A lot of people ask me about being funny. I guess it’s the whole writing funny books for tweens and younger kids thing. Plus, in an earlier life, I used to perform sketch comedy in New York with Rubber Feet and HA! Comedy Duo. You can read all about it in the bio section of my website. Anyway, let’s get back to you being funny, whether it’s because you want to step-it up socially or maybe you want to add some levity to your writing. One of the best ways to be funny is to share embarrassing stories with friends. When we share our most humiliating stories, we invite laughter because everyone can relate. Also, there’s a psychic relief we give ourselves when we share our tales. Others enjoy the I’m-glad-it-wasn’t-me moment.
So here are five tips for keeping your stories funny:
1) Don’t try to be funny. Sure, it sounds strange. But when you try to be funny, you won’t be. You’ll be annoying and someone trying to be funny.
2) Keep your story personal. The more candid you are the better. As an author, I often speak in front of groups and it definitely doesn’t work when I try to impress them with my creds. Instead, people respond when I am the most human.
3) Keep your story short. The shorter the funnier. Three to five minutes max.
4) When you tell your story, latch onto an emotional attitude and live it. For example, annoyed, worried, or angry. As an extra tip, you might have might try to have the opposite attitude of what would be expected, as surprise is always funny. Instead of whining about when you got a parking ticket for $250, you could start off—“Oh, I love parking tickets! Because you’ll never know when you’ll get one. The other day I’m…”
5) Don’t worry about what others will think of you as you tell the story. Otherwise, you’ll sound robotic. Work with your fear of humiliation/rejection and own up to it as you relate your story. “I’m really nervous here. Does anyone have any deodorant? Because mine isn’t working right now…” And turn off your inner critic. She’s a real pain and we don’t want to hear from her. We want to hear from you!
When you are done and if you’re brave enough, record yourself and your friends, consider uploading to some sights such as http://www.YouTube.com or http://www.funnyordie.com or http://www.funnyplace.org.
Or, if you’re a writer, change some names around and have your protagonist live out one of your humiliations.
And most importantly, relax and have fun!