A good sense of humor and the ability to make others laugh go hand in hand and neither is possible without the other. Regularly practicing the tips given below will arm you with the wit, sarcasm and everything that else that you need to learn how to develop a good sense of humor and use it to make someone laugh – Not at you, but with you.
How to Develop a Good Sense of Humor
1) Know the latest buzz, trending news and stories
A relatively easy way to engage in humor is to keep up with the latest buzz and things that are trending. This includes catching up on the latest memes, satire and silly news stories.
Having a good sense of humor is not only about being able to make others laugh, but also being able to understand witty jokes yourself. Being informed about what's trending and what's will help you avoid a faux pas when you find yourself staring ignorantly after someone cracks a joke about a silly trend like Owling or Horsemanning.
2) Be culturally and ethnically open minded
Humor can be better understood by knowing the differences in various cultures, ethnicities or the lifestyles of people who are different from others. In the day and age of multicultural workplaces, schools and colleges, it is vital to be fairly informed about the idiosyncrasies of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds.
Exposure to different cultures, typical behavior, their customs, their habits and culinary styles will also help you draw the line between humor and things that are considered offensive.
3) Learn from everyone else's sense of humor
Whenever someone around you tells a funny story, cracks a joke or shares a humorous experience, look beyond the laughter and spot the intricacies of what it took for them to make everyone laugh. From body language to voice tone – pick up tips on how someone was able to sustain humor in a conversation.
Create a pool of learning, experiences and slices of life as you meet and interact with different characters. Draw inspiration from their funny side and incorporate bits of it into your own behavior to showcase your sense of humor in its full glory.
4) Watch intelligent comedies to refine your sense of humor
Exercise discretion in picking the right type of TV shows or movies to watch and broaden your humor horizon. Avoid too many Chaplinesque slapstick or cheesy romantic comedies. Instead focus on films and TV shows that play on intelligent, sarcastic, witty and subtle humor.
From Woody Allen films to Chris Rock characters, from Monty Python and the Holy Grail films to Little Miss Sunshine type alternative and witty cinema, try to soak in a wide range of humor. Well written iconic TV shows like The Big Bang Theory, Friends, South Park, Everybody Loves Raymond, Seinfeld and The Simpsons are rife with plots that show how everyday mundane situations can be infused with wit and humor.
5) Watch live stand-up comedy shows
Watching stand-up comedy is an invaluable way to learn the about the body language associated with humor and satire. Witnessing humor live is all about sensing the reaction and pulse of an audience. By being a part of a live performance, it is easier to understand the finer nuances of what makes people smile, smirk, tickle or bend over with laughter.
If your city or town does not play host to stand-up comedy nights, the acts of international comedy maestros like Adam Hills, Bill Cosby, Kathy Griffin, Russell Peters, Dane Cook, Larry the Cable Guy or their likes can also be seen on YouTube or DVD.
6) Learn to laugh at yourself
One of the prerequisites for having a great sense of humor is to be able to laugh at oneself. A certain amount of lightness in the heart and transparency in character makes it much easier to absorb humor.
Being too uptight in social scenarios, expecting others to behave in a particular way or taking offense easily can become roadblocks in understanding humor.
Laughing at yourself will arm you with the ability to decipher between things that are funny and the things that are dull and boring. It will also help you draw the line between being sarcastically funny and sounding rude.
7) Observe, spot and understand humor in mundane everyday life situations
Creating original humor is more about picking up incidents from everyday life and giving them a comic twist. In mundane everyday situations, humor may not lie explicitly on the surface. But its true value is showcased when someone has the sense and understanding to point it out.
Observing everyday situations can be as simple as watching how passengers behave while commuting on a train, the expressions they make and the kind of banter they engage in.
Soon enough, you will get into the habit of effortlessly plucking out the comical and funny side of situations that may seem mundane on the surface.
8) Get into the habit of manipulating conversations and awkward situations with humor
Sticky conversations and awkward situations are not the best place to be in, but they can be made easier with a dash of witty humor, which also serves as a good icebreaker. The trick is to think on your feet and say something funny without being offensive.
Pull out a humorous trump card from the repertoire of witty anecdotes that you may have experienced yourself. Use them as a tool to steer and manipulate conversations your way. The art of getting out of awkward situations with funny lines is a part and parcel of having a good sense of humor.
How to Use Your Sense of Humor to Make People Laugh
1) Be proficient in your language and develop a good vocabulary
Fumbling for the right words while trying to crack a joke can be embarrassing. It can ruin the funny side of a conversation. Whether it is English, Spanish, Greek or French, being in control of your language and picking the right words should come naturally.
Increase your vocabulary and have a strong grip over your play of words when you are trying to make someone laugh. Using the right words will help you hit the tender funny bone, whether it is to create ambiguity in meaning, a pun on words or a double entendre.
2) Time your joke to perfection if you want to make others laugh
A good sense of humor and a strong command over language are of little value if the timing of a joke goes wrong. Knowing when to say something is as important as knowing what to say. It is highly situational so the best way to find out is to learn from experience.
Every time you say something funny in an attempt to make someone laugh, judge the reaction and think "Would it have been funnier if I'd said it earlier/later?" As you make attempts to equip yourself with the skills to be funnier, this deliberate introspection will help you time your humor to perfection.
3) Control your expressions and allow others to laugh at your joke
One of the fine abilities of a stand-up comedian is to hold a poker face after saying something hilariously funny while watching everyone burst into fits of laughter. Stand-up comedy would cease to be funny if the comedian himself/herself started rolling with laughter.
Use similar logic in your personal life and try to keep a poker face after trying to be funny. Control your expressions and let the people be entertained with the tickling side of your conversation.
4) Lose inhibitions of speaking to unknown people or a group of people
If your sense of humor is not getting due credit because you are shy of speaking out in front of a group of people, there is no way around it but to lose the inhibition.
Make deliberate efforts to speak out and better yet, plan for a moment when you are going to crack a joke in front of others. As time goes by, the need to plan will decrease, your confidence will increase, and your witty sense of humor will surface by itself.
5) Display confidence when you crack a joke
When you crack a joke or are going to say something funny, say it loud without too many fumbles and pauses. Carry a confident body language and make sure you get everyone's attention.
Whether or not you can make someone laugh largely depends on whether you believe you can make them laugh or not. Like most other things in life, confidence plays a vital role in your attempt to bring a smile on someone else's face.
6) Don't try too hard to be funny: Humor should come naturally
The ability to make people laugh is something that is cultivated over time and eventually, should come naturally. It is not something that can be picked up overnight. Like a true learner, try to soak up the above tips. Develop a witty sense of humor before you deliberately attempt to crack one joke after another.
Allow observation and experience to take its course and play along with life's funny moments. The key is to develop a knack of being able to bring a smile on someone's face. Don't try too hard, else your attempts may go from dull and boring to just plain obnoxious.
Chiew-yee Lui on June 03, 2019:
Very insightful. Some friends and I have somewhat gone along this path of making others laugh while having a straight face on ourselves.
Umesh on February 19, 2019:
It was helpful.
Thank you :)
Kimberly Shelden from Idaho on August 07, 2013:
I feel like I am funny.. when I am really comfortable with the people I am with.. but otherwise I feel very shy, but most people wouldn't describe me as an introvert.. I feel that way. Like I am always faking it. I wish I was just naturally more funny. Thank you for your tips, interesting read.
Nicole S Hanson from Minnesota on April 10, 2013:
Very helpful tips! I try to incorporate current events into my humor to add a spin on things :)
Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on August 30, 2012:
Great ideas and advice - life is so much easier when we find the humor in it. Laughing at ourselves is the best way to navigate embarrassing and awkward situations. Great read and well done!
Alecia Murphy from Wilmington, North Carolina on August 29, 2012:
Princesswithapen, you always give great tips. I enjoy reading your tips on things. I think of myself as having a good sense of humor but then again I'm biased. I like your suggestions of using pop culture and the news as well to get yourself adjusted to being humorous with others. Great hub! Voted up, useful, interesting and shared!