How to Tell a Funny Story

Mark Twain once said that "There are several kinds of stories, but only one difficult kind- the humorous." It isn't easy to tell a funny story. In fact, sometimes it's nearly impossible to get people to laugh. But with a little imagination and a lot of practice, you'll have them rolling in the aisles.


1. Find a story to tell. Whether you're making it up, re-telling something you heard or reading from a book, be sure you enjoy the story. If you don't appreciate the humor in the story, your audience won't find it funny either.


2. Make sure the audience can relate to your story. Unless the audience can relate to the characters or topics in your story, they aren't going to care or find your funny animal videos.


3. Start telling the story. As you tell it, don't let on that you know something funny is coming. The more serious, or innocent, your expression and tone, the funnier it will be when you reach the punch line, as if you've said something funny but didn't know it until the audience starts laughing.


4. Take your time when telling the story. Give the audience time to enjoy the details of your story. Use the rhythm or pace of your story to move it along. Also, use pauses for dramatic effect and to keep the audience guessing.


5. Use your voice. Not only do you need to project your voice to the back of the room, but you also need to use intonation. Be excited at first, then calm down a bit before you use a pause. Then come out of the pause with your punch line.


6. Practice, practice and practice some more. What you think is funny isn't always funny to someone else. Practice in front of family, friends or small audiences to get a feel for what you can do to make the story better. You'll know what works and what doesn't by the audience's reaction.


7. Perform your story when you feel confident that you're ready to bring the house down.


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