Two Words for Humour

A few months ago at a club meeting, one Toastmaster asked another member the following question:

“In two words, how would you describe how you incorporate humour?”

The question spawned my own internal challenge. If I could describe my own take on incorporating humour in two words, which two would I choose?

After months of deliberation, I finally came up with my answer.

Fail lots.

I chose those two words for the following reasons.

Content. In my opinion a lot of humour can be found in failures, whether they are you own or someone else’s. Heck, one of my most memorable failures involved accidentally giving the women’s washroom key to a cute guy who had asked to use the washrooms in the office. (So much for trying to make a good impression there). Next time you watch America’s Funniest Home Videos (or another similar show), pay attention to how much humour comes from failures!

Delivery. They say you learn more by failing. If I make a mistake and struggle through a problem, I can recall that scenario a thousand times better than if I did it right the first time. If you deliver a joke and it bombs, hopefully you will want to revisit the delivery, or sit down and figure out how to rework that portion of your speech. With the old saying of “practice makes perfect”, I believe failures will allow you to practice more, fail more, and one day you will end up nailing the joke delivery.

Style. While there are a lot of good tips on delivery techniques, I’m still a big supporter of finding and developing your own style. I’m keenly aware there are certain types of comedy that don’t work as well for me (slapstick!). I cannot look at someone and inform them what their comedic style is; I believe it is as unique as a fingerprint and cannot be developed overnight. A lot of the times we see the end product, but how many times do we see the years it took for someone to start even developing their own comedic style?

On that note I would like to put a heart-felt thank you for my home club members that have sat through at least three years of stale jokes and botched humorous story deliveries. And if I am able to submit my answer to your challenging question up above, my two words would be: Fail. Lots.

Challenge: Which two words would you have chosen to answer the question?

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