Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Are you telling us that we aren’t good at telling jokes?
That’s exactly what I’m saying. Did that hurt your feelings? Well good, it’s about time someone told you the truth.
Holy cow! If I have to sit through one more stupid joke, I’m going to scream! There are just so many of you telling bad jokes that it’s just overwhelming. And it’s not always a situation where the joke itself is bad, the joke is just being told badly.
Most people struggle a little bit with joke telling and there are a number of reasons for this.
The first is PRACTICE. Most jokes are told ‘off the cuff’. That’s the way jokes are supposed to sound. But in reality when we tell jokes, we need to be prepared.
Jokes need to be thought through thoroughly. Write them down, diagram them out.
But remember, no amount of writing and reading is going to make your jokes funny. Jokes need to be practiced. You’ve got to tell your jokes to someone, out loud.
Tell your jokes to your mother first. Your mom isn’t going to judge you too harshly, but she probably isn’t going to get your jokes right away either.
Then try the same joke with friends and other family members. Then tell your mother again. If you don’t have to explain your joke to your mother, you’re making progress.
The second problem with joke telling is the use of or lack of brevity. Most people drag out jokes WAY too long.
Get to the point.
Make your premise clear, and then SMACK! Hit us with the punch line.
Now, there are jokes that are built around the premise of a long, drawn out set up. These jokes require a huge degree of experience. But joke telling is like boxing. It would be better right now if you practiced, short, quick, hard hitting jokes.
The third problem with joke telling is self-control. People get too wound up when they tell a joke. They want to tell us when the funny part is coming. They want to emphasis how crazy the situation is.
Joke tellers need to trust their audience more. We get it! Or at least we will. Eventually.
Part of the problem of self-control is wanting to tell everybody that we’re going to tell a joke, and assuring everybody that it’s really funny, and then telling them when the funny part is coming.
So practice your jokes, and stay to the point.
In return, we’ll all laugh, and we won’t groan.
Here’s one you can practice:
A young boy enters a barber shop and the barber whispers to his customer, “This is the dumbest kid in the world. Watch while I prove it to you.”
The barber puts a dollar bill in one hand and two quarters in the other, then calls the boy over and asks, “Which do you want, son?”
The boy takes the quarters and leaves.
“What did I tell you?” said the barber. “That kid never learns!”
Later, when the customer leaves, he sees the same young boy coming out of the ice cream store.
“Hey, son! May I ask you a question? Why did you take the quarters instead of the dollar bill?”
The boy licked his cone and replied, “Because the day I take the dollar, the game is over!”