I am struggling.
Okay, that sounds/reads a little on the melodramatic side.
(I can’t help it. My mom didn’t call me Sarah Bernhardt for nothing.)
There are big problems in the world…and this post is not about one of those.
It’s about a big problem in MY world, and something that has been, as of late, causing quite a bit of consternation–and no, I did not misspell (or mean) constipation.
I don’t know how to be funny.
Yes, that’s it. (I warned you.)
Here’s the thing: people tell me all the time how hilarious I am (apparently). But I’m not. Honestly. I usually think my ability to be humorous is just a wee bit on the tragic end of the spectrum. Admittedly, though, sometimes I will say or write something that makes me think “God, I’m funny.”
Okay, confession: saying “I’m funny” is something I do all the time, even if I am decidedly unfunny: it’s as if declaring how funny I think I am turns any inane comment I make into something that could be classified as Comic Genius.
It doesn’t take a Regular Genius to realize that everyone who THINKS they are funny isn’t necessarily funny. That in mind, if people are telling me that I’m funny, doesn’t that make me a little bit funny?
I have the desire to be funny. To me, the sound of laughter makes me very happy. To be able to generate that? Whoa.
What I hate is that I can’t sit down to write something funny on purpose. My level of funny when it comes to writing is as inconsistent and unpredictable as…well, it’s inconsistent and unpredictable. I find that when I want to be funny, I’m not. When I don’t intend to be, I’ve got people rolling in the aisles.
And speaking my Funny? I am that person who comes up with a witty–and often funny as hell–response later. Not ten minutes later like most people; I’m talking hours later, often at 2:00 a.m. Bright side: that I’m coming up with witty, funny responses at all, I guess.
I mean, I even surround myself with funny. My favorite people are absolutely hilarious. Shouldn’t some of that rub off? I mean, REALLY!
It’s frustrating for a Control Freak.
I have spent hours analyzing this. (Perhaps we’re getting to the crux of the problem.)
I HAVE the ability to be funny. The issue is one or more of the following:
2. Trying too hard
3. Not trying hard enough
4. I need practice.
5. I need to relax.
Maybe I just need to think about it some more. And make some lists. Yeah, that’s it. I’ll keep you posted.
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I would say you’re funny and that I have a great time with you every time we talk AND that we always laugh.
But you didn’t link to me.
So, instead, I’m going to have to send you a rabid, feral, sloth who may or may not get off the couch to attack you. Oh, sure, you’ll have to wait for it but I bet it will be really horrid when it happens.
Ahem. I am with Jenn on this one. Apparently, neither she nor I are very funny, so we cannot give you advice on how to BE as funny as we are. Even though I am funnier than you think I am. Trust me. You’re laughing on the inside.
Off to cry, now.
I actually don’t care if people think I am funny or not…as long as I can make myself laugh. 🙂 (which I admit, my sense of humor is probably rather warped.) Sometimes I giggle to myself and my husband says, “you think you’re pretty funny, don’t ya?” Me: “Well, SOMEone has to make me laugh.*non-blinking stare*”
I think you’re funny. The thing about funny is you can’t TRY to be funny. That’s never funny. We learn that very early on in improv.
YES AND Melisa!
It comes out naturally in your writing, we laugh all the time! Your level of funny is directly correlated to how much you laugh. So I bet you’re right up there.
If it helps, I’m not at all funny…
You are funny, but alas, you did not mention me either. Don’t try so hard, I sure don’t 🙂
Garden more. Solved.
Oh, Scrawlsie…don’t you see? The reason you tickle us (in a legal way) is because you are oh-so-very RELATABLE. It’s the “oh, yeah…THIS!” factor that makes people funny, which you do in abundance. It’s just being human. Which is funny, funny stuff. You always manage to Say The Secret Woid that reminds us all not to take things too seriously. Like the quote on my daughter’s profile: “Don’t sweat the petty things. And don’t pet the sweaty things.” So proud.
Being funny with a time delay is still funny. Maybe even funnier. That’s a word. Really. Look it up.
Funny comes natural to you…I’ve seen it whenever I talk to you or see you in person. I’ve definitely seen it in your writing and photos. So you my friend are the perfect amount of funny. I’m grateful to have you in my life 🙂
Yes, because making lists will help you be funnier 😉 I think you should save those 2am responses and blog THEM. That solves most of the problems for you, right?
PS Thanks for sharing who Sarah Bernhardt was (is?)
Hey, Kyle here–I run a neat little website on teaching people how to be funny, and while frolicking in the internet fields, I stumbled upon this post.
Melisa–you’ve got nothing to worry about. You’ve got a great personality, and it shows. It’s kinda like how rich people are usually the ones super obsessed with trying to get more money–you’ve already got it, but it doesn’t feel that way, so you just want more.
Of course, the question you should be asking yourself isn’t “how to be funny” but rather, “how can I be funnier?”
I’ll try to address the issues you’ve listed:
1. Timing – It’s everything, but usually you can’t be so lucky to have a witty comeback sitting on your tongue ready to strike like a cobra. It’s fine to think back and find a witty comeback, but just make it a mental note for the next time a similar situation comes up than to beat yourself up about not thinking about it in time to use it and walk away with a smug smile like some kind of jester gladiator.
2-5: It’s the comedian’s dilemma: you can’t be funny if you’re trying too hard, but you also can’t become funnier without actually trying and practicing. Like most things, it’s just a balance. Take two steps forward and then one step back. Try a little too hard, notice and pay attention when you’ve gone just a bit off the line of sanity and towards speaking incomprehensible gibberish, then fall back to what you’re used to saying and cool off a little.
Part of knowing what’s funny and what’s not is being able to gauge the audience’s response and how engaging they are to what you’re saying. If your audience is uptight, well, your jokes will have to be much more conservative. If they’re more casual, you can add expletives to get shits and giggles.
Most of it is just knowing what your own style is, what your style of writing and communicating are, and understanding who your audience is and what they find funny, and connecting the dots from there.
I could go on for ages, but boring people to death is a very serious crime and I am wanted in several states for orated homicide.
In the mean time, check out my site (www.socialhumorbutterfly.com) and let me know if I’ve helped. 🙂