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What Makes Comedians So Funny + Tips to be a Funnier Comedian

What is it that makes comedians so funny?. I wondered: Is it simply the way they tell jokes? Or does it go deeper than that, so I tried to find out.

Note. This article is based on my observations about British comedians that I'm familiar with.

I'm not a comedian, but after conducting my little experiment I think a learned a few things. Eventually, I came to an important conclusion: The art of comedy goes beyond just words! It became clear to me that a comedian, to be funny, must have a number of other attributes that can be far more important than his material -- and that's no joke! His -- or her -- appearance, how they dress and facial expressions must fit the routine, all of which is vital to success.

What makes London Mayor Boris Johnson so funny?   Boris Johnson always makes everyone laugh! Why? Perhaps it's his demeanor, his look, hairstyle or the way he acts? Or, maybe it's just that audiences find it funny that the person often described as a "bumbling idiot" is the same person in charge of London.

A funny smile, smirk, weird facial expression, head and body movements, the walk, the look (eyes) of a comedian are all vital. Every action of every part of the body all contribute to success. Take Lee Evans for example. I never find Evans funny unless I'm watching him because most of his comedy acts are visual. His zany, crazy ways are hilarious, but you have to be watching him to appreciate his humor

On the other hand, someone like Stewart Francis dresses, acts and looks perfectly normal, but his material and delivery is so impeccable he doesn't need to act outrageously the way comedians like Evans does, and you don't have to watch him. 

Visual/Overweight comedians like Jo Brand and Johnny Vegas are often successful because many of their jokes evolve around their weight and how being overweight affects a person's life. It appears that these jokes are funny because comedians are saying what we're all thinking anyway (and undoubtedly we would never even think of being so crude as to say such things ourselves! Comedians like Michael McIntyre {video right} and Sean Lock and Ricky Gervais exhibit the look and the likability factor that enables them to be funny without even telling a joke! They have that smile they can switch on that's very amusing to look at. Comedian Harry Hill has that funny look about him too, yet he still chooses to wear that shirt with the huge collars which, combined with his iconic head nodding movements, all contribute to his success as a comedian.

What sort of jokes should you tell?
If you're naturally funny, you can tell jokes about anything and everything you like. Ethnic comedians, Asian, Iranian, Russian, Jewish or black comedians rarely complete a comedy routine without some ethnic jokes! Why do we laugh when ethnic comedians joke about their ethnicity in a particular way? Visual appearances: Camp comedians. Imagine what your reaction would be if your male heterosexual friend all of a sudden started acting and talking in the manner of a stereotypical gay man. It' very likely you would find his behavior hilarious -- right? I don't know exactly why, but somehow acting in a camp way amuses most people. Straight comedians like Jimmy Carr and David Walliam's occasionally do a gay act knowing their audiences will find them funny. Julian Clary will only tell jokes which relate to homosexual innuendos which he's mastered. Comedian likes to be funny by tripping and falling over regularly.


One comedian's medicine is another comedian's poison. Each comedian develops his own unique style that attracts his own unique audience. There are some jokes that will bring wild laughter for one comedian but fall flat when told by another comedian. It's a matter of style that develops over time through experience. Every comedian learns what works and what doesn't work with an audience. Not all audiences are the same. Good comedians will take the measure of their audience at the start of their routine.

One comedians material is another comedians poison: What I mean is that jokes are personalized to a particular person.

 Can anyone be funny?

To make people laugh, I've found that it's not just what you say -- or even how you say it -- but it's also important who says it. There is a scientific formula so find out what formula works for you.

Not everyone can deliver a joke successfully
. Just like a song, a golf shot, a card trick or a food recipe it takes a lot of practice and talent to stand in front of an audience and get laughs. Anybody can sing, hit a golf ball, perform a simple card trick or come up with a tasty dish, but that's far different from being able to produce a hit song, a hole-in-one, a great escape or a popular recipe. Those comedians who succeed are able to learn what works for them and eventually they find their niche.

Quick thinking on stage obviously helps, especially if you have hecklers in the audience who are funnier than you!

Being a stand-up comedian is unquestionably one of the hardest jobs ever and as always, it's not only what you say, but more importantly, how you say it. Even if your material is poor you can get away it if your facial expressions, hairstyle, dress sense and acting make up for it. So, if you're naturally zany, crazy or maybe a little funny looking, you're half way there! If you're just a normal looking person, you may need to find a way to be funny with just your words.

If you are serious about becoming a successful comedian be prepared to be crucified
if you don't go down well -- and be ready to dust yourself off, resurrect yourself and come back again and again until you've mastered it.

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