If you don't have a gig in the next few weeks, keep in mind you don't need a gig to be funny.
If you're in line at the movies, at a table with friends, or doing just about anything where you have some sort of audience -- you have the chance to hone your comedy skills by being funny.
Look around you; you'll notice that there are funny waitresses, funny store clerks, and (unintentionally) funny weird neighbors. Actually, studies have shown that when waitresses and other tip dependant occupations make their customers laugh, their tips increase by 40%!
You can learn a lot from observing these folks - and the laughter they create.
You can also learn what NOT to do -- unfortunately -- from the many OTHER people around who TRY to be funny but don't realize that the expiration date already passed on the jokes they're telling.
Yesterday I was at Costco and I asked someone what day it was and he said, “It’s Monday ...all day,” and he looked at me like he expected a laugh. The reason I just stared and DIDN'T laugh was...
A.) It’s not funny
B.) It’s old material.
C.) It was actually Tuesday.
Well... at least I’m trying to add some funny by using the list of three -- but I’m getting really tired of civilians misusing comedy by not even trying. Just like I think comics shouldn’t steal jokes, or use hack material, the cashiers from Costco should avoid overused lines that weren’t even funny in the first place. If you're going to steal material -- at least steal the good stuff.
Here is a list of my least favorite jokes:
- If I tell anybody over 50 my name is Judy, it’s guaranteed they're gonna say “Judy, Judy, Judy!” I have no idea where it’s from. Maybe from a film from the 40s -- so could've been funny up 'til the 60s. Now it's time to give it a rest.
- “Hey-oh!” at the end of a joke. Ed McMahon is dead -- and so is that joke.
- References to really outdated movie quotes, like “Here’s Johnny!” from The Shining.
- Nothing funny has ever started with “Knock, knock.”
- Saying ‘awkward’ after something that is awkward is already getting old.
- Somebody walks into a bar... and does something completely stereotypical that I saw coming way before the punch line.
- “Do these pants make me look fat?” Does that line make you sound hack? (Ummm -- yes to both.)
- Penises -- and jokes about them -- just aren't that funny anymore. (But “scrotum” is. Scrotum is the new penis.)
- Your pet is only funny to you. A story about your cat is funny to you because it’s YOUR cat. (And that impersonation of your cat hacking up a fur ball is not appropriate as a wedding toast.)
- Jokes that go on and one and end with ... “I forgot the punch line.”
Instead of going for hack comments and memorizing jokes, find your own funny commentary on the movie you just saw, the date you just had, or what you see in the mirror. There’s plenty of comedy looking back at you.
Laughs happen naturally, all the time, without any advance planning. So -- pay attention when they do. Real life -- and what we all experience together -- is where the best comedy comes from.