Humour, Seriously — Naomi & Jennifer
If there’s one superpower in possession of sapiens seldom used strategically, it is humour. This gap is filled by ‘Humor, Seriously’ adequately. It builds on the need, anatomy and successful application of humour to lead more productive, happier and satisfying lives, both personally and professionally.
A cheat sheet blueprint of everything Humor Seriously is:
There are two basic principles at work for anything humorous: 1) It comes from a place of truth, and 2) It has a surprise element/misdirection as its punch line.
One can use a bevvy of sources to mine humour, and one’s own life is a goldmine at it. Facets like 1) Incongruity in one’s life in terms of how one behaves vs how others do, 2) incongruity in an aspect of one’s life in a given period, 3) one’s personality, quirks, peculiarities, qualities, predilections, 4) assumptions others make about oneself — This part can be found out by asking someone to fill up the following sentence for you: If I’m being honest, you seem like the kind of person who ___. (this will reveal various assumptions others make of you, to you) 5) incongruity in politics, happenings in the world. 6) A silver bullet for times you go blank — If aliens suddenly landed on Earth, what would they find objectively illogical?
Incongruities, in a sense, are life’s little misdirections and a splendid source of humorous content.
While mining your own life for content, consider the following viewpoints — 1) What makes me happier than it objectively should? 2) What frustrates me more than it seems to frustrate other people? 3)What do I absolutely loathe for no good reason? Get to know what do you love? What do you hate? Build upon it funnily.
Notice what you think: This is your personal take on things. Think about things that make you say I will never understand why ___ is the norm
Notice what hurts or makes you cringe. Articulate it with exaggeration and make sure you have adequate experience and relatability factor backing you up lest this be taken as an offence by your audience.
Notice what makes you smile: Always be 1) on the lookout for things that make you smile and 2) share them with others.
These were the goldmines for humorous content present in your own backyard. Now comes the million-dollar question — How does one implement any of these?
How does one form funny? Exaggerate: The content you deliver. 2) Create contrast: Similar to incongruities, create a contrast between your content and punch line (the latter part of the piece) 3) Use specifics: These create an impact generic never can. 4) Make analogies: In what something is and what you compare it with. 5) Rule of three: State two things relevant to the topic, serious, and the third thing out of whack. This creates a humorous effect.
This is all about how to deliver funny. However, humour seldom gets a chance for preparation and is more often than not a spontaneous activity.
So, Part 3: How to be Spontaneously Funny?
1)Have your Signature stories: The ones who never miss a laugh. Always have them but do not tire the ears of the same people ad infinitum. 2) Use call-backs: Moments of shared laughter are humour’s gold. Mention these moments tangentially, in a playful manner in the subsequent communication with the same individual. 3) Notice the here and now: Live in the present moment, which, if you do, presents enough and more content already.
Being spontaneous is alright, but how does one deliver it to have the most impact?
Part 4: Delivering the funny
There are six steps for it: 1) Pause: before the punch line. 2) Act it out: to make it dramatic. 3) Dial-up the drama: exaggeration. 4) Repeat funny lines. 5) Land with confidence: all your content.
So that was it for the anatomy of humour: content source, content formation, content improv and content delivery.
A few miscellaneous strategies covered in the book are 1) impact PS has on one’s mail. Make sure to include it and even make it funny as PS is the first thing read by 9 of 10 people. 2) Email signoffs do not have to be mundane. Make them interesting and funny. 3) Brainstorming bad ideas: This is brilliant. When in groups, do not start with defining the plan as ‘brainstorming legendary/good ideas’ but the about-face of it — brainstorming bad ideas and experience an increase in productivity.
This was Humor, Seriously, a phenomenal read for anyone looking to bestow themselves with a little levity, humour and comedy in their lives.