One of the things I have learned on this long and badly signposted road that is life is the most important thing you can be is funny. You could have discovered a cure for cancer, but if the best you could do on Twitter upon your discovery was “Looks like there’s only ELEVEN signs of the Zodiac now… #CuredCancer” then no-one is going to care.
Lance Armstrong might have been the first man to walk on the face of what we now call The Moon, but what he is remembered for is comically knocking a golf ball around up there in a hilarious visual gag.
Being funny is more important than being smart, nice, or even attractive and like all good things, it is easy and requires next to no effort.
Just absorb, by way of your eyes, the following five things and soon you will be as popular as Bill Clinton, without having the brains or the human decency of Hillary Clinton.
The thing about humour is it is 43.76% wit, timing and arm-pit farts and 56.24% volume. Basically, if you say anything loudly it is funny. Try it out: yell “Telephone!” right now; people will laugh. There’s nothing particularly funny about the word ‘telephone’ or even telephones. If you have recently been dumped over the telephone, telephones may hold a certain sadness in your heart. The reason people laughed was because you yelled it.
Loudness is why people who yell things, even indiscernible things, from cars, in stadiums, in movie theatres, and off construction-site scaffolding are revered for their Paul Rudd-esque wit and reap the carnal benefits accordingly.
The other thing about being louder than everything else is if you hear someone else say something funny, you can repeat it louder and get all the credit for it. What are they going to do about it, pout passive-aggressively? Probably, but now you are the Oscar Wildean Megaphone through which all the great quips pass.
Jokes become funnier the more you tell them. This is why people watch Two and a Half Men and Blackadder re-runs every week and laugh themselves incontinent and why no-one cares about Woody Allen movies. If you repeat a joke over and over it will become familiar to your audience and people find familiar things comforting and thus, funny. Why do you think politicians repeat the same ideas over and over: they are part of a global conspiracy to make politics funny and thus, interesting.
It’s science. So don’t argue with it. What are you, some sort of creationist? Read this Richard Dawkins book. Moron.
Find new avenues
People expect to hear jokes on the television, at the pub, or during sex, so in many ways they are steeled to their penetrative power. However, if you take people by surprise by being funny in an avenue of their life that they don’t expect to encounter comedy, you disarm them and laughter floweth more easily. It is why no-one laughs during a Robin Williams stand-up performance, despite the ticket clearly saying ‘an evening of comedy’ but everyone bursts into hysterics if you yell “Bollocks!” during the eulogies at a funeral.
The problem with word-based comedy is it is hard. How often have you been down the gastro pub, part way through a hilariously ribald joke involving a sexual encounter culminating in someone crapping themselves only to have your whole thunder stolen by someone making a ‘wanking’ gesture with their hand? Seventeen times at least!
Funny gestures are like the picture that tells a thousand dick jokes. It is why the funniest people tend to also be the most expressive with their hands.
Everyone knows that the guy in the office who wears a tie embroided with pictures of poo on it is the ‘office card’, and we all love the lady who has mastered nine different shades of sarcasm merely by her eye-rolling and smirking.
Pulling the fingers, the dismissive wank gesture, and putting your index finger through your trouser fly to indicate your penis is out are jokes that transcend language and cultural barriers. This is why all diplomats have an expressive set of sexually simulating thrusting gestures in their humour repertoire should be called upon to diffuse an international incident with comedy.
People always think that the person who can impress his or her friends or Twitter feed with side-ways jibes at current events is a special type of sophisticate.
The thing is, it is easy. For a start, current events are constantly happening. If you live in New Zealand, when current events stop happening for the day at 5.45PM, they are only just starting in the big important countries. Its a twenty-four hour cycle and you have a myriad to choose from.
Secondly, you really only have to reference the event to get a laugh. This is why so many tweets are:
“*insert name of politician/sporting identity/celebrity is a total *insert colloquial name for genitalia*”.
Sometimes you can be even more general than that: See how many retweets you get from tweeting:
“I wish all those clowns in Congress would stop clowning around #Clown”
Easy. Now you are basically John Stewart. Or at very least the crew of Seven Sharp.