Avoiding Awkward SituationsAnything for LaughsEliza Hurwitz

I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve had a lot of instances where I’m talking with a group of people and we’re all joking and then I attempt to chime in but my joke falls flat. I used to get upset. My face would turn red and I would feel irrationally angry towards everyone in the conversation, and worst of all, I would begin to doubt myself, as well as my joke-telling abilities. But not anymore. All you need is perseverance and a touch of violence and you’ll have your friends laughing in no time. Here, then, are my tips.

Beat a Dead Horse:

Although the cliché instructs you to not to beat a dead horse, in the case of a joke, it is imperative that you do the opposite. Do not let up on that joke until someone laughs.  Think of yourself as a horse. A live horse, running the Kentucky Derby, and man, are you tired. You need persistence if you want to win/get a laugh. To add some more pressure to this situation, imagine Jillian Michaels is on your back, digging her heels into you. Now you can’t quit. If people seem to get annoyed as you keep pushing for that laugh, just remember that annoyance is an emotion that brings you closer to the finish line of laughter.

Beat Someone Up:

Normally I don’t condone violence, but here, I believe it’s completely valid and often necessary. Now, you don’t need to physically assault someone, you should be able to convey your aggression through a glare that artfully conveys a sense of pride along with righteous anger. You want people to know that despite the fact that they are not laughing, you are still confident in your joke, but you are also incredibly mad and they have reason to be very afraid. This complex mixed emotion is best conveyed through one squinted, angry looking eye, and one eye that is more smiley/confident. Your mouth should ideally be half scowling and half smirking. It is hard to get this glare right, but can definitely be mastered through hours of practice in front of a mirror or plastic surgery.

Now, you don’t want to scare all your friends into laughter. So, I recommend that you choose one person in the group (the weakest, most docile – think of a wolf selecting the smallest lamb) to attack. Threaten that person before you go out. Tell them that they are to laugh at your jokes or else and insert the glare discussed in the paragraph above. Your wrath will spark terrified obligatory laughter and that laughter will create legitimate group laughter. Therefore, the end result will be “Wow, (insert your name here) is really on today,” instead of, “Wow, (Your name) is really angry. I’m scared.” If you find yourself constantly glaring after a joke, perhaps it’s time to rethink your sense of humor or get a new group of friends that get your jokes.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up:

Remember: one bad joke does not define you, so try not to get too discouraged. Just move on and attempt again when the scars have healed and the time is right. Telling a joke is risky. It requires you to take a chance. But, the laughter you receive makes it worth the risk, and if you don’t get any laughter, well, now you know what to do.

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  1. Haha great article! I tend to use the “making fun of how bad my first joke was” joke. As in going into old-timey sportscaster voice and saying, “Annnd it’s a swing and a miss folks! Better luck next time, Gilbert!” I think it makes everyone around me just feel MORE awkward, but by now I’m laughing at myself so who cares? :) The important thing is to just keep on jokin’.

  2. I already feel like a winner.