How to Develop Your Sense of Humor


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Use a Character Switch

When we tell a story, there are usually multiple characters in that story. More often than not, those characters have very distinct personas that people will make assumptions about. For example, Little Red Riding Hood is the vulnerable one, and the Big Bad Wolf is the dangerous one. But what if you switch personas around and the Big Bad Wolf suddenly is vulnerable? That’s when people’s assumptions are overturned and things become really interesting and funny.

Obviously, Ellen was talking about Sofia’s English since Sofia is the foreigner with the thick accent here. But Sofia just pretended that Ellen wasn’t talking about her, but about Reese. This unexpected character switch is funny.

In the story of Jennifer Lawrence getting into a bar fight in Budapest, two characters are involved: Jennifer and the aggressor.

Seth implied that Budapest was a dangerous place for Jennifer to get into a fight. But Jennifer pretended that Seth was not referring to her, but the other character in the story — the aggressor.

A ‘How to Be Funny’ Tip: If you and your friends are talking about an experience or a story where at least two characters are involved (that’s just about any story isn’t it?), then it could be your chance to be funny. Switch the character traits for an unexpected twist.

Bonus Example: Fifty Shades Freed

In the movie Fifty Shades Freed, Ana asked Christian, “If you are not coming with me to the forest, what if I run into a bear?”

“Too bad for the bear!” quips Christian.

Christian substituted Ana with the other character in the story — the bear.

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Read Funny Books

Reading humorous interpretations of life can help you maintain a light-hearted point-of-view and find your own style of seeing the world in a different light. Look for an author skilled at finding the humor in life events, ranging from annoying to upsetting or even tragic. Some suggestions: Dave Barry, David Sedaris, or Jerry Seinfeld. 

Reading Material Ideas for Brain Health and Fitness

Be Childish

People who think of themselves as mature can never make anyone laugh. To get in the environment of doing comedy, you have to be childish. You have to think as a child because the main comedy comes from the brain of a child. Never allow your childishness in yourself to die. 

This is because a child does not fear from anyone while making jokes and this is the most important thing. People think too much before speaking anything but children do not and here is the thing, where comedy hides.

If you will think too much before speaking anything, then you will not be confident and you cannot make anyone laugh in nervousness. 

Don’t overthink because comedy is not a science. It just happens with a flow.

Make It a Game

You can have a "most annoying boss" contest with your friends, or try to count how many times the same potentially frustrating event happens in a day. ("I was cut off in traffic seven times today—I’m almost up to 10.") This works well for predictable or repetitive annoying situations that you can’t control; you can begin to view them in their own special way instead of letting them unnerve you.

What to avoid

  • Being sarcastic or derogatory when trying to be jovial.
  • Using jokes that the audience may have difficulty in understanding due to cultural or other differences.
  • Criticizing the audience if they do not laugh.
  • Laughing at your own jokes or announcing in advance that you are about to tell a joke.


There are multiple studies going on to predict the factors which trigger humor among different age, gender, and cultures. There might be many reasons for a thing to be funny or not. But developing a good sense of humor will always help you to reach out to people with different mental processes and strengths.

Practice makes a man perfect

The last and most important quality you need to im

The last and most important quality you need to improve your sense of humor is practice and practice. The more you will do practice, the better you will be jesting. Comedy is only right timing. If your timing of jokes is not right, nobody will laugh even if you speak the best joke in the world.

You can do this alone first and then experiment your jokes on your best friend and family. They will give you advice on which points you need to work upon.

Delay the funny

When you have a funny quip or idea or joke, it’s hard not to share it right away. But the best-placed pun is actually at the end. Put the funny part at the end of the sentence. For example, if the fact it’s a cat is the surprise or twist in your story, don’t say, “There was a cat in the box.” Say, “In that box was a cat.” That way, you’re not still talking when the audience is meant to be laughing. This also makes your timing look awesome.

You can watch President Obama doing this here:

An easy way to delay (and replay) the funny is to use callbacks. Callbacks bring together everything in the end. This is where you go back (callback) and reference items that just got a laugh, or create something from items mentioned earlier in the conversation. This can be one of your jokes that worked or something funny or memorable from someone else. Remember, you don’t have to tell a new joke to be funny! 

Now I am going to end on something you know, but don’t want to know: Practice makes perfect. The more you practice your jokes, your stories, and your timing, the funnier you will be. Start small, with a few written jokes, a few casual stories around the water cooler. If you are really brave, sign up for an improv class or offer to write a wedding toast. Your funny is worth it.

With these tips you absolutely can learn how to be funny. I know this because I wasn’t born funny. In fact, I wasn’t funny at all. I am still no comedian. But I can tell you that after analyzing and applying these tactics in my daily conversations, I became a much wittier person. 

I want to give a huge thanks to David Nihill and Siyan Li for these amazing tips. They have more great funny tips to share with you:

David Nihill was asked to give a talk at Google, which he was willing to share. Watch his full presentation here on how to be funnier:

Siyan Li has put together an amazing resource, 5 Exact Lines That Will Make You Funny & Witty Immediately, so you can respond to some of the most common scenarios and questions in a funny way!

Speaking of funny, here are a few jokes where I humiliated myself just for you:

A word of Caution

You are sure to be surrounded by people when you become known as a person with a sense of humor. But you need to exercise the utmost care to ensure that it is not at the expense of others. Poking fun at someone’s physical disability or bad situation is the least desirable.

It is always better to know the place and occasion. For example, it is in bad taste to crack adult jokes in the presence of children. A good sense of humor is that ability to make everyone enjoy and not exclude some people.




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