My personal attempts at tickling people’s funny bones have, through infamy, been branded as “Nikhita Jokes” amongst some of my closest friends. These are the jokes that I, the joke teller herself, laugh the loudest at; the jokes that not many other people find funny. The sort of jokes that cause groans of protest, raised eyebrows and perhaps a few saving graces in the form of forced polite sniggers from the more diplomatic amongst you. In short, car crash jokes. Sometimes I’m lucky enough that the joke is so bad that everyone is in stitches anyway. But you get the general gist. I’m certainly no comedy expert.
I do however know a little thing or two about the value of humour – and how much it can actually help with all sorts of unpleasant feelings and situations. It truly works wonders.
There is a good reason why the phrase “G.S.O.H.” is penned in virtually every respectable (or not-so-respectable) Lonely Hearts column, and why it features so high up in the majority of people’s checklists for what they look for in a potential partner. The fact is, being funny is a hugely attractive trait to have. Women in general laugh more at men they are attracted to, and men are attracted to women that laugh more at them. How convenient.
Courtship aside, there’s of course that old adage of laughter being the best medicine. Well, ladies and gentlemen, there may indeed be a small grain of truth in there after all – a single 15-minute laughter session can burn up to 40 calories. If, like myself, you are a bit of a gym noob then this can only be taken as a plus. Add on top of this the endorphin-releasing properties of a good ol’ chuckle sesh and you have yourself a rather incredible stress-reliever, with a remarkable ability to heal the body both mentally and physically. There are solid records of people afflicted with debilitating illnesses who have managed to heal themselves with the power of laughter.
Many a former class clown the world over will also be mighty pleased to hear of recent findings, which show that the overwhelming majority of companies would rather hire someone with a sense of humour than one without. The workplace can be a bit dull without the odd dosage of humour after all.
So it’s official. Funny people live longer, have better love lives and increased job prospects. Looks like they really will be laughing all the way to the bank.
Humour is diverse; it exists in all kinds of forms, and this is probably sweet, sweet music to the ears of the vast majority of us who aren’t blessed with the side-splitting stand-up powers of Russell Peters et al. Babies start laughing when they are just four months old, so you could even say that it’s innate. We all see the world from our own unique vantage point and, attached to this, is an equally unique sense of humour. There are a few things that the majority of genuinely funny people have in common though, and these are worth taking note of…
They can laugh at themselves. There is something seriously approachable (and likeable!) about a person who is well aware of their own flaws and isn’t shy to poke fun at themselves every now and then. Let’s be honest, everybody screws up on occasion, and actually that story of how you face-planted whilst going in late to a lecture (not that this has ever happened…) may actually be made for sharing, even though you’d naturally maybe be more inclined to keep it firmly on lockdown. In essence, the right balance of light-hearted self-deprecation can be a very attractive thing indeed.
They are well-read, attentive and always open to learning from others. The crème de la crème of comedians know a little about a lot, are tuned into current goings-on, and can see the funny side in most things as a result. They definitely do a bit of homework. Just as importantly, they also give others the chance to be funny – and use those chances to learn from them too.
They know when NOT to be funny. There is definitely a fine line between a risky joke that pays off to one that is just inappropriate. There are the obvious tread-with-caution topics here (religion and politics, anyone?), along with humour that is a bit too much at the expense of others. There is a time and place for humour and sometimes it’s best to be serious, no matter how good you think your dead baby jokes are. Misplaced or excessive humour can be awkward and offensive – you have been warned…
They take failed joke attempts on the chin and move on. So your joke crashed and burned (I feel you), but that’s okay, nobody can be funny all the time. Funny just wouldn’t be funny then would it. Forgive yourself, don’t dwell on it and certainly don’t force it. If you feel like your game is a bit off the mark then it is okay to take five. Or ten. You’ll get another chance to be the funny guy (or girl).
In short, always remember that you do have the power to be funny, but it may just be a matter of some gentle conditioning to bring the best of it out to the world. As your confidence starts building and you’re able to up your humour rating don’t be too surprised if people come flocking to you – laughter is a universal language after all, and has a special power to break down barriers and unite people 🙂