Recognize that the joke sucked, “Sorry folks, I don’t know what I was smoking when I wrote that joke. Good thing we’re not at the airport because I would’ve been held by security for that horrible bombing.” Most of the time, the crowd will actually laugh at you admitting you sucked. This goes back to tip #2, which has something to do with pain.
- Act out the characters in your bits. I’m sure there are funny people that you talk about in your routine: the pervert uncle, the overbearing mother-in-law (aren’t they all), or the friend who’s always trying to borrow money for his next big business deal, which is yet to happen. Bring them to life by being the character instead of just describing the person. So my friend Edwin calls the other day, “You’re going to want to be in this deal that I’m doing – solar powered daytime light bulbs!” Brilliant.
- Shock your audience with a weird fact about yourself. If none of your punch lines are working, you can always rely on shock comedy. Say something outrageous like, “So I just got a vasectomy!” Then when the crowd becomes silent, ask them awkwardly, “Anyone else? Just me?” This will usually break the ice and the rest of your material will get better reception. Or I could be completely wrong.
I hope that helps and good luck out there. Comedy is a tough job.
The important thing is when you arrange your set list of jokes, always start out with your strongest bits and end with your strongest jokes. This is what the audience will remember even if everything in between is mediocre.