Before I lived in Spain, I was a shy guy; in high school and college. I’d crack a joke here and there, but some of my friends were hilarious. It was almost like their minds were working faster than mine.
When I moved to Spain, though, I became a “funny guy.” It’s hard to say exactly when this happened, but the transition was so fast, it was almost scary. One day I was having a hard time opening my mouth, and the next I was making people crack up all the time.
The thing is that because I spent so much time around funny people, I was able to pick up on the things that they were doing. Doing even one of these will change the way you socialize with people.
These are very easy, actionable tips, and I promise they will make you a funnier person in a short amount of time.
Hack #1 – Act a character
I don’t care what language you speak, if you act a character (and you have to act 100%, you can’t do an 80% acting job) even people that speak English will laugh. Everyone understands what you’re doing.
You don’t even have to tell a joke! If you watch Robin Williams in his interview with Inside The Actor studio, he literally doesn’t tell any jokes! His impressions, accents, and improvisational skills – all acting characters – carry him.
The next time you are telling a story or talking about someone else, try to do an impression! This doesn’t mean to shamelessly make fun of the person, but change your voice a little. Smile while doing it to let the others know it’s lighthearted.
Action Tip – The next time you’re in a conversation, tell a story where you have to act a character. Besides being funny, it will make you magnetic as everyone will stop to watch you.
Hack #2 – Inside jokes/Callback humor
Let’s be honest. These aren’t even jokes.
Yet sometimes they’re the most hilarious things you can say. Inside jokes (especially with people that you first meet) refer to a past part of the conversation that you’re bringing up again in a subtle way.
How about an example?
Let’s say you’re at a party with your friend Sarah, and earlier, she mentioned that her dog had run away. She spent hours and hours looking for him and finally found him in a park.
Now, after awhile of talking about other things, Sarah notices someone else she wants to say hi to.
Sarah: Hey I’m going to say hi to my friend over there.
Ian: Cool, I’m going to get a drink. Don’t worry though, i’ll be a good dog and stay put *make best loyal dog impression*.
Sarah: *Laughs* – I’m not going to get in my car and drive through the neighborhood for you.
Ian: *sarcastically (or seriously)* Honestly, I’d rather play at a park than be at this party. No promises.
Inside jokes create an in-group connection as well where you and the other person have a moment of bonding. You can now reference that joke (not annoyingly!) at any other point of the night.
Inside jokes and callback humor are great ways to connect with people in a joking way and to overall be more funny without trying too hard!
Hack #3 – Watch Stand-up Comedy
Okay, okay, hear me out.
When I started becoming a humorist, I analyzed what was happening in my life. One of the big things was that I was watching stand-up comedy. Every–Day. I found myself having inner monologues as I walked down the street, interpreting my life through the lens of a stand-up comedian. This started happening ON ACCIDENT.
It was rubbing off. I was noticing hilarious things, ridiculous moments, or was able to spin anything to be hilarious just by virtue of all the stand-up comedy that I was watching.
The trick to this is that if you don’t like a comedian, switch. It will do no good forcing your sense of humor to change. That’s part of your identity, and one of the most valuable parts. So take an hour or two to skim youtube. I recommend watching more than one.
My personal favorites are Dave Chappelle, Hannibal Burress, and Jerrod Carmichael. But jump around! These people are experts in their craft, and inexplicable things like timing and observational humor will start creeping into your life without you even trying.
Plus you’ll have a lot of fun; laughing is good for you.
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