Laughter really is the best medicine, and it has been humor, that has helped me cope through my darkest days...and there have been many! The positive and healing power cannot be measured! Over the years, people have asked me questions about humor, and I'll share a few questions and answers here with you.
Question: What's the most important thing I should know abouit getting into humor, or just wanting to be a funnier person?
Answer: Be honest with yourself...I can't emphasize that enough! Take an inventory of yourself; your abilities; capabilities; limitations and ask yourself if you have what it takes to get into the comedy business. In comedy...you're going to fail; you're going to get embarrassed; at some point, you're going to embarrass others; you're going to say the wrong thing at the wrong time; you're going to eat a little "crow;" and you're going to get a lot of "egg on your face." You're timing and delivery will be wrong; and you might even get your face slapped if you're not careful, etc.
Humor is quite subjective, and what somebody thinks is funny...could be an insult to somebody else! Care has to be taken about what you say, and what you do; and where you say it and where you do it, etc. Can you embarrass yourself and then make a comeback? Can you embarrass yourself and then apoligize for what you said to others? If you get into humor, it's just a matter of time, when you do both of these.
A slip of the tongue here and a slip of the tongue there! All of us in humor do it! One thing is certain...judgement day will come for you quickly if you get into humor in a serious way. Your 15 minutes of fame, may turn into your 15 minutes of shame, if you're not careful! I don't want to discourage anyone from getting into humor, but you must know the honest facts, and get prepared to deal with them. These are the reasons why you must be honest with yourself!
Question: Can anybody get into humor/comedy and be successful?
Answer: NO! NO! There are people, in my view, that should stay away from humor altogether! The first thing a person needs in humor is a personality. I've known people in my lifetime, who have the personality of a rock; chopped liver or an orange traffic barrel, etc. The person has to be a llittle bit outgoing...and extrovert...or some place in the middle. The person has to enjoy being with people, and have the ability to communicate well.
I've worked around technical people like techs and engineers for over 12 years, and many of these people are brilliant! They can do the math and put somebody on the moon, but when it comes to having a personality...sometimes it's hard to even get a sentence out of them, etc. Some of these people are so introverted, that they would not do well in comedy at all. The answer is NO...not everyone can get into humor, and be successful and effective, etc.
Question: What other qualities should a person have who wants to get into comedy?
Answer: The person should have high self-esteem and confidence in himself or herself. This is terribly important, because as I said earlier, the person is going to place his or her foot "in their mouth" at some point in time, and that person is going to have to make a comeback, it he or she decides to stay in comedy. What I'm saying here, is the person who wants to get into comedy, should exercise common sense at the highest level.
Question: Are comedians/humorists different from other people?
Answer: YES! Comedians are different because they see the world differently than others. They are always looking for something funny! They stop and smell the roses...while others just walk on by, etc. They pay attention to detail to find something humorous. If there is not something funny...they make something funny out of it, using the tools of the trade...exaggeration; irony, etc. Stop; Look and Listen...is what people in humor do...others just walk on by and pay no attention!
Question: What's the best way to break into comedy!
Answer: Use the KISS Principle...Keep It Simple, Stupid! Start with short material. Don't start rambling on about your vacation last summer that takes three hours to tell! (YAWN!) Short jokes; short anecdotes; short stories; short everything. Memorize them for a smooth delivery!
Question: What's the most important element in comedy?
Answer: DELIVERY...and all the pros will tell you the same thing! Without a doubt...if you don't deliver your humor smoothly...and you choke on the punch line...you're finished! Pausing and breaking up your story...is...well...have you ever thought about being an engineer?
Question: What is a no-no in comedy?
Answer: Telling the same joke or story over and over and over and over again until you drive people crazy! DO NOT DO THIS...with your humor...or you're finished! Jokes and humor get old very quickly, so if you can't come up with new and fresh material..don't get into humor! This is why comedians are always looking for new matieial...to keep everything fresh, etc.
TRYING to be funny is a big NO-NO! We've all seen celebrities on a national level...TRY to be funny and they've paid the price in getting humiliated! Never TRY to be funny!
Question: How important is style?
Answer: I don't think you have to worry about style, if you can't tell a joke, get a laugh, and you're having trouble with delivery, etc. Style is important if you're planning to get into humor for the long haul. All of us have our own fingerprints, and a person should never copy anyone else. There's only one Lucy; one Bob Hope; one Erma Bombeck, etc. So, develop your own style that you feel comtortable with and don't steal material from other comedians.
Do like I do...use the "Uncle Milty Principle"...and don't steal jokes from others...just borrow them forever! (enough said!)
Question: What else is important about getting into comedy?
Answer: Patience! You're not going to be funny over-night, or you may never be funny at all. Like anything else...there's a long learning process. Engineers; doctors; athletes take a long time to be good at what they do, so it's going to take time. There's no such thing as an over-night success...so be patient!
Question: Is there anything I can do to get a laugh right away?
Answer: Sure...sure! Why don't you show everyone your paycheck...that should get you a few laughs! Maybe, you should show everyone pictures of you, while you were potty-training...that should get you even more laughs!
Question: Jerry, who are a few of your favorite comedians?
Answer: In 2008, the list hasn't changed much, and you'll probably think I'm trying to be funny here, but I'm not. I think some of the funniest people in the world are as follows; Henry Kissenger; Hillary Clinton; George W. Bush; and "Mr. Cardboard" himself...the father of the Internet and Academy Award and Nobel Prize winner ...Al Gore himself! These people just crack me up!
Question: Tell the truth, Jer...do you really think you're a funny person?
Answer: Does a porcupine cross his legs carefully?
I certainly hope a few of these tips on humor have helped you. There is nothing like humor to brighten up the day...ot to brighten up somebody else's day, etc. I encourage everyone to get into humor...but just start slowly...with short pieces and you'll be fine! You'll be glad you did!
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