How to be the Funniest Person in the Room
I’m in the fortunate situation where I often conduct a morning huddle with the extended team
Fortunate because it gives me a bit of flying time speaking to an audience.
And for many mornings I used to tell a joke at the end of the catch-up to send the listeners off in a positive and optimistic mood. The joke might have been great, the delivery was terrible. It was embarrassing.
I noticed others were doing the same. Delivering a joke but without the funniness.
Then I realised that the joke was not my joke, it wasn’t my humour. It was someone else’s joke and their humour. And so that was why there was a mismatch.
Words of Wisdom “Best not to start any speech with a joke. The joke might fall flat and you will lose your audience”
I needed to find my own personal humour – rather than use someone else’s.
I needed to develop and use my own sense of humour.
A sense of humour is:
- An acquired attitude
- A practised perception
- A trained eloquence
- A learnt lifestyle
I have now set myself on a mission to practice developing a humour attitude to the way I see the world.
These are the techniques I have been practising:
Unconventionality – disruption – break the rules
Organisations can be staid and stolid. Which means they are a very fertile field that is aching to be disrupted. I have great fun at work breaking the standards.
When the campaign was happening to get a sorry from the government to indigenous groups, ‘sorry’ was the hardest thing for some people to say. Midnight Oil wore the ‘sorry’ labelling during their gig at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
At work, I graffiti-ed ‘sorry’ on the bathroom mirror and on the glass on the front door. The standard bearers were horrified, the others thought it was hilarious.
There are many routines that are aching to be disruptive.
Commuting on a train every day in to the city and out again. My sister-in-law did this to and from her costume shop in the city. One evening train trip home she sat nursing a horse head prop – taking it home for repair. Then she put it on her head for the trip home.
At Toastmasters, we use a spoon as a gavel – it makes me laugh every time.
We all laugh down. We laugh at Charlie Chaplin, Abbot and Costello, Louis CK and their foibles.
I announce my foibles. My newly acquired Seniors Card gives me great Ha-Ha material – Seniors meals, discount on euthanasia kits, cheap haircuts.
The number of times I go to the toilet is now reflected on my step counting fitbit. If you want to make people laugh, display humility.
Start the Morning with Humour
I don’t leave the house without You Tubing my favourite comics – Louis CK, Chris Fox, Bill Burr.
When I got the kids up in the morning – every morning there was a different thing in the front yard. A herd of cows, flaming cross, crashed meteor. It was a Dad joke, but it got a smile.
Put on your Humour Glasses
Everything around me is funny. How people enter a room, where people sit, the different way people say hello, executing a wave. Observe the mundane and start talking about it. Other people will have found it funny as well – I bet you.
Combine the Unrelatable to make them Relatable
The basis of creativity is when two very different items are put together in the same space, to see what they create.
And so is humour.
Read the paper, stay with the news, most Tonight Show hosts combine two unconnected news events to create a gag.
Same principle applies to the opposites of Abbot and Costello, Woodley and Lano, The Odd Couple. By combining the opposites, you can be funny.
And in situations – sailors on desert islands, bachelor living with a family, Dale and the Druid.
Always carry a prop
What’s in your bag?
You might not need it, or you can use it.
Carry an Allen Key – in case you meet Allan
Do you have a wig in your desk?
There are techniques in making things sound funny, but if you practise your humour attitude, the techniques can be secondary.
Finally a word of warning.
It can be easy to get in to trouble.
You might have to let go of some gags – despite what your ego says. I have learnt this from many years of speaking to audiences and poked fun at people’s foibles – now I warn them and get their permission first. But I try to avoid people’s foibles as it is a put down of others. You can only put down yourself.
And other times you never know how things are misunderstood.
Our newly refurbished offices only needed a sign on the toilet doors to finish them off. A handwriting A4 sheet was used – obviously temporary. A highlighter was used to write the name – not even a normal marker.
So I had announced that a Kickstarter fund-raising program was set up to get enough funds to buy a couple of proper signs. Members of the audience thought that was a bit rough and rang the union complaining about having to donate to buy a toilet door sign.
Be prepared to wear the kick back.
Anyway, I know that whenever anyone passes me in the office, it is always with a smile, and a quip. They seem to want to run in to me.