Tell a Joke Tips

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Ti-Ti-Timing is Crucial

The timing of a joke can either make or break the joke. You need to pause before you deliver the punchline.
Too short a pause and you don't allow the necessary beat for the audience to be set up. Too long a pause and you can drive a bus through and kill the atmosphere.
Okay, so now you're asking, well how much time? It's like this..with practice you will know. It's like when you're pregnant and you ask the doctor, "How will I know when the baby is ready to come out." He just smiles and says, "Believe me, you'll know."
All you need is a few times bombing on stage and you will get that timing concept down pretty darn quick.
As a quick exercise, listen to the rhythm in the jokes of your favorite comedians. They each have their own timing...but it works for their style of delivery and there is a pattern. Tell jokes and experiment with the timing to see how it changes the laughter. Trust your instincts. You will soon develop your own natural timing.


Rule of Three

When telling a joke, comics remember the "rule of three:"
1) Never do more than 3 jokes on a subject.
2) Stick to 3 actions, 3 lists or 3 times in a joke.
3) The punchline is the 3rd item on the list.

So here's an example from an old joke:
Trick or treating is very lucrative in Beverly Hills. (Setup)
Last year my kid got 6 apples (item #1)
4 pieces of candy (item #2) and
2 points on the next Spielberg movie. (Punchline, item #3).

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Linda Handiak