Solo Episodes Humour

Humour 101 for Public Speaking – 019

Feb 08, 2018

If you want to get better as a speaker, being able to make your audience laugh, will help increase the power of your message, and will set you apart from the crowd.

I’ve been writing and performing comedy for nearly 16 years. I’ve performed all over the UK, including solo shows in Edinburgh. I’m an international playwright, and my comedy drama ‘Dearly Beloved’, published by Lazybee Scripts, has been performed in the UK, Japan, and Canada.

With a long background in business, I also know when and how to use humour appropriately in that environment, and as a Speaker, humour is one of the most important tools I have.

In this week’s episode, I’m sharing the foundations of using humour, so that you can start to experience the power and joy it brings into your public speaking.

What you’ll learn:

  • What makes something funny
  • The THREES formula and the ingredients every joke should have
  • Where to find ideas for material
  • How to create material
  • Where you should use humour in your talks
  • My top three comedy performance tips
  • My Golden Rules of Comedy



Seth Meyers Golden Globe Opening Monologue

Ken Robinson TED Talk

Cracking Speech Mate – How to use humour to make you an amazing speaker

Comedy Writing Exercises: 

Rant and reverse

  • Rant
  • Pick something that winds you up, (it could be related to your speaking topic, or something completely different).
  • Write or rant for five minutes on that subject, make sure you record yourself if you’re talking.
  • If you start to dry up, use these statements to keep going: 
  • It’s not as if…
  • If I were in charge…
  • I’d be lying if I said…
  • The real challenge here is…
  • It would serve them right if…
  • In another universe…
  • Reverse
  • Now talk about the same subject for five minutes as if you thought it was the best thing since sliced bread and all the reasons why.
  • Here are some ideas for statements that will help you with this part: 
  • I get tingly all over thinking about it because…
  • If it didn’t exist then…
  • I love it when…
  • If I were in charge…
  • People who don’t understand should…


Questions are the Answer

  • Take a specific topic
  • Ask questions to start looking at that thing in new ways.
  • How would you describe the thing to an alien – remember they won’t know our language, so you may need to explain a lot. You might find some new things about your topic which are absurd, that could be mined further for a joke.
  • Find an analogy – what are other things this thing could be like in different industries, countries, cultures, professions etc. If you go off at a tangent that’s fine, going down rabbit holes when you’re writing comedy is just the right thing to do.


My Comedy Golden Rules:

  • Jokes must always go from good to bad, or bad to worse
  • Be Specific – the comedy is in the detail
  • Apply attitude to everything you write
  • Write as you talk
  • Leave a beat before you deliver the punchline
  • Don’t talk over the laughter
  • If you are ‘it’ you can talk about ‘it’
  • Use the THREES formula

Thanks for listening!

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