Thursday, November 5, 2009

How to Be Funny - Part 2 - Change the Assumption

By Sterling Barnes

Anyone can become funny. It's really easy when you think about it. Most of the time when you are hanging out with friends or family and the laughs are flowing it is probably because someone is using the technique I'm about to share with you with even knowing it.

Whether you are in a casual setting or wanting to perform on stage is crucial that you remember that humor in its most basic form is all about expectation and surprise. Please don't forget those two words: expectation and surprise.

Your ultimate goal may not to become a stand-up comedian but if you want to get laughs then the doing this will get you much farther than you'd believe. So what is it? What's the magic secret? Well its really simple, just "Change the Assumption".

Change the Assumption? How?

Right now you might be scratching you head or wondering what exactly that means. Well in every conversation you'll ever have in your life there are things that are just naturally implied or assumed by you and the other person(s) just to keep the conversation going. These are the assumptions that you will first point out in your own mind and then change (in a funny way) in the minds of those you are with.

Start by asking yourself "what is the one word, concept or thing that is so strongly implied about the situation that everyone here probably agrees on?" Many times the assumption is so strong that no one ever even bothers to mention it out loud. It could be something that you automatically believe to be true because of the way you were raised, your social conditioning, religious beliefs or what have you.

Once you've identified the main assumption you hare halfway home because now all that you have to do is tweak that underlying assumption in your friends mind. The kicker about this is that it doesn't even have to be anything major. Sometimes a small twist or a quick quip in an unexpected (there it is again...) direction is enough.

A Quick Way to Change the Assumption:

Playfully exaggerate the opposite degree or magnitude.

If something is too hot then playfully exaggerate it being ice cold. If a woman is short (and not self-conscious about it) then you may playfully tease her about being a tall or needing someone tall for your basketball team.

I can't stress enough how important being playful is when you exaggerate. I wish I was able to bold it 100 times over because it can mean the difference between being funny or being seen as jerk (or something less PG). Another example of this is if someone is dumb or they say something dumb then you might come back with "Man that's the smartest thing you've said all day!" Or if someone is being slow and taking their sweet time about something then you might say something about them being fast or lighting the world on fire. Teasing and playfulness go hand in hand. Just remember to be light-hearted about it and exaggerate.

Are you interested in learning how to be funny?

Yes, No, Maybe?

Well what if I asked if you want to be more social, more charming and meet more of the opposite sex?

There is no better (or fun) way to do this than honing your sense of humor. Come visit us at Hungry For Humor to get pointers on how you can learn how to be funny (it really is possible) and really understand what makes people laugh.

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