The Definitive Guide To Telling Jokes That Make People Laugh

It’s a great time to be alive if you’re a comedian. The internet is doing all the hard work, absorbing every joke and meme that ever existed and sending it back at us in the form of an endless stream of funny videos and articles. But there’s one problem: some people are just bad at telling jokes. 

And even though there are an infinite number of jokes out there for anyone to tell, only a few will ever make anyone laugh. So instead of wasting time on terrible comedy performances (or worse, being one yourself), let’s focus on learning how to tell great ones the kind that makes people laugh:

How To Tell A Joke: An Ancient Guide To The Art of Humor
1. Mastering humor involves timing and audience awareness.
2. Crafting a joke requires clever punchlines.
3. Understand the elements of surprise and relatability.
4. Practice joke delivery for better comedic impact.
5. Adjust jokes to different audiences and contexts.
6. Learning comedic techniques can enhance your humor.

‘The Definitive Guide To Telling Jokes That Make People Laugh

Find funny people to be inspired by.

The next step is to find some comedians and listen to them tell jokes. Find someone with a style that you like and try to learn from them. They’ll give you a sense of what makes for good comedy, which will help you when it comes time to write your material down on paper (or on your phone).

Mastering the art of humor is more than just punchlines – it’s about timing, delivery, and understanding your audience. Learn how to craft memorable jokes with our comprehensive guide to telling jokes that make people laugh today.

Read Jokes Out Loud

Reading jokes out loud is a great way to understand the rhythm and timing of a joke. It also helps you figure out if the joke is funny or not. If it isn’t, then maybe you need to rewrite it or add more elements that make it funny.

It is important to read your jokes many times so you can get used to how they sound, but don’t get too comfortable because your audience will be able to hear when something isn’t working!

Study The Setups And Punchlines Of Good Joke Writers

Read the works of your favorite comedians, whether they’re stand-up comics or sitcom stars.

Watch your favorite movies, TV shows, and plays to see how they use setups and punchlines to craft their best jokes.

Read through a book of jokes to see how many different ways there are to tell a funny story with a twist ending and make note of what you find effective in each joke’s structure (punchline placement, story length, etc.).

Watch Your Favorite Funny Tv Shows With The Subtitles On

Watching your favorite funny TV shows with subtitles on can be an excellent way to improve your joke-telling skills. Subtitles help you to understand the context of the joke, which is usually crucial for understanding why a joke is funny. They also allow you to learn about how jokes are constructed and why certain jokes don’t work as well as others.

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Use Twitter To Find People Who Tweet What You Think Is Funny

When looking for funny people on Twitter, it’s helpful to know what kind of things you’re looking for. If someone tweets about your favorite TV show, that person might be a good choice. Another option would be someone who frequently tweets about the same topics as your favorite comedians (assuming those comedians are known for being funny).

You can also search for specific keywords and see what kind of results come up. For example, if you want to find people who are into the same sports teams as you or recently moved to a new place like you did recently, type in some keywords related to these topics and see what comes up!

Listen To As Many Stand-Up Comedy Specials As You Can Get Your Hands On

You should listen to as many stand-up comedy specials as you can get your hands on. This is the best way to learn how to tell jokes that make people laugh. The more comedians you listen to, the better!

I recommend listening to comedians who are different from you, too. If you’re a young woman and listen only to other young women, then when it comes time for your set at open mic night, there will be no surprises and everyone will know what they’re getting into (and not getting into). 

But if you instead choose some older male comics with whom most of your audience has little in common like Richard Lewis or Louie Anderson then when it comes time for their acts at open mic night, there’s going to be a lot more tension in the air because nobody knows quite what they have coming until they hear it.

Turn Abstract Nouns Into Concrete Nouns

Your jokes should be interesting. You want to make sure your audience is hooked, and a great way to do this is by turning abstract nouns into concrete nouns. 

Let’s say you’re making a joke about how someone has high self-esteem if you simply state that they have high self-esteem without explaining what it means, the audience won’t know what an important part of their lives it occupies.

Concrete nouns are things we can see or touch, like “cat” or “tree.” They don’t have much drama around them; they’re just things that exist in reality. If we turn abstract nouns into concrete nouns, however, we add drama and excitement to otherwise boring sentences! For example:

“The man has low self-esteem.” Boring! But if we change it up by saying he has low self-confidence instead? Now we’ve got something interesting going on here! How would changing some words around help me write better jokes?

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Name Drop To Make Yourself Seem Connected, Like A Comedian On The Inside Track

Name dropping is a great way to make people laugh and feel like they’re in on the joke. It also shows that you are connected and on the inside track.

There are two ways you can name drop: making fun of someone by using their name or using your name as part of a joke. These methods both have their advantages!

Write about what makes you angry or upset to turn your negative emotions into comedy gold.

When I first got into comedy, I was obsessed with finding the “perfect joke.” The joke that would make everyone laugh and everyone would think I was the funniest person in the world.

But it didn’t work out like that. Instead of finding a perfect joke, I found myself struggling to write even mediocre material. I couldn’t seem to get inspired and say something funny about what was going on around me. When it came to creating humor from my life experiences, my mind went blank (kind of like this article).

So what did I do? Well obviously not go back home right away because leaving a comedy club is embarrassing! 

But instead of giving up or getting angry at myself for not being able to think of anything funny out loud, I decided just start talking without thinking too much about what was coming next so long as whatever came out sounded good enough for me not to feel ashamed later when others were listening along too.  

And you know what happened? It worked! My jokes started getting laughs from other comedians who were hanging around backstage waiting for their own sets – which meant that maybe these weren’t terrible ideas after all!

Think About The Details From A Story That Seem Odd Or Confusing And Use Them In Your Jokes

One of the best ways to get people laughing is by telling a joke that they didn’t see coming. The best jokes are built on details that are unexpected or confusing. It’s also important to consider what details you can relate to. If you haven’t had a chance to tell your story yet, use examples that make sense for you and your audience instead of trying too hard at first!

For example, A man walks into a bar with a goat under one arm, sits down, and orders a beer. After he drinks it up, he orders another one for himself and three more for his pet goat. 

The bartender looks at him weirdly but asks no questions because this guy seems like he knows what he’s doing and besides this kind of thing isn’t exactly rare in some places out there so why not just go with it? 

Then after finishing all five beers in front of him (himself included), the stranger reaches over towards his pet and pulls out some doggy treats from his pocket before feeding them all without hesitation! 

But wait… why would anyone do something like this?! That’s right – dogs don’t eat bread! What kind of sick joke is this supposed to be?! 

Well if we were asked earlier today then perhaps we would’ve guessed correctly that those weren’t dog treats but rather sliced pieces from an actual loaf itself, but now we know better thanks again thanks again!

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Look For Contradictions And Ironies In Situations, People, And Life In General

One of the easiest ways to create jokes is to look for contradictions and ironies in situations, people, and life in general.

For example: “My last relationship ended because she wasn’t willing to compromise on her eating habits.”

Or: “The law of gravity states that all objects will fall towards the earth at 32 feet per second squared. However, we’ve all seen that an object can fall faster than this.”

In these examples, you can see how they contrast with what we expect should happen or what has happened before. This makes it funny because we’re surprised by something going against our expectations or experience.

Visualize What You’re Going To Say Before You Walk Out On Stage

The more you can visualize yourself succeeding, the more likely it is that you will be confident onstage. The more confident you are, the easier it will be for your jokes to work!

So before every performance, imagine yourself walking out onto the stage and giving a killer set. Visualize yourself doing well with each joke or story and getting big laughs from the audience. Imagine them laughing at every punchline as if they’re in on your private joke with them.

Imagine how wonderful it feels to know that everyone loves what you’re doing onstage and they’ll feel bad if they don’t show their appreciation by laughing at everything you say!

It Doesn’t Matter How Long Ago Your Last Gig Was; This Exercise Can Still Work Wonders

Learn how to write in a voice different from your own which will help you create better characters for your jokes.

One of the most common mistakes that people make when they’re writing jokes is that they don’t try new things.

When you’re trying to be funny, you’ve got to have a willingness to go outside your comfort zone and not hold back. That doesn’t mean putting yourself down or insulting others, but it does mean being willing to try things even if other people think it’s weird or silly, or awkward.

Don’t Worry About What Other People Think; Just Focus On Being Creative

Be willing to take risks onstage and try new material until you figure out what works best for you by observing audience reactions.

The last thing to consider when trying out new material is that you might not get the reaction you want from the audience. In this case, understand that there’s no point in getting upset about it; instead, try to learn from your mistakes and adjust accordingly.

If some jokes are failing to land with the audience, but others can make people laugh consistently even if they’re not quite as funny as some of your other jokes you should probably focus more on developing those jokes into a routine before moving forward with any new material. 

At this point, trial and error will become necessary until you discover what works best for your style of comedy and personality as a performer.

Learning how to tell jokes that make people laugh takes time, practice, and patience, so be prepared for some trial and error along the way

Learning how to tell jokes that make people laugh takes time, practice, and patience, so be prepared for some trial and error along the way.

Don’t give up if you don’t get a laugh the first time. It doesn’t mean your joke is bad; it just means that it’s not for this audience at this time. My favorite joke never got any laughs until I told it on stage during my senior year of college, but now people tell me they can’t understand why it wasn’t funny when they heard me say it off-stage!

Don’t try to be a comedian overnight. You’ll probably need at least six months’ worth of practice before you even begin performing in front of an audience (unless you’re already an extraordinary performer).

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In this post, we’ve explored the 7 rules of telling jokes that make people laugh. By following these guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a great joke teller.

Let’s wrap up with a few final thoughts:

If possible, try out your jokes on someone before telling them in front of an audience. This will give you valuable feedback and help you work out any kinks that might otherwise ruin your joke for everyone else! 

Also, remember that timing is everything – if one person starts laughing before the punchline, it may throw off the whole joke! Be sure to take note of this when testing out new material or practicing at home with friends & family members who know what they’re doing.”

Further Reading

If you’re interested in improving your joke-telling skills and exploring the art of humor, here are some additional resources to check out:

How to Tell Jokes Like a Pro by The Guardian: Delve into this insightful article for expert tips on delivering jokes with finesse and making people laugh.

How to Write a Joke in 7 Easy Steps by MasterClass: Discover a concise guide that breaks down the process of crafting humor and writing jokes effectively.

How to Be Funny: A Guide with Tips, Scripts, and Tricks by Skillshare: Explore this comprehensive guide for actionable tips, scripts, and tricks to enhance your comedic skills and add humor to your interactions.


What are the key elements of a successful joke?

A successful joke often comprises surprise, timing, relatability, and a clever punchline that catches the audience off guard.

How can I improve my joke-telling delivery?

Practice and self-awareness are essential. Record yourself, pay attention to timing, and adjust your tone and body language to match the comedic situation.

Are there specific techniques for writing jokes?

Yes, techniques like incongruity, misdirection, and exaggeration can enhance the humor in your jokes and make them more engaging.

How do I tailor my jokes to different audiences?

Understanding your audience’s preferences and cultural context is crucial. Adjust your jokes to align with their sensibilities and avoid potentially offensive content.

Can humor be learned, or is it an innate skill?

While some people might have a natural inclination for humor, learning and practicing comedic techniques can significantly improve your ability to create and deliver jokes effectively.