Top 9 Tips to Being Funny When You Speak

November 29, 2022

8 min read

10 tips for being funnier when you speak

Do you want to be the life of the party? Or maybe just get a date with that special someone? Well, start by working on your funny bone and sense of humor. It’s no secret that being funny can help you in both social and professional situations.

We’ll discuss our favorite method (the rule of three) followed by nine tips that will help you be funnier when you speak. These tips are used by great comedians and speech experts all over the world, so follow them and see how much funnier life can be!

Using the Rule of Three to Land Humor with One Joke (When Most People Expect It the Least)

The video below gives an example of a joke that most people often find funny (disclaimer: it’s not one of our own jokes!). We start by telling a story that seems pretty trivial. Then we use the first sentence to state a fact and the second sentence to reinforce the fact. When people least expect it, we use the third point to provide a punchline that’s totally unexpected. The punchline, on the flip side, goes in a different direction from the first two points.

  • When I was a child, I dreamed of traveling. And I’ve reached that goal.
  • When I was a child, I dreamed of starting a company. And I’ve reached that goal.

At this point, people automatically assume that the third statement will reinforce the first two. But that’s where my running joke comes in.

  • When I was a child I thought I’d be married by 25.

And rather than saying “I’ve reached that goal,” I build up to a funny moment by saying “but, well, I’m hopelessly single.”

This is referred to as the Rule of Three: listing things in groups of three to make a more dramatic impact. Great comedians and speakers use this all the time. Think “friends, romans, countrymen,” “good, bad, ugly”,“ and just do it.” Next time you see a video from your favorite comedian, make sure to look out for the rule of three! The person on stage will likely find a funny and creative way to inject humor (it’s the best medicine) by diverting people’s attention and then landing the punchline.

9 Simple Tips for Being Funny When You Speak

Here’s the much awaited list of tricks that will make a big difference in your humor confidence. These nine simple tips will bring your comedy to the next level.

1. Build a reservoir of personal funny stories from past experiences.

Good comedians or great comedians are always writing down inside jokes. They’re good at observational humor  —  they catalogue the funny story that happens in their life on a day to day basis (for instance, in everyday situations, do you always wonder why the toilet paper is a certain way?).

Listen carefully for weird things you overhear in your everyday life and start recounting that story in your own voice. Then recount the sample single joke as your go to joke but vary up your delivery — your body language, punchline, laughter. Doing some dedicated A/B testing on the way you deliver a joke can make the difference when you get a laugh.

2. Be self-deprecating with your own funny moments.

Hannah Gadsby, Pete Davison, and other favorite comedians are experts at being the subject of their own joke. By laughing at yourself you set a great example that it is OK to be imperfect and vulnerable. You’re also reducing the risk that you offend someone with your joke or by making fun of them.

Hannah Gadsby is an expert at laughing at herself and embracing her flaws.

3. Speak in a conversational tone and use linguistic playfulness.

Don’t be afraid to use slang, colloquialisms, or funny voices when you’re speaking. This helps keep the energy up and makes people more likely to pay attention to what you have to say. Family reunions, comedy podcasts, real life interactions can all be great sources of inspiration here.

4. Know your audience to vary your jokes.

Before you launch into a joke or story, make sure you know who your audience is. This will help you tailor your jokes and stories to get the most laughs out of the group. If you’re presenting to a group that already thinks you’re a funny man, then great — you can reinforce the notion and be an even funnier person by taking risks. If the audience does not know you, then consider starting with one joke and more simple jokes.

This can be a huge pitfall for some comedians. For example, comedian Matt Rife — whose audience was overwhelmingly women — joked about hating different types of women, as well as domestic abuse, and it his jokes didn’t land. The controversy of Rife’s 2023 Netflix special “Natural Selection” stemmed from his inability to recognize who his audience was and what type of humor they were looking for.

Successfully being funny when you speak depends on whether or not you know your audience.

5. Practice and experiment.

The best way to become funnier when you speak is to practice and experiment with different techniques until you find one that works for you. To do so, you can use an AI conversation coach like Yoodli.

Yoodli uses generative AI technology to analyze your speech and speaking patterns and provide actionable tips on how to improve. Its conversation simulator allows users to practice having simple conversations. It’s the perfect environment to practice being funny when you speak.

You can completely personalize the conversation simulation by choosing a topic, an intended listener, and the tone or personality of that AI-generated conversation partner.

A screenshot of Yoodli's conversation simulator where you can practice being funny when you speak
You can easily practice being funny when you speak using Yoodli’s conversation simulator.

Don’t be afraid to try something new  —  it can often lead to great results! The funniest people on stage are sometimes the most boring otherwise because they have made their funny joke like muscle memory!

Learn more about how you can use Yoodli to practice being funny when you speak:

You can practice being funny when you speak with the Yoodli AI conversation coach.

6. Read funny books and follow great comedians.

There are hundreds of books that are recommended by improvisational comedians. These include books on stand-up comedy, books on how to be funny in life, or even books that provide a humorous perspective on current events.

Additionally, there are so many great resources online including stand up specials and TED talks. Following these comedians can give you access to their style of delivery and help you develop your own material. My favorite is “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah.

7. Use exaggeration and irony in your stories the same way a stand-up comedian would.

Exaggeration and irony are two of the most powerful tools in a comedian’s arsenal. They can make even the dullest anecdotes hilarious. But they can also be tricky to use correctly. If you go too far, you’ll just sound like a clown, not a funny person.

Here are some tips to help you use exaggeration and irony effectively:

  • Start by finding the humor in everyday situations. This will help you get comfortable with using exaggeration and irony before you try it on more serious topics.
  • Be aware of your tone of voice when you’re telling jokes. You want to sound playful and happy, not mean, angry, or monotonic.
  • Use exaggeration sparingly. A little goes a long way, so don’t overdo it.
  • Pay attention to your audience’s reaction when you tell jokes. If they’re not laughing, it’s probably because your joke didn’t work.

8. Be spontaneous and keep the energy up.

It can be hard to be funny on command. But if you want to up your funny game, one of the best things you can do is simply let go and be more spontaneous. This will help keep the energy level up, which is essential for funniness. And it will also help you avoid that dreaded “trying too hard” feeling.

9. Be passionate about what you’re talking about.

When you’re passionate about what you’re talking about, it’s easy to get carried away and sound funnier than you intended. The key is to find that sweet spot where your passion comes through, but doesn’t overwhelm your message.

If you can make the audience feel your excitement, they’ll be more likely to enjoy your presentation and even laugh at your jokes. So how do you do that? Here are a few tips:

  1. Find the right tone. Be sincere and genuine, but not too serious. Let your personality show through without crossing the line into arrogance or self-deprecation.
  2. Use strong body language. Use energetic hand gestures, move around the stage (or room), and use facial expressions to convey emotion.
  3. Connect with your audience. Make eye contact, use humor that’s relevant to them, and connect on a personal level whenever possible.
  4. Stay on topic. If you stray from the main point of your talk, you’ll lose focus and the audience will lose interest quickly.
  5. Pause for laughter. When you deliver a punchline, pause briefly for laughter before continuing on with your speech

The Bottom Line

It’s important to note that not everyone is naturally funny or born funny. Making people laugh by cracking jokes, having a good sense of humor or coming up with a funny story is not as simple as it sounds. For instance, I don’t see myself as a funny person. But I’ve studied tricks that my stand up comedian best friend uses all the time. He often tells the same joke or recounts funny personal stories/past experience that would put him right into a comedy club.

By following these nine easy tips, you’ll be able to sound more funny when speaking in any situation. So go ahead and give them a try  —  we guarantee it won’t take long before people are asking for encores. Good luck!

Sources that funny people recommend:


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