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Chicken-in-the-traffic techniques to unleash wit
and humor! Wisecrack your way to enhanced intelligence and happiness!
When you see old reels of
Bob Hopeon stage, would you say he is a smart guy or a dumb guy?
If you listen to Woody Allen comedy sketches, does he come across as stupid or really
intelligent? What about motormouths Robin Williamsor Eddie Murphy-- are they quick-witted or
Check out the surreal worlds of Steve Wright or Eddie Izzard -- smart guys,
right? How about the elegant wit of entertainers like Stephen Fry, the physical
expression of Jim Carey, or the bitchy camp
sharpness of gay comedians like Julian Clary?
Comedians are often deep reflective thinkers, whose
minds operate at speed looking for new meanings, new interpretations, new ways to think about things. You too can unleash the powers of your
creative genius by discovering how to be funny, or funnier.
Here are some tips:
1. What's funny about
This is the top question you have to have uppermost in your mind if you want to be funny. What you are looking to do is see the
humor is any situation. Doing that requires core thinking skills such as lateral thinking and what in NLP is called
Asking yourself what is funny about a situation preps your mind to think laterally and reframe situations. You immediately
increase the odds of you noticing something funny and making people laugh. You also make your mind more alert, it starts to move
quicker and become more wily!
Lateral thinking means breaking out of the rut,
moving from the accepted flow of a situation or circumstance, into a completely different alternative. Lateral thinking is about generating
alternatives -- it's about SURPRISE -- and that is creativity isn't it? It's like you are travelling down a pathway and it looks to everyone as
though you are going to go straight ahead. But suddenly you take a sharp right, and then a left and go off in a completely unexpected direction.
When you tell a joke, you lead people in a certain direction and then you throw in the punchline and surprise them.
You are trapped in a room with no windows and a locked door. How do you get
...Go through the holes where the windows used to be!
Reframing is essentially about changing the
context of a situation. You change the frame through which you are viewing something. Example:
First frame: It's a small world...
Second frame: ...but I wouldn't want to have to paint
We've all had those moments when we are complaining about how hard our lives are, and then we see someone on the street or on the
news who is starving or who has been brutally killed and that changes the context of our problems. Suddenly our problems seem so tiny and
insignificant. With a different frame, the world looks different. Comedy exploits this brilliantly:
"I installed a skylight in my apartment.
The people who live above me are
2. A sense of the ridiculous!
Lose your seriousness, your righteousness, your stiffness and stuffiness. Generally if you carry the weight of the world on your
shoulders, you can't laugh, you can't be a fluid quick-thinker. Shrug it off. Notice your tension and shrug it off with an "Oh Well!".
Learn to become a little more Taoist, and go with the flow. Laugh at mistakes and foibles. The alternative is to ham it up,
make your stuffed-shirtness so excessive that you and others can't help but laugh at it!
You can tackle real problems much more creatively if you can laugh at them first. When you are laughing at the enemy, you are
robbing it of power (that's why propagandists encourage comedians to belittle the enemy during wartime). Reframing can help you with
We rarely laugh if we fall over and hit the ground hard... however if we see someone else fall over we are more likely to laugh
(as evidenced by all those Funniest Home Videos TV shows). So one way of reframing, is to see something from a different
perspective. Look at your life from the outside. Honestly, from where I am sitting, you are hilarious!
The ridiculous often involves inflating behavior and characteristics to the extreme. The bigger something gets the funnier it gets
-- as in the case of moviestars' egos!
Use your body to access your sense of the ridiculous. Practice
your Pythonesque silly walks.
Look in the mirror and do some gurning, see what expressions you can come up with.
Changing your physiology (the way you stand, walk, move, gesture
and facial expressions) changes your
mental state. There are certain postures and "looks" that you can adopt that will make you feel funnier, think more sharply and be
3. Fast, furious, funny fencing with words!
Becoming a more adept communicator and learning to love words lets
you play with words. Witticisms are often based
on wordplay. When you see-saw
between meanings, your listeners pass through confusion to sudden understanding and they laugh.
Wit has a certain elegance about
it. It's based on mental quickness and brilliance. Sharp repartee. Think of it like a verbal fencing match, with each opponent
responding to the other.
To speed up your mental agility, you
have to practice increasing your mental processing speed and the speed at which you can generate and express alternatives and
Get a partner and play association games. You say a word, they say a word that connects to the first word. Set a time limit for
the game and a time limit for giving an answer. Try to get going as fast as possible. You can play this game alone but the imput of another
mind is far better. Repartee involves stimulus and response, you need other peoples input and responses to get the funnies
Play games to speed up your verbal dexterity. We are not all born
smooth talkers like Chris Rock, some of us are more like Eeyore the donkey when it comes to talking. Try and speed up your responses though
as speaking faster can make you
seem more intelligent.
Pick a subject, any subject, and talk about it for 1 minute without pausing. Go as fast as you possibly can so that you are almost
tripping over your own tongue. As you get better at this you can start to refine it so that you are talking about whatever is funny
about <your chosen subject> . But to begin with just try to get out as much related info as possible. Practice with a
tape recorder so you can play it back and hear yourself. Feedback stimulates progress.
Listen to great comedy radio like Sorry I Haven't A Clue, it's
good for the soul and will show you rapier sharp minds in action.
Hypnosis download: Razor Sharp Wit!
4. All jokes taste like chicken...
If you're planning on hitting the boards at the local comedy club
you may want to get up to speed at a Comedy University. All jokes
have a basic architecture: a set up and a surprise. Most of us started our joke telling careers with real howlers such as
knock-knock jokes and
When you want to get creative, try writing your own jokes and
funny stories. The art of joke writing is
learned not inbred, so start composing a few of your own and try them out on unwitting victims. Give yourself a set up, eg: Why did the
chicken cross the road? And then brainstorm for alternative answers! Challenge yourself to see how many you can come up with (they don't all
have to make you wet your pants giggling).
Why did the chicken cross the road?
...it was tied to a zebra crossing!
...the road led to a Catholic church!
...it was tired of fowling the sidewalk!
...it was stuck to my nearside tire!
...it was playing chicken with the traffic!
...etc <cue groans, whimpers, cries of despair>
...match yours against the real funny ones here!
5. Keep a joke file
Many comedians don't write their own material. They have joke writers and they buy jokes from around the world, of course they
also read all the joke books they can get their hands on. People who are funny also have a good memory. You need to be able to remember a
joke really well to be able to tell it really well. It's no good if you um and er through your joke. Nothing sucks so much as a poorly told
So learn to improve your memory with experts like Dominic O'Brien or Kevin Trudeau, that way you can easily store a selection of
the best jokes you can find and you can bring them out appropriately when needed.
A chicken and an egg are lying in bed. The chicken is leaning against the headboard smoking a cigarette with a satisfied
smile on its face. The egg, looking a bit ticked off, grabs the sheet, rolls over and says ... Well, I guess we finally answered "THAT
Collecting jokes is also a great way to cue your unconscious mind to be alert for what is funny. It'll think "hey he/she
loves jokes so much, I'll give her a few of my own". And out they'll pop...
Here are some places you can begin collecting jokes and funny stories:
6. Know a little about a lot
Keep abreast of popular culture and current affairs. You can adapt
jokes to current circumstances and they'll seem all the funnier. You need to know about movies, tv shows, politicians, gossip, and sport as you
will be making connections between them. The more things that you know about and can connect up, the more surprising you can be and hence the
funnier you'll be. Even Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci was well known
for telling jokes about famous people and events of the time, pulling pranks and making up funny stories and riddles that others could relate
Developing a polymathic mind will help you be
funny. Well... at least you'll be able to clean up on quiz shows - and then you'll be laughing anyway!
Okay, here's a few more Funny Ha-ha Resources for you:
How to be funny - article
by Justin Becker for AskMen emagazine.
How to be funny - article by
Monks Of Adoration - now that's funny!
How to be
funny like Dave - well Dave thinks he's funny!
The Comic Toolbox: How to Be Funny Even If You're Not
- by John Vordana. This book is highly rated by stand up comedians.
Zen and the Art of Stand Up Comedy - by Jay Sankey. This book was reviewed by a stand up comedian as being "worth its weight in gold". That's gotta be
Now you can go and spread the word. The word is margarine.
You are a genius. Go out and surprise the world.
What did you think? I'd love to hear from YOU! Email me:
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