Walking embarrassment Evan Jacobs tells you everything you need to know to alienate friends and irritate people.
How to be funny? There is no one less qualified to give out this information. I am not funny. I am crass, rude, and a complete jackass. More often than not, when I’m trying to get someone to laugh, I usually succeed only in getting that person to hate me. You might say there is a thin line between finding something funny and finding something offensive, and to that I say I hope you get herpes.
I am a stand-up comedian, and not a successful one. In fact, I’d say I’m less successful than most. Whether this is due to my lack of talent or lack of work ethic is anyone’s guess, but most likely, it’s a combination of the two. I suck at stand-up and I suck at trying not to suck. So for advice on humor you should really go somewhere else. Start with a book about the Rwandan genocide. Even that would be funnier than I am.
Still reading? I feel sorry for you. All right, here’s how to be funny.
1. Shock humor. Farts. I’m serious. The more you fart, the more I laugh. This is for various reasons, and it hints at a larger issue: why do people think farts are funny? Because it’s bathroom humor. What is bathroom humor? It’s really not humor, it’s the true shit we do in the bathroom. It’s an accurate description of bodily functions, and we laugh only because it’s taboo. We aren’t supposed to talk about the things that go on in the bathroom, so things like poop and hemorrhoids are exciting and dangerous and make us nervous, so we laugh.
But taboo topics aren’t limited to poop. Here’s a list of stuff that’s too “serious” to make light of:
- Video compilations of men ejaculating on things
- Anal leakage
- Your dad
- Female ejaculation
- Greg Louganis
- JonBenét Ramsey
- The ladies
- Cancerbortion (Aborting a cancerous baby, or having cancer while having an abortion)
- Sex addiction
- That wacky Challenger space shuttle
- The Pope
- The miracle of birth
- The miracle of SIDS
- Child prodigies who also own guns
- Huffing keyboard cleaner
- Anal prolapse
- Death of your parents
- Testicular torsion
- Video compilations of the Pope ejaculating on things
2. Slapstick. Get seriously injured. Nothing makes me laugh harder than watching a middle-aged woman take a dive on some black ice. Why? Because it’s not me. The more you can hurt yourself in front of me the more joy I will experience. In fact, you should smash your face into your keyboard right now. I know I can’t see you, but just do it.
3. Absurdity. Say random shit. Like, if you’re the best man at a wedding, and you have to give a toast, start talking about something weird and off the wall. For instance, something I would say: “I met the groom nearly 5,000 years ago when I was mummifying him. Few people know he was an Egyptian pharaoh. I know this, but I guess that’s why I’m his best man. The weird thing is that when I went to remove his brain, the only thing I found in his head was granny-porn DVDs. I asked him about this, and he told me that granny porn was the only thing one needed to make it to the afterlife. Not amphorae. Not cats. Not gold and jewels. Granny porn. Good old ancient-Egyptian granny porn.”
4. Anger. Kill a whole bunch of people. Sure, this isn’t that funny, but people love seeing other people get angry. This is closely related to the schadenfreude of slapstick, but slightly different, because we laugh both at the source of the anger as much as the object of the anger. This works even better if the object of the anger is an 8-year-old child. Try it, it works. The next time you see an 8-year-old, take him aside, look him in the eyes, and say, “Get hit by a bus, you shit-eating ballsucker.” Make sure you have a firm grip on his neck as you say this. Then, obviously, kidnap him and raise him as a girl.
Listen, I know the point here may be nebulous, but all I am saying is that there aren’t enough people yelling at kids.
5. Wordplay. Make puns, like a jerk. Everyone groans at a pun, because of the stimulation of their pun receptors. Puns are easy to make. Here, I’ll make one right now. (At this point in this article, you should pause and stare at the screen for a good four minutes, because that’s what I did.) I can’t do it. I must not be funny. If I could write a pun at will, I would be the world’s greatest pun star. I could go to pun shops, give 21-pun salutes, write upside-down with my space pun, and keep my room like a pig pun. It would be punderful. I would be the king of the puniverse. Unfortunately, I suck at puns.
6. Satire. I don’t know what satire is.
7. Impressions. Say shit in a funny voice. People love it. Especially if that funny voice sounds like the funny voice of a celebrity. Check this out. “Hey, I’m Christopher Walken.” Eerie, right? I can do another one. “Hey, I’m Slobodan Milosevic.” Wow, if I do that one in the wrong place, people are going to think I am Slobodan.
8. Social dysfunction. Be depressed. Tell me about it. Embarrass yourself. Tell me about it. Say terrible things at terrible times, then tell me about it. Rampant social ineptness is funny to me and others because most of us are not socially inept. In this way, we can marvel at what we would be like if we didn’t know how to talk to people or had no sense of tact. Then you can laugh at that person because they aren’t you. “Haha, look at that jackass, writing stupid articles for the Internet and not being able to land an attractive date to save his life. I can’t even talk to this jerk he’s so weird. I wish he would just leave everyone alone, but then again, having him around makes me feel so much better about myself. Oh, he has man boobs too. Man boobs.” See? Who would want to be that loser?
9. Miscellaneous. Have sex with me. Seriously. Again, this isn’t obviously hilarious, but when I remove my pants, you will surely get the joke. I’m kidding! But seriously, you should have sex with me. I mean, you might not understand now why this is important to being funny, but you will after we have sex. And if you still don’t, I don’t really give a fuck. This will be continued in my series of essays about dating. For now, you should just close down your computer (after clicking on all the ads on this site), find out where I live (Astoria, Queens), find out what I enjoy sexually (anything and anal), and do your best (please, I’m so lonely).
It’s that simple. If you follow these nine rules (especially the ninth one) you will be funny and people will love you for it. More likely, people will be annoyed by you, resent you, and not want to hang out with you. That’s what happened to me and most other comedians I know. But don’t listen to them. Keep making jokes. Never stop. No matter what is going on or how serious the situation is, joke about it. You’ll quickly find you’re constructing jokes as if it were an innate talent. And that’s nothing to joke about. Oh, wait, it is.
More stories by Evan Jacobs:
—Photo courtesy of the author
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