Keys to telling jokes

Keys to telling jokes

by Dan Gascon

The classic art of telling a joke is as old as the spoken word. Like music, it is a universal language. Jokes can be a very powerful force because by nature, they are two-sided. Jokes can bond or separate, heal or destroy, and be a vehicle for love or hatred. You must be aware. One can never say, It’s just a joke. There is always a meaning behind any jest, and by telling it or participating in it, you are choosing to endorse whatever that joke is representing. There are four things you need to understand in order to successfully tell or participate in any joke.

The 4 Keys to Telling Jokes

1. Know your audience.

Literally look and make a check of exactly who you are among. What’s their age, background, beliefs and likely personal tastes?

2. Know what is appropriate.

What is acceptable in content, language and situation in order not to be offensive. Again, know your audience.

3. Know when to proceed.

Picking the right moment or timing can make or break it. It comes easy with observation, self-trust and practice.

4. Accept that sometimes the joke isn’t told well.

Everyone has experienced nerves, memory loss, or used bad judgement to botch, blow or ruin a joke. It’s easy to recover; laugh it off by laughing at yourself; tell another one; if necessary, apologize; be calm and wait for another day. Be sure to laugh generously at other’s honest attempts.

To use your sense of humor effectively, and be the most universally accepted when telling a joke, make sure the comedy goes both ways; that the laugh bonds, not separates; and that it relieves tension, not creates it. Use positive humor of lightness, boundaries, love and letting go.

“When you’re telling jokes, try your best. If that doesn’t work – try somebody else’s best.”
Sammy Cahn


Copyright 2005 by Dan Gascon. Reprinted with permission. Founder of Humor for you Health. Reach Dan at