What Makes a Joke Work?

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What Makes a Joke Work?It’s April 1st. April Fools’ Day. This is the day when everyone is expecting some type of joke whether it’s from the media, a friend or co-worker, or your favorite _______(fill in the blank). Most often the jokes are playful tricks.

Jokes are great because they lead to laughter, which is a high vibe – until it’s not. High vibe laughter is when people feel lighter and more expansive as a result of the laughter. Low vibe laughter is when people laugh out of uneasiness or a sense of awkwardness. Since a high vibe holds the power of creation, ask yourself if the joke you are about to do will be felt with appreciation or awkwardness.

While playing jokes on other people is fun, be aware of how the other people are feeling. If they are the type of people who like practical jokes and they appreciate a hearty laugh, then go for it. The clever jokes are those that promote fun for everyone. And when we have fun, our creativity expands, and new possibilities come into our awareness.

However, not everyone is the same. Not everyone thinks that jokes are funny. The idea is to tailor the joke to the person receiving it. After all, to be funny, it has to work for both of you.

When my oldest son was in college, he and his roommate had a practical joke war going with the girls in the apartment across the hall. All four of them contributed to the joke war and the stunts got bigger and bigger. Some of the jokes were: switching drawers in the dresser to new slots, post-it notes covering a car, hidden alarm clocks in the bedroom all set at different times, a car filled with balloons containing glitter, and so on. The four college students had a great time.

Personally, if any of these were done to me, I wouldn’t be very happy. My reaction would not be high vibe. JT knew this and didn’t do these types of jokes with me. Thank you JT. I’m much more into the jokes that lead to laughter and don’t cause extra work.

What makes a joke work? Based on some brief research, the following is a list of qualities that improve your chances of practical joke success.

  • The giver and receiver appreciate the joke.
  • The giver has fun planning it.
  • The recipient has fun when the joke is executed.
  • Everyone is safe.
  • Any stress is lightened. (The joke doesn’t cause more stress.)
  • Things are seen in a new way.
  • Something is out of the ordinary or “wrong.”
  • There is an exaggeration.
  • The joke is relatively benign.
  • And in this PC world we are living in, be conscious of others’ sensitivities and the appropriateness of the joke based upon the situation. (For example, if your boss is paying you to work, work. Leave the jokes for break time or outside of work hours. Unless your boss indicates otherwise.)

In the end, with a joke that works, everyone’s vibrations increase, there is lots of laughter, things are seen from a new point of view and, of course, people and property are safe. After all, a joke whether it’s done on April Fools’ Day or any other day is about having fun together.

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