Unable to understand the crucial part



  • Friday 23rd August 2013, 8:57pm [Edited]
  • Denmark
  • 5 posts

Lately I've come to realization that laughter is something that brings everyone together. It's a good opener to a conversation, it's good to create a bond - it's practicly a legal drug.

Thus I've decided to "become" more of a person with a good sence of humour.

I was and still am prepared to read anything, and practice. So I decided I'd find a typical pay-to-view Ebook. Those usually have good information.

I found this one "How to be funny by Stanley Lyndon". I have nothing to lose. I found a free pdf version (dont judge me).

As I was reading through it I was understand more and more. When the time came to the crucial part "Humor Generation Technique" I didnt understand.


Now, let us look at how humour is built in a slightly more advanced

Most humour is based on fear and pain.
- Kelly

Kelly, as always, is entirely right. Any human experience, no matter
its importance or not, can be made funny, if its truth and pain can be
made readily identifiable to others.

Choose any situation. Now, think what the truth and pain of the
situation is. This will become the theme of your humour.

This. The last part "Now, think what the truth and pain of the situation is. This will become the theme of your humour".

I do not understand, AT ALL, what he means. I need someone to give me an explanantion and if whoever is generous enough: Give an example or two.

If I do not understand this I'm not able to use the technique.

This is why:

QUOTE ( I urge you to read it. Maybe it's useful for yourself aswell? )

"Chapter 5: Humor Generation Technique

Simple Steps

Level One: Find the Negative Movement

First of all, find things that are wrong about your topic or situation.
And, just be negative about it. They could be:
· Negative thoughts
· Negative feelings
· Negative reactions
· Negative attitudes
· Negative values
· Negative beliefs

Level Two: Lateral Associations

Now, think about anything and everything that is associated with
your situation. Write them down.
This initial list might present the two ideas you need to create that
joke. These are the two related ideas that you will link together to
create your gag.

Level Three: Guided Association List
To make your work easier, try to think of getting things related to
your topic or situation under the following headings:
· Locations · Humans
· Things
· Events
· Phrases or Clichés

Try and get at least ten items related to the topic under each
heading. The more ideas you generate, the greater the quantity and
quality of your humour. Creating humour is all about thinking laterally.

Level Four: Smaller Negatives

The next step is to pick a less important aspect of the situation from
your lists and attach a negative to it (level 1). Again it can be any
sort of negative.
· Negative thoughts
· Negative feelings
· Negative reactions
· Negative attitudes
· Negative values
· Negative beliefs
Now, you must be seeing what we are starting to do here. We are
going to create loads of setups from this one situation to allow us to
create lots of jokes about this one situation.

Level Five: The Setup Generator
Now, creating a setup is very easy. Just create the opposite opinion of
the statement you created in level 4. If the statement you created in level 4 was:

'My wife is very bad at cooking'
Then the setup generator would be:
'My wife is great at cooking'
You see, we are setting the negative movement for the humour
upfront. This is the key.

Level Six: Generate setups from the setup generator

Now, from the setup generator, you can generate lots of setups. This
will allow you to create a whole pattern about the situation or topic
you chose. If the setup generator was:

'My wife is great at cooking'

Then we could create the following setups:
1. My wife never burns food
2. I will never leave my wife because she is such a great cook
3. My wife has won awards for her cooking
4. I love my wife because of her cooking skills
5. Every meal with my wife is a real pleasure

Note: Most comedy at its barest is just a combination of two ideas.
But it is the relationship of these ideas that creates the humour.
The ideas in this relationship can be:
· Very similar
· Opposite
· Can appear different but not be
· And vice versa Mental Flowchart of Creating Humor

The mental course in creating humour can be broken down into two
main parts:

· You begin with one idea.
· You then compare it with other ideas for a humourous connection
(using the techniques).

Obviously, the more ideas you create in the second part, the greater
your chance of creating more and better gags.
Scanning ideas in an efficient comprehensive manner is the
foundation of creating humour. So you normally start with what you want to say, and then use the 'scanning process' to find the second idea to generate that spark of humour.

That is it. You have just learned all the basic aspects of creating good
humour. Now, you have to start practicing these techniques. The more
you practice, the better you will get at creating good humour. But
unlike learning a lot of other skills, this can be very interesting and
will provide you with lots of fun doing the same. As you go on, you
will be amazed at the number of associations you will make and the
speed at which your lateral thinking ability will develop. So, start
NOW! Start making fun of anything and everything you see! And,

As you may see, I need to understand "Now, think what the truth and pain of the situation is. This will become the theme of your humour" to be able to go through those steps.


Getting a better sence of humour (I'm not without humour of course - I just don't seem to be consistent) would be a game changer for my confidence, my feel-good-about-myself-factor - my life.

I aim to become more spontaneously funny. Adding an addtional comment that would make someone smile/laugh. Let me put it in perspective.

The program QI. My favourite. I get inspired and therefore aim for: Their funny random comments during an question, which would make the whole audience laugh.

Thank you for reading.

NOTE: Here is some text that came after the part I didnt understand.

"Now, I am going to reveal the biggest secret of humour. It is a simple
fact. It is that humour always flows in one and only one direction. The
direction is negative, and negative always.

This is the biggest secret behind creating humour. But, note that
though the direction is always one and the same, it can jump in
different leaps. That is, it can jump completely from good to bad in
one movement or it can go from good to worst in varying degrees.

The following is a good example of one going from bad to worse:
"All men are idiots, and I married their king."

Now, shall we see how this example is derived?

What the speaker actually wants to say is, "I married an idiot." But, now, this isn't funny, at all. But, when you put in the way as
given above, it becomes funny all of a sudden.

By now, you'll probably understand pretty well why this happens. So, let us go
about learning how to make simple statements like these into
humourous ones. (and then Chapter 5: Humour Generation Technique begins)



  • Friday 23rd August 2013, 9:04pm
  • Denmark
  • 5 posts
Quote: sootyj @ August 23 2013, 8:59 PM BST


Hello, sir.

Care to assist me?

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A Horseradish

  • Friday 23rd August 2013, 9:15pm [Edited]
  • United Kingdom
  • 7,635 posts
Quote: Shad @ August 23 2013, 8:57 PM BST

humour always flows in one and only one direction. The
direction is negative, and negative always.

Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life?



  • Friday 23rd August 2013, 9:16pm
  • Denmark
  • 5 posts
Quote: Horseradish @ August 23 2013, 9:15 PM BST

Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life?

Dont worry about that. I try my best to stay positive.

However humour wise I agree. The more negative it gets (more and more unlucky as an example) it tends to get funnier.

Try noticing that when you seem to stumble upon something that makes you giggle.

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A Horseradish

  • Friday 23rd August 2013, 9:18pm [Edited]
  • United Kingdom
  • 7,635 posts
Quote: Shad @ August 23 2013, 9:16 PM BST

Dont worry about that. I try my best to stay positive.

However humour wise I agree. The more negative it gets (more and more unlucky as an example) it tends to get funnier.

Try noticing that when you seem to stumble upon something that makes you giggle.

Well, no. I was thinking of exceptions to his rules.

That was one.

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A Horseradish

  • Friday 23rd August 2013, 9:53pm [Edited]
  • United Kingdom
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Quote: Tim Azure @ August 23 2013, 9:36 PM BST

Reading this thread, I'm wondering if I will ever laugh again...

Exactly. I'm not going into this one deeply.

But some humour emerges out of the negative. It isn't always a gravitational pull towards the negative. Old vehicles can be far more frustrating than new ones but owners of the former often have the best stories.

Irrationality is important. Counter-intuitive reactions enable developments to occur that are the opposite of those anticipated. Overreaction can lead to an extreme chaotic craziness. There's comic tension in both.

By contrast, I think that power is rarely funny although it can be spiteful. In reverse, the denting of it works - ie HIGNFY or even B'stard - but only where the situation isn't so grave as to be personally meaningful.



  • Saturday 24th August 2013, 12:48am
  • Canada
  • 122 posts

I'm laughing at my own pain, which makes me feel good... but then bad :(

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A Horseradish

  • Saturday 24th August 2013, 4:10am [Edited]
  • United Kingdom
  • 7,635 posts
Quote: BenS @ August 24 2013, 12:48 AM BST

I'm laughing at my own pain, which makes me feel good... but then bad :(

Laughing at or laughing with?

Often uncomfortable situations are shared. I've had a lot of laughs with people standing in torrential rain watching bands. The humour is in the mutual irrationality. Even as an individual, alone, there can be humour in the daft things one does. That is "with" rather than "at" too unless infallibility is considered essential.



  • Saturday 24th August 2013, 5:44am
  • England
  • 51,287 posts

Are you trying to understand how humps works?

This book does not seem a great guide.

Are you trying to understand how humps works?

This book does not seem a great guide.



  • Saturday 24th August 2013, 6:52am
  • Australia
  • 5,437 posts
Quote: Shad @ August 23 2013, 8:57 PM BST

I found this one "How to be funny by Stanley Lyndon" ...

Getting a better sence of humour would be a game changer for my confidence, my feel-good-about-myself-factor - my life.

Chuck away the "how to be funny" instructional books and instead read some Wodehouse and anything by Groucho Marx.



  • Saturday 24th August 2013, 10:17am
  • England
  • 51,287 posts

Here's a blog I wrote on writing jokes for a bestmans speech, I think the answers maybe simpler.

Jokes for Best Man Speech: The Toolkit
Leave a reply
toolkit for comedy and joke creation for best man jokes
Use the right tools from your comedy toolkit and make the whole room cry with laughter

So now you know what to put in your speech, let's write some jokes for your best man speech to add some much needed spice to the curry of mixed metaphors that is the modern wedding. How do you make a joke? With your tool kit of course. Didn't think joke writers had a tool kit? Well think again. A plumber may have a van packed full of spanners and lengths of pipe, a window cleaner has a bucket and series of enormous ladders. And the comedy speech writer has a paper, pen and the contents of his head. So unless you have an enormous head your tool kit is relatively easy to carry around. And if you have a comically enormous head then you've got one laugh already.

Making jokes is about taking the ideas gathered in your time knowing the groom and applying structures to them to make them funny when delivering your speech at the wedding. A kind of refining process; as the great sculptor Sir Henry Moore answered when asked how he made a statue of Labour leader Bevin:

"I removed everything that wasn't Bevin from the stone."

Comic Tool No. 1: Clash of Context

This isn't the description of the happy couple's first falling out. Rather it's one of the most basic tools for writing a joke and this is how it works.

- Taking an existing normative situation that people can understand and once they're comfortable with it throwing them a curve-ball.

Put an incongruous element in that shouldn't be there. For example;

"Brian's so absent minded he doesn't notice anything. He can't find anything! Just the other day he lost his keys. So he was looking in the bedroom. Were the keys in the new cupboard? Under the new plant pot? Eventually he just said "Derek when you've finished sh@gging my fiancee could you tell me where my keys are?" Silly prat - they were on his belt."

So think through a situation and add something that seems entirely wrong and incongruous. Such as; the violent pacifist or the atheist vicar both of whom you'll meet after delivering your speech.

"Oh Lord who I doubt is in heaven."

The really important thing is the audience spots the incongruity and you don't tell them about it. As you will see throughout this article, that leap of intuition is where most of the humour lies. It's that moment of going "Oh! that's what's wrong". That, my friend, is where the humour lies.

That's pretty much it. Next we'll learn how all good things (and jokes!) come in threes and how to exaggerate the best man wedding speech.

Comic Tool No. 2 'The Rule of Three'

Three is a magic number. Divinities come in 3's - The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. In Hinduism it's Brahma the creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the destroyer. People say deaths always come in 3's and running 'gags' definitely do. Even with serious matters it's always three. Martin Luther King actually had 3 dreams in that famous speech. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. It's always 3. If you need to say how fat someone was, how ugly or how cheap, always write 3 'gags' about it. Try it out when you buddy up; 2 isn't quite there and 4 is overkill. Three is the magic number.

As a comedy writing tool 'The Rule of Three' is a relative of the 'Clash of Context' in that it relies on absurdity. Here is the basic structure to create jokes for your best man speech:

E.g.: He was tall, dark and hunchbacked.

We introduce the subject matter, we confirm the subject matter and then we screw around with it. That's obviously the violation.

Here is a list of Rule of Three examples:

Discreet, careful and dead
Pious, faithful, and loved altar boys
He was strong, silent, and dressed as a bat
The politician smiled, kissed a baby and nuked a small African nation.
What we see is that the more absurd the better. The more shock value the better.

- "Brian had a lot of work to keep a long distance relationship working with Jen. You have to do so many things to keep it going...phone sex...raunchy emails...sending your j@zz back in the mail"

Let's practice the Rule of Three for a bit. Take the first association that springs to mind, build on that to confirm what you seem to be telling the audience, then stretch that truth until it takes them by surprise. For example:

Nurse- The nurse was gentle, caring, and addicted to prescription drugs. (TV show - Nurse Jackie)

Comic Tool No 3: 'The Reverse'

The reverse is as it sounds. It is where you juxtapose two key elements in a situation.

e.g. The hotel I stayed in was so cheap - they stole my towel.

Now think of some situations and reverse them. Just try some at random to get yourself started; perhaps pick a word off one of your earlier lists. Once you've gone through a few, start trying to make them funny. Remember the trick here is to make as big a change as possible, don't be subtle.

Comic Tool No 4: Hyper-Exaggeration

This is absolutely the easiest thing to do in comedy:

You're an idiot if you don't get it; you're so stupid you couldn't get into a clown academy for the educationally subnormal.
You couldn't get in on 'give an idiot a place at college' day and you're the only idiot applying.
If you don't get this you're so thick you've got 'don't eat sausage' tattooed on your penis and even then you're so stupid you can't read it and you probably think you're a girl.
I mean you're so colossally stupid you got lost in a phone booth.
You see what I did there? If you think it's hard to do, wait till the next time you see a cop ticket your car, or you step in some dog mess and you can see the sh*t machine that dropped it. Then you'll get it.

If you can't be right - be loud. The more irrational, the more excessive, the better the exaggeration, the bigger the laugh; if you want to see a master class in this, then try watching Blackadder or Red Dwarf.

E.g.: I was arrested by a policeman who was so dense...light bent around him.

This is an example of taking a regular description of the groom and expanding it.

Brian is brave.

Brian is as brave as a lion.

Brian is so brave that when he got pissed on a Saturday night he'd turned up at the zoo, jumped the fence on the lion enclosure, kicked the biggest lion up the bum and yelled:

"Come on then I'll take you on, you and your whole pride!"


Brian is mean.

Brian is so mean he made Jen watch DVDs instead of going to the cinema.

Brian was so mean Jen said can we see the Dark Knight? So he turned the lights off.

Comedy Skills

So now we've got the tools done. Let's work on the skills to use. You can have the greatest tools in the world but if you lack the skills you'll end up shaving with the lawn mower.

Make your jokes work harder than you do.

Now there are three things that will kill any joke stone dead and they are; over-explanation, lack of clarity, and over-lengthiness. To explain let me introduce you to one of the world's oldest jokes.

"My dog has no nose. How does he smell? Disgusting!"

Nice and simple joke based on the double meaning of the word smell.

Now let's look at these versions.

1 Lack of Clarity

"I have this dog, his name is Terence, any way he's got 3 legs and bad breath and he smells and he's got no nose. How does he smell? I said he smells terrible."

As you can see you can't see anywhere to focus in this joke what's significant; the smell, the 3 legs, the name?

2 Over-lengthiness

"So I adopted this dog; because chicks dig guys with dogs and I wanted a companion. But what kind of dog? A Rottweiler or a Chihuahua or a Portuguese water dog..."

Do I really need to explain this? At great length?

3 Over-explanation.

"So I bought this dog that smells terrible and he also had no nose. Remember that because it's important for the next part of the joke. Where my friend asks about how he smells and I pretend not to know the difference between the two meanings of the word smell."

A good joke is rather like kicking heavy weight boxers in the goolies You need to get in, make an impact and get out really fast.

Brian had a lot of trouble picking up Jen, have you seen the size of her?

So there you go, wasn't so hard was it? Take pride in your new comedy tool kit. But be careful when using them in your best man speech at the wedding. Otherwise the punch line may end up on the end of your nose.



  • Saturday 24th August 2013, 12:17pm
  • Denmark
  • 5 posts

Thanks for the replies.

So I'm getting the impression this book isn't going to help me. Fair enough.

So I'll have to ask you guys to help me find a book, video - whatever - to help my humour.

What I believe you guys missed is that I don't aim to become a COMEDIAN, rather a average guy with a good sence of humour to either break the ice or maybe have a momentum of funny says (not necessariliy) but a in-the-moment joke (of what's currently going on).

In perspective, as I said in the end of my first post, like the QI people that always have something funny to say, always have something funny follow up or even a funny comeback.

Hope you understand.



  • Saturday 24th August 2013, 12:46pm
  • England
  • 51,287 posts

Well my blog was written for none comics

If you want to be funny its like any other skill, practise and watch others with experience

Have a go at the worst idea threads

Write some jokes

Enjoy yoyrself



  • Saturday 24th August 2013, 1:09pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 69,201 posts

You can't really learn to have a sense of humour, can you? You already have one. There must be things you find funny?