Do you want to make your friends laugh for hours? Here are the first steps in knowing how to tell a good joke. If you want to really tell a good joke the secret is in the way you tell it. It’s not enough to share a funny story of something that happened last week; you must tell the story with in a certain way.
Here’s how to tell a joke and become the most popular person in the room. Start with a shorter joke that’s no more than 1.5 minutes long. Keep it short and sweet. This also helps you think about which words have the most meaning. Before you tell your joke, make sure it has a setup (the information your audience needs to understand the joke), and a punchline (that part where everyone is rolling on the floor laughing because you just told the best joke ever). The setup should use as few words as possible and the punchline should have some kind of twist. The setup can lead the audience in one direction, but the punchline gives them the surprise that takes them in a different direction. Taking a pause before giving the punchline will show everyone that it’s time for them to laugh. Here’s an example:
You: Knock knock.
Audience: Who’s there?
You: Cows go.
Audience: Cows go who?
You: **Take a pause, before the punchline**
You: No silly, cows go moo
To tell a great joke, the point (or punchline) needs to be clear to the audience. You have to choose each and every word in your joke carefully and practice many times before you share it with an audience. When telling a joke, it’s important to have a great sense of humor and guess where the audience will laugh. Knowing where people will laugh means you’ll have control over your jokes.
It also doesn’t hurt to give specific details that add to the story and make it sound more real. If your joke has a car in it, don’t just say “there was a car,” because that’s very boring and we don’t get enough information. It’s better to say that it was a lime green Honda. Tell the story as if it happened to you. “Bob and I were walking down the street” is more interesting than “two men went out walking”.
The next important step in telling a joke is practice. Tell this joke over and over again until you feel comfortable with it. Plants, the mirror, or your pets all make great audiences, but try not to practice on people more than once, or you will lose friends. During this step, you can make different voices for different characters, or use sound effects. These little details will make the story more interesting for everyone. Hari Kondabolu, a stand-up comedian from Queens said it’s important not to feel too nervous. “You want to make it sound like this is stuff you just made up on the spot,’’ Kondabolu says. Slow down. Don’t get nervous and start talking faster just because people didn’t laugh for a minute or two. ‘‘Silence is the hardest part — try not to be afraid of it.’’
Lastly, think about who you’re speaking to. A big fan of Justin Bieber’s would not be interested in your best Justin Bieber joke. Above all, have fun, act like you’ve never told the joke before, and know your audience.
- What is the setup of a joke?
- What is the punchline?
2. Why is it good to take a pause before delivering the punchline?
3. Complete the sentence.
A good punchline needs to have ____________________________.
4. Why is it good to give specific details in a joke?
5. If you practice telling the joke over and over again you will sound less _____________ and more ____________.
5. Choose one of the following jokes and say it to the group:
The other day, my wife asked me to pass her lipstick but I accidentally passed her a glue stick. She still isn’t talking to me.
Where do you find a cow with no legs? Right where you left it.
Q: Teacher: If I had 6 oranges in one hand and 7 apples in the other, what would I have?
A: Student: Big hands!
Q: What’s the worst thing you’re likely to find in the school cafeteria?
A: The Food!
Q: What do librarians take with them when they go fishing?
Q: What’s the best thing to do if an elephant sneezes?
A: Get out of its way!