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15 Things I Know are True about Funny

Everybody thinks they have a great sense of humor, (or humour) especially those who do not.

I happen to think I have a very good sense of humor. How good?  So good I can sit at comedy clubs not laughing, just uttering “That’s funny” after good jokes and “that’s not funny” after bad ones.

You will probably disagree with one or more items here. Too bad. Get your own damn listicle. This is my listicle. Like most listicles it was first dreamed up while drunk and originally scrawled on a gin-soaked bar napkin


Cork's Listicle of Funny

*Irony and satire do not convey on the Internet because the person reading it doesn’t know you, can’t see the twinkle in your eye, and will grow to hate you as much as you will hate him.

*The only one-liners that could not be improved by trimming are: “Take my wife, please” and “Here they are, Jayne Mansfield.”

*Everyone’s sense of humor is different except political fanatics, who don’t have one.

*Except for the guy who catches cannonballs with his stomach, the hardest job in show business to do without hurting yourself is stand up comedy.

*If you are satisfied and understanding and not demanding and never get angry or upset, chances are excellent you are not very funny.

*Good comedy timing is inborn, but can be improved with work.

*The faster the comeback or ad-lib, the less funny it has to be to get a laugh.

*If you are telling a series of jokes, refer back to one occasionally. That’s a great comedy weapon known as a “Call-back.” Audiences tend to laugh because…oh hell, who knows why, but it works. 

*If you stumble over a word while telling a joke’s punch line, you’ve killed the joke. You have distracted the listener and they won’t be concentrating on the funny, but on the flub.

*The more staid and serious the situation or persona, the more likely random acts of extreme silliness will get huge laughs.

*Before you write humor, revisit the sources of your own sense of humor. I was influenced by Robert Benchley, Steve Allen and W.C. Fields. After you’ve written, rewrite. After you’ve rewritten re-read and rewrite until you begin to make it less funny. Then it’s done.

*If you have a premise for a sketch, short story or playlet, get it down in the fire of enthusiasm. Don’t worry about character names, stage directions, descriptions, spelling or other niceties.  It will not be as funny as you wish in most instances. Then get a good night’s sleep. Let your subconscious do the heavy lifting, then start work on it fresh.

*If you go blue from the get-go you’ll have no place to go when you need to go blue.

*You can let them see you sweat—they appreciate the hard work—but never let them see you bleed, or the pack will move in and kill you, and not in a good way.

*If you only pay attention to people because you are waiting for them to set you up with a straight line or inspire a riff, you probably should work as a humorist.

*When you say your punch line, stop. No words follow until the laughter dies down. It’s “Setup, pause, punch.” Not “Setup, pause, punch, keep talking.”

*Never run out of bar napkins. There are more rules but I’m stopping now because I’ve run out of bar napkins.


Photo: Some Rights Reserved  by Clarence Flickr photostream.  The Sage nor this article endorsed. The original image can  be located here .

DISCLAIMER: The above article is provided for entertainment purposes only. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the authors of The Sage Entertainment and forum participants on this web site do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the The Sage News Network or the official policies of the The Sage News.
More from John "Cork" Corcoran Jr.



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