What you need to know when telling a joke

Laughter has always been a part of us, ever since the dawn of time. An emotion which releases chemicals which make us happy and relieves pain.

Telling jokes is a great way to make people laugh, and by doing this you leave a great impression. However, telling a joke is not always so easy, if you don’t deliver it correctly, it won’t come out funny and you could even embarrass yourself. Follow these ingredients to tell a good joke.

1. Anticipation

For any joke you deliver and expect to be funny you need to learn how to build up anticipation. You want people to keep guessing in their heads what your next line will be, is it something obvious, something obscure? At this point, it doesn’t matter if the answer is expected once you’ve built up the anticipation.

A good example of this is one of the oldest jokes or most known joke: “Why did the chicken cross the road?” –this is the moment you pause and build your anticipation, leaving your audience thinking and guessing and after a few seconds you deliver your answer.

2. Surprise

This is probably the most important step in delivering a joke. If you do not have a surprise, you probably don’t have a joke. The bigger the surprise and the greater the anticipation, the funnier the joke. Starting your joke by telling something completely normal (expected) and then delivering something completely unexpected is what will make your joke hilarious. is a great example of how a surprise works in a joke.

3. Target

It’s always important to know who you’re delivering the joke to and ask yourself a few questions. Is this the right time? Will it be appropriate to say it to this person? Because your goal is to make these people laugh not offend them. So telling a joke to your friends about your father, will make them laugh, but telling the same joke to your father may not have the same effect.

So be careful and think about who is your target before telling a joke.

4. Truth

Having something your listeners will relate to is an important step to your joke. There’s always some truth in a funny joke or most commonly a known problem in the real world. Facing these kinds of problems with a joke and laughter is a great way to loosen tension between people.

Of course, you still have to be careful which themes you pick, since some things could still be very sensitive to some people.

5. Relatability

As we said in the previous steps, it’s important to target your audience. You have to make sure your audience is familiar with the “story” you’re telling. If they cannot relate or understand why the joke is funny, they certainly won’t be laughing.

6. Exaggeration

While having in mind that every joke should have something relatable or real, your next step is to exaggerate the second part of the joke. While the first part of your joke seems reasonable and expected, you need to make the second part of your joke more unexpected for your audience, the more unexpected the funnier it will seem.

So now by following these steps or “formula”, you can deliver a funny joke properly or even make a great joke yourself.








Peter is a freelance writer with more than eight years of experience covering topics in politics. He was one of the guys that were here when the started.