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How to make people laugh

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

How to make people laugh

Before I studied psychology I used to think that funny things make people laugh and while I was right about that I discovered that there are lots of other psychological factors that make people laugh other than the funny part of the joke.

When someone laughs at a joke there will usually be more than one reason that made him laugh and the more reasons found the more powerful the joke will be. If your joke supported the point of view of a person, if it made fun of his enemy or if it made him feel better about himself then he will laugh more.

The psychological factors & laughter

I was attending a stand up comedy show in Egypt and when the man started to make fun of the way pedestrians cross the streets everyone laughed their heart out. The main reason people had a strong laugh is that almost all of them had this stored anger towards those pedestrians who cross the streets carelessly.

The joke wasn’t only funny but it also made the people feel that they are right about being angry at those pedestrians and thus made them feel better about themselves. In short people were laughing because of the funny joke and because of the happiness experienced as a result of the psychological support they got.

The more the joke makes the person feel good about himself or the more it tackles other psychological factors the more will the person like it. For example if you envy one of your friends then someone told a joke that was funny and in the same time made your friend seem stupid then most probably you will laugh at it louder than if you weren’t jealous of him.

Laughing and happiness

So in short we don’t laugh when we only hear something funny but in addition we laugh because we experience some kind of happiness that results from the other psychological factors involved in the joke.

I strongly discourage making fun of anyone or devaluing someone to make someone else laugh but all I wanted to is to explain that if your joke supports the person’s emotions by any means then he will like it a lot.

You can do this in a good way by supporting their point of views without making fun of someone or by even devaluing yourself in a funny way in order to make them laugh.
Read Part one of this article How to develop a sense of humor for more information about the topic.

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