Humor does not come easy for me. I rarely find the jokes that people tell as funny. I often don't find standup comedians to be very funny either. As a child, I was very serious. My wife, on the other hand, has always been a comedian. Growing up, she would have her family in stitches with her ability to make people laugh. She has taught me through our more than forty years of marriage that laughter is one of the most powerful instruments of healing that we have at our disposal. These days I look for ways to bring humor into my life.
Whether I am one on one with a person or in a small group of people, I do not tell jokes. As a professional speaker for over 25 years, I did not tell jokes. Yet, there have been moments in my workshops that we laughed so hard that we had tears in our eyes. For me, some of the best humor is what I call spontaneous humor. It is humor that is unplanned and rises out of a comment that one of the participants makes. What I have learned over the years is to play off the comments of others. I have learned to use spontaneous humor to create laughter in the class.
I also think some of the best humor in my personal life is spontaneous humor. We can be sitting around the kitchen table and someone says something that makes us giggle and soon we are laughing so hard that my belly is shaking like a bowl of jello and I can barely catch my breath. I usually don't remember what triggered the laughter, but it feels good and it has shaken up my insides.
Five Ways to Add Laughter To Your Life
- Don't take yourself so seriously. Learn to laugh at your mistakes.
- Find a friend or spouse who makes you laugh.
- Watch and listen to humorous speakers and comedians whom you find funny.
- Read books that make you laugh.
- Look for the absurd situations in your life.
One of the funniest speakers I have ever heard is Jeanne Robertson. Jeanne grew up in Graham, NC and represented the state as Miss North Carolina. She was voted Miss Congeniality in the Miss America Pageant. After college, she coached basketball for nine years before becoming a professional speaker. She stands 6'2" in her stocking feet. For years she told funny stories about the beauty pageant. Today she tells funny stories about growing old. Here is a video of her sharing one of her stories, Don't Bungee Jump Naked.