What I learned about how to generate more chuckles from a tickle in my throat.
We have a tendency to conclude that our joke wasn’t hilarious when the audience doesn’t laugh. This isn’t always the case. To begin with, I seldom ever laugh aloud when I hear something amusing. Some people don’t. Second, not everyone laughs at the same kinds of jokes. What makes me laugh does not make my hubby laugh. It simply so happens that way. It’s okay if some people didn’t find your joke amusing. The fact that you didn’t give us a chance to laugh is another reason why you could not have received the chuckle. I’m so at fault for this.
Years ago, I would deliver the humorous line in my speeches or performances, expecting that the audience would laugh, and then move on to the following one. Since my audience is always a beat or two behind me, I eventually learned to slow down, enjoy the silences between the lines, ride the wave of laughter, and allow them enough time to understand and enjoy the joke. I felt like I was doing fairly well. However, a tickling in my throat lately made me realize I could be much funnier.
I recently got a tickling in my throat from a program that wouldn’t go away. I had to speak my line, pause, cough a little, and perhaps take another sip of water before continuing. I was timed that water sip to come as they were laughing because I knew I was about to receive a laugh. Because of this slight tickle, I was delaying the joke’s following line longer than normal. And an incredible thing took place. I laughed once, coughed, drank some water, drank some more, and then, all of a sudden, I laughed AGAIN. ALL THE TIME. Were they making fun of my water consumption? No. I was giving them ample time to catch up, so they were giggling. The people who laughed right away were quicker to get the humor, but more others joined in during the second round of laughter.
When comedians warn you not to walk on your laugh, they really mean it. I assumed I already knew that. Just not ENOUGH time, I was giving them.
You are teaching your audience to remain silent if you don’t give them enough time to hear you, think about what you’re saying, and then appreciate the joke you just told. Because people want to hear what you have to say next, they won’t laugh. You are essentially educating your audience not to laugh at your jokes by speaking for an extended period of time.
Yes, it is uncomfortable to have to wait long enough to cough, have a few sips of water, and breathe. However, your audience requires it. So why not pretend to be tickled the next time you have some humorous lines to say? Why not make yourself do something more laborious while you’re laughing? You might realize, like I did, that you are funnier than you realize.
And don’t worry if you don’t get the laugh. You are not compensated to tell a joke every 10 seconds unless you are a standup comedian. You are compensated for your speech. Yes, you are obligated to deliver on that if you are selling humor as a component of your brand. However, it still isn’t the same as being in a comedy club.
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