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    Communicate Humorously

    This framework is a tool you can freely use to help communicate more humorously. To get started, first notice a series of questions (Framework) followed by color corresponding example answers (Examples). Study the correlation between the color coded questions & answers before using the same questions yourself next time you aim to be more persuasive in your communication. The ultimate goal is to see the commonalities in empathy used to communicate so that you can gradually rely on this tool less and less.


    The Framework

    Use the following questions as a filter through which you can communicate a truth or premise to your audience more effectively.

    In what other context might this look strange? In what other universe would this make sense?
    How can you be oddly specific? or “how does this part represent the whole”?
    Can you double-down on the joke?
    Can you bring your audience up by self-deprecating or drawing positive contrast against yourself?
    Humor = Truth
    “It’s funny because it’s true.”


    Helpful Examples

    “Our bartender, who is also bald, is taking a long time to make our drinks.” → “Do you think Bruce Willis over here forgot our drinks?”
    “Yes, my belly is indeed very large now 9 months into my pregnancy.” → “Actually, we gave birth 3 weeks ago. I’m just still eating for the both of us. No, seriously, have you even tried Carol’s cheesecake?

    What is humor?

    Something is humorous when we recognize a truth even under creative and sometimes wacky context. To laugh with someone is to agree with another person’s truth on a very fundamental level. That is, we agree with someone else’s world view. When someone is laughing at your humor they are sub-communicating to you: “I understand what you are saying, even under this obscured context.” I like to think about laughter from an (amateur) evolutionary perspective. Similar to proposed theories that our contagious yawning is an evolved trait helped give tribes a ‘jolt’ of alertness to danger as they were getting sleepy, it’s possible that laughter might have similar pro-social roots. It may makes sense that laughter, which releases the pleasure hormone endorphins and the positive-feedback hormone dopamine (think “deep, pleasurable feedback for pattern recognition”), may have started as a simple biological reward for abstract pattern recognition but may have been propelled greatly by early communication in pro-social animals. From an evolutionary perspective, it may have been profoundly advantageous to recognize another member species’s “world view” even under difficult, abstract early communication.


    Recommended Videos

    What Makes Things Funny

    Peter McGraw

    How Louis CK Gets Laughs

    Charlie Houpert

    Talking Funny

    Ricky Gervais, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Louis C.K. (Recommended: 14m:12s – 15m:11s “It’s not working because the audience does not understand the premise” – Chris Rock)