Wherever and whoever we are, we all love a good joke. When we tell a funny anecdote or witticism, we show off our verbal athleticism. Clever puns display our ability to manipulate language and entertain our companions. The internet has made it easy to share a joke in cartoon format to all the people on your mailing list, forward funny tik toks, and share homemade videos, however the art of telling a joke is still a talent and hearing someone’s laughter when you verbally share a joke often makes you smile and laugh in return. Can you remember the last time you laughed uncontrollably? What makes something really, truly funny? Here are some of the nuts and bolts that hold jokes together:
1) The set-up: Think of all those ‘A man walks into a bar…’ ‘I was in a restaurant the other day when…’ jokes. Describing the situation before launching straight into the joke is essential, especially if the story is a personal anecdote.
2) Storytelling: A well told joke will weave a story with a beginning, middle and an end together. The really memorable jokes build up an audience’s expectations and then surprise them. Take this example:
‘A magician was working on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. The audience was different each week so he did same tricks over and over again. The problem was, the captain’s parrot saw all the shows and began to understand how the magician did every trick. He started shouting in the middle of the show: ‘Look, it’s not the same hat! Can’t you see that he’s hiding the flowers under the table! Hey, why are all the cards the ace of spades?’ The magician was furious but this was the captain’s parrot and he could do nothing. Then, one day the ship sank. The magician found himself floating on a piece of wood with the parrot. They glared at each other but said nothing. Finally, after a week, the parrot said: ‘OK, I give up. Where’s the boat?’’
3) Punch lines: These are the parts of a joke that get remembered. They tend to be short, snappy sentences that give the joke a twist and abruptly reverse the direction that the joke has been heading in. Stand-up comedians spend hours perfecting their punch lines.
One of my favourite PET related jokes, which incorporates all the tips mentioned above… Walking past a veterinary clinic, a woman noticed a small boy and his dog waiting outside. ‘Are you here to see Dr Meyer?’ she asked. ‘Yes,’ the boy said. ‘I’m having my dog put in neutral.’
Share the laughter!