Chapter 8

Being Funny (or Trying To)


check Getting laughs

check Writing stories and jokes

check Loosening up an audience

check What to do when you’re not funny

What makes someone or something funny? I’ve had this conversation with clients, friends, and family many times over the years. I’m lucky; I’ve got an inside track on humor. I’m surrounded by very funny people in my personal and professional life.

My husband and sons have great senses of humor. Others I’ve worked with over the years are also extremely funny people. Actors, educators — it doesn’t matter. People can be funny no matter their profession or skills. But the question of what exactly makes something funny only gets harder for me as I think about all the funny people in my life. They’re all funny in different ways, for different stages, and for different types of audiences. Many of the actors I know are, not surprisingly, physical comedians — they use their bodies to express humor. Charlie Chaplin was one of the originals, and Jim Carrey is one of the best. My husband is talented at purely speech-based comedy, as he works ...

Get Public Speaking Skills For Dummies now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.