3 Sure-Fire Ways to Make Your Readers Laugh

December 17, 2008 - Written by Gyutae Park  

This is a guest post from Derek Halpern of Prevential.com. If you like this article, you should subscribe to his feed.

laughEveryone loves to laugh. So, just imagine how successful your blog will be if you can make people laugh on demand. People will jump at the chance to subscribe.

But how can I make people laugh? I’m just not that funny.

Luckily, you can learn how to be funny since making people laugh is a skill. You can develop this skill the same way master comedians like Chris Rock and Dane Cook do it because it is simple. They all use the sure-fire, laughter inducing, joke templates and here I will go through some of them with you.

1. Rule of Three

Raise your hand if you’re familiar with some of Chris Rock’s HBO specials. Do you remember when Chris Rock said, “There are only three things women need in life: food, water, and compliments.” How funny was that?

Well, he used one of the most common joke templates out there. It is the rule of three. If you want to use the rule of three, you start with a statement and then build off that statement with two reasonable responses and one ridiculous response. The ridiculous response acts as the surprise and helps invoke laughter.

2. The Reversal

Now how many of you are familiar with Rodney Dangerfield? One of his favorite joke templates was the role reversal. This is when you make a seemingly innocent statement and conclude it with something unexpected. It can either be a “play on words,” “a ridiculous circumstance,” or just something that contradicts the statement.

Here are some great Rodney Dangerfield jokes that used this template:

  • “I drink too much. The last time I gave a urine sample, it had an olive in it.”
  • “I have good looking kids. Thank goodness my wife cheats on me.”
  • “My uncles dying wish – he wanted me on his lap. He was in the electric chair.”

3. Remixed Cliche

Cliches are old and over used. However, many master comedians reform these cliches and change them into something hilarious.

George Carlin executed this perfectly when he said, “If you can’t beat them, arrange to have them beaten.”

Here are some cliches that you can feel free to remix:

  • “been there, done that.”
  • “beat around the bush”
  • “selling like hotcakes”
  • “avoid like the plague”
  • “its not you its me”
  • “that’s adding insult to injury”
  • “the straw that broke the camel’s back”
  • “pushing the envelope”

The Bottom Line

Humor isn’t for everyone, but once you get someone laughing, you win.

What do you think? Does humor sell? Does humor make people subscribe to blogs? Leave a comment.

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30 Responses to “3 Sure-Fire Ways to Make Your Readers Laugh”

Blog Expert on December 17th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Definitely a great list. The rule of three seems to always work though.

Derek on December 18th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

The rule of three is truly sure-fire. Even if you use it in conversation, people can find you hilarious.

Steven-Sanders on December 17th, 2008

I can picture Rodney Dangerfield saying those lines. LOL 🙂

Mario on December 17th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

I think humor is one way to make people subcribe to blogs because many people love jokes.

Katie Langston on December 17th, 2008

Humor works when it’s funny, but nothing’s more painful than an intended joke gone bad. So just make sure you’re really funny, I guess, before you go there! 🙂

Derek on December 18th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

You’ll never know if you’re funny until you practice. So, even if you’re not funny, you’re better off practicing now than later.

Ned Carey on December 20th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Hey, I know I am funny. . . but looks aren’t everything.

I often wondered if comedians came up with stuff naturally or used formulas to create funny stuff.

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ZK@Internet Marketing Blog on December 17th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Rule number one is so true

Matt Helphrey on December 17th, 2008

I always try to add a bit of humor in my posts. I think it gives a personality to your writings and people can relate better to articles with humor. Nice post

B. Durant on December 17th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Humor can be dangerous if you don’t have the right audience. It’s not hard to be offensive to some, or to self-degrading to others. I use it (in the form of sarcasm) and have pretty decent results but sometimes it will prompt someone to inform me of what a loser I am.

Derek on December 18th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

You know, I love when people say Humor is dangerous. Of course it is. Anything worth doing is dangerous and that is exactly why you should do it.

B. Durant on December 18th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

If it’s not calculated it can be disastrous. Particularly for a small blog that is trying to grow.

Derek on December 18th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

So, you think living scared is the right way to do it? Absolutely not. You need to nail your colors to the flag pole and be prepared to defend it.

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B. Durant on December 19th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Living scared? Where did you get that out of what I said? You wouldn’t say Patton was “living scared” because he was calculated would you? No, you would not.

You determine if the “flag” is worth hanging out before you do it. You don’t just throw it up there and stand defiant in the face of attack. To do that would be the height of ignorance.

Derek on December 20th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

I agree that you need to think about what you do before you do it, but worrying about the “disastrous” outcomes is not how you approach success. Anything worth doing has the potential for disastrous outcomes, but you need to learn from them and take your lumps.

Additionally, a small blog trying to grow… should be pushing themselves to the fringes more so than a large blog. They should be doing anything and everything to get noticed – even if it requires offending 90% of the living population.

However, we may just have to agree to disagree.

Nicole Price on December 18th, 2008

This is fantastic advise. I tend to be too serious. I shall try this formula and see what happens! Thank you.

Gyutae Park on December 18th, 2008

Hey Derek,
Nice post. I normally don’t use humor on my blogs – especially since I focus more on how-to content, but I think it’s a good way to captivate your readers and make them come back for more. How about a few examples? I like that you lay out some of the ways to make people laugh, but why don’t you make us laugh in this post? 😛

Derek on December 18th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Remixed cliche… “its not me, its you”

text on December 18th, 2008

Hmmm….I like to laugh, but most the blogs I visit are for information gathering…..not laughing. Make sure the humor is appropriate for your blog theme.

Derek on December 20th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

You like to read dry and boring technical manuals?

Ben Pei on December 20th, 2008

Lol I know one. You’re so ugly that you don’t need make up to act in Star Wars.

Blog Income Report on December 21st, 2008

Nice tips. I don’t really use comedy in my blog posts but I’d like to branch out a bit and give it a shot. Ouch @ the olive situation 🙂

Cheap Mobile Calls on December 22nd, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

good advice thank you. It’s always great to make someone laugh, keeping people happy is half the battle!

Caleb on December 23rd, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Chris and Rodney are some of best around. Although, I’ve never really been consider a comedian I know these things can be easily learned just like anything else.

Thanx for this post as it surely gives insight into the main things that keep ppl coming back…everybody wants a good laugh especially if its based on truth 😉

Ann Arbor Web Design on December 25th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

This is a great idea, to make people smile! We dont often think to do this; but laughter is a great way to get a point across. And humor is a great way to catch attention and to keep your reader interested as well!

David on December 30th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Honestly, the title of this post made me smile, really the title itself has a humor and pulls the attention toward it.
Other than that you have added great tips and suggestions which I also recommend.


Derek on January 8th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

I’m glad you smiled.

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