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#22. Laugh shamelessly at your own jokes.

Please don’t do this one I beseech you. Nothing spoils a joke like laughing at it after you make it. The efficacy of a joke lies in saying it and pausing for your audience to laugh or groan. If you laugh at yourself, the recipient of the joke is more likely than not to see you as an idiot who can’t tell a proper joke. I remember a woman from church who liked to tell puns based on Bible quotes. Some of them were not bad but she spoiled every one of them but immediately braying at the punchline. Oh the pain.

Sometimes the person telling the joke consciously or unconsciously laughs as they know the joke isn’t funny or their presentation isn’t very good: the laughter covers this up. Most of the time thems who laugh shamelessly at their own jokes suffer from The Dunning-Kruger effect viz. they are not aware as a joke-teller they are a bust and they are better to keep quiet.*

What I recommend laughing at your own foibles. This is better than beating yourself up and the laughter is more likely to lead to learning for less foibles later on. Errors and bungles have humor to them if you allow yourself to find it. If this sort of laughter is heard by others it becomes a mutual humor at the absurdity of life.

It can also change people laughing at you to laughing with you. Good for everyone.**

Whatever floats your goat

*I was never a fan of Bob Hope and Johnny Carson. They would make a cornball joke (often not funny) and stand back and wait for the audience to laugh in the expectation “I made a joke, now laugh at it’. They could have used a bit of laughing at their own jokes I suppose.

**Lily Tomlin was once asked what made her go into comedy. “Well, at an early age I realized everyone was laughing me so I thought I might as well try to be funny”.

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August 2022

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