I am a funny guy. No, really. People tell me all the time. One of the funniest guys I know, Darren LaCroix, once said publically, “Rob is a funny guy!” Yes, he used an exclamation point. I was there. What more do you want?
A point? ah. That seems fair.
My point: even the funniest people in the world – professionals with well thought out material – occasionally lay an egg. And if they bomb with something they practiced and prepared to perform, is it so shocking that you and I miss the mark when we try to be funny without really trying?
Where am I coming from? As it turns out I’ve recently noticed something about my humor when I’m speaking to an audience. You may find this difficult to believe, but it’s true.
My audience knows funny, and I’m not it.
Okay…maybe it isn’t that bad. Its not like I’m a comedian who is getting no laughs. I’m not a professional funny-man. I’m a speaker/trainer and I use humor to help deliver my message. And it does work. However, I’ve just been noticing that I’m seeing more material that I deliver and think will be funny not work for me. Maybe I’m just more sensitive to it since I’ve been getting the “speaking too fast” feedback lately.
So the question I’m asking myself is, “How do I fix this?”
Humor takes preparation
Ever noticed a speaker who clearly put an effort into some statistics, citing sources and maybe even creating charts? Well, humor takes work too. For instance, you can think of a point to make with three parts, such as Prepare, Practice and Perform. Then swap out the third item with a humorous replacement. “I was prepared, I had practiced, and when the time came, I went out on stage and…put off my audience with a dumb joke.” Of course, you need to find your own examples that fit your material. In fact, if you want some additional ideas, just Google it! Or check out this example from Darren.
Humor takes practice
Even the best prepared humor needs more than preparation. Timing, inflections, and the right facial expression can go a long way toward delivering a humorous line or story. Video yourself. Practice your lines for a friend. Take it to Toastmasters. By practicing, you can develop that timing and all the pieces you need to succeed. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. Believe me, they’ll let you try again.
Humor is more than the performance
In the end, even funny material from a funny person isn’t always funny. Believe me, no one was more shocked than I to learn this. You need to know when to say, “oh well”. Just like that awesome (you think) story that doesn’t have a point, some humor just isn’t right for some material, some audiences, or some performers. It’s important to always know your self, know your message and know your audience for every presentation you make. There’s plenty of humor that works for all three. But when it doesn’t fit just one of those criteria…learn to let go.
Because they know funny…
Learn more about the Darren and the World Champion’s EDGE here: EDGE