Seven Habits of Highly Effective Jokes
A continuing feature of Larger Ego -- this time, helping you to become the best Joke you can be.
1. Follow the Rules of Being a Joke
There are three types of humor. The first is inverting the expectation. The second is inverting the un-expectation. The third is slipping on a banana peel. These forms are indisputable, so learn to fit in. If you want a laugh, it has to be something that doesn't come too far out of left field. These parameters are a must for anyone setting out to be a respected joke. Jokes should have punchlines. Too often, they do not.
2. Delivery, Delivery, Delivery
Just as Location, Location, Location is the key to real estate or time travel, for a joke, it's all in the delivery. Try not to mumble. Don't give yourself away too early. Anticipation is key. The less time you spend offending people, the better you will come off as a joke. Remember, confidence can carry you a long way, but sometimes it carries you over the edge into Annoying Anecdote. If you contain expletives, they should be sharp and off-setting, as They Are Not Funny In Themselves. If you do not have expletives, keep it short, unless you happen to be the charming White Horse and Brown Horse joke.
3. Liberal Use of the Word "Pants."
No one will deny that this is a funny word. Think about it. Pants. It's actually funnier than "pantaloons." Pants works as a noun or a verb, and is funny in either case. Try to work it in to your identity, preferably in the punchline. Keep in mind, though, that despite "stinks" being a funny word, "stinks" (or a variation thereof) in conjunction with "pants" is not usually funny, as it is too sophomoric, too South Park. Find a way to make "pants" unexpected, un-unexpected, or involving a banana peel. Ducks are also almost always funny.
4. Know Your Audience
Even the best jokes can tell you tales of deliveries that failed simply due to a misreading of the audience. Check out your surroundings before you let yourself go. Many people are hard of hearing, but this does not mean you should repeat yourself. Give yourself one go, and then let go. If you need time to sink in let it be. Never explain yourself. Wherever you go, there will be people who do not "get you," or who think "you are dumb." Remember, it is they who are dumb. Unless, of course, you are told by Sinbad, in which case, chances are, you are not funny.
5. Do Not Be About Taxis From the Airport in the Town in Which You Are Being Delivered
Pretty self-explanatory. The whole, "Anyone here from L.A? Boy, the cabbies are from another planet!" jokes, though popular in the eighties, were never funny. If you laugh at yourself just thinking about it, or if you labor under the illusion that you will be able to deliver the joke well, you should cease trying to be a joke and accept that you are nothing more than a pathetic laughingstock who should give it up and allow your teller to go back to being a FedEx desk worker. It is, however, okay to be a "dad joke," which generally involves a banana in the ear, or perhaps a terrible pun, or some sort of sudden sneezing, never delivered to a crowd larger than twelve persons (pets not included, the poor, dumb creatures). Midgets are no longer funny, so don't be one.
6. Bad Dancing is Funny
No one knows why this is. Don't be afraid -- it always has been, it always will be. We think it falls into section two of Habit #1, but regardless, feel free to be this kind of joke. Physicality is funny. It might not be as clever and erudite as the spoken word, but it's a big world out there, and people move their oddly-shaped bodies in odd ways, all of the time. Watch people walk down the street. They're not even dancing, and they still look funny.
7. Make Being a Joke Unique to You
Not everyone will laugh at you all of the time. Experiment. Find your feet, and then put them directly on top of a slippery banana peel, but make the falling down part a bit different. Perhaps this time, it is into a deep well full of babies. Who knows? This time, you might get a laugh. Remember, the worst case scenario is not someone who is a bigger Joke than you, but rather someone who is the same Joke as you. You want to be remembered; you want to be special. You have in you a Joke Like No Other. Let it out. Set it free.