How to Be Funny When You’re Not

Steve Urkel Photo
Steve Urkel — Funny and Not Funny

Are you a naturally funny person? Do people find you hilarious?

Yeah. Me, neither.

Still, humor is an important communication tool and an essential discipline for any writer to learn.

If you learn how to be funny, you will woo and inspire audiences. You will warm them up so you can deliver the full impact of your message.

And if you don’t, well, you may just have to wake them up before you finish.

But if you’re like me, and things like humor and satire are difficult for you, then you may need some help. You may need some convincing as to why you shouldn’t stop trying to be funny, altogether.

Why humor matters

Some writers think you don’t have to be funny. Or witty or clever, for that matter. They believe that making people laugh is somehow a lesser form of communicating.

Which is true if you’re drafting instructions for assembling a stereo.

But if your aim is to move people, to create an emotional connection, then you have no choice. You have to be funny. Even if you’re not. You have to find a way.

Three ways to be humorous

I’ve always struggled with being funny.

At my worst, I was awkward. At my best, I was snarky and often offensive. My humor was often misunderstood (still is, sometimes). What I’ve found, though, is that every person is funny in their own way. And even an old dog can learn new tricks.

You don’t have to force it, but it won’t just happen, either. If you’re going to find your humor voice, it will take practice. Here are three ways to do it:

  • State the obvious.
  • Be subtle.
  • Surprise your audience.

So what does it take be funny?

How do you put all this together and make people chuckle, snicker and laugh? Good question.

I wrote about that today for my friend Joe’s website, The Write Practice. In it, I share a few different examples of how to be funny.

Hopefully, this article will help you find your own way to entertain and engage audiences, to give your message the best chance at success by getting people to lower their guards.

Check it out here: Humor Writing for People Who Aren’t Funny

Do you think you’re funny? (Be honest.) Why or why not? Share in the comments.