Creating a Humor Habit

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There are a few things that just about every comedian does, regardless of comedic stylings or background. We talked about one of them a couple of weeks ago: keeping a humor notebook. The second thing is that they write. A lot.

In comedy, there’s an unwritten rule called The Rule of 90 (although I’ve just written it down, so I suppose it is now the previously unwritten rule). The Rule of 90 says that 90% of what you write will be crap, that only 10% of what you output will make it as good material. So what does that mean? You have to try a lot of ideas before you find ones that are funny.

The best way to consistently produce good comedic content is to consistently create content. That’s why making it a habit is so important. Which is why I’m sad that I recently missed my unofficial habit of sending out a newsletter every Friday… The truth is that I was at an event all day yesterday (teaching project managers how to use humor to be more effective), but that’s not a great excuse. I had time earlier this week to schedule something to go out.

But, rather than just skip this week’s post, it seems more appropriate to just write it a day later. Not necessarily for you (hopefully you’re spending time with family or finally catching up on the last season of Doctor Who), but for me.

I encourage you to do the same. Find a way to work on your humor skill on a consistent basis. Shoot for 1 SPH: 1 Smile Per Hour. Join me in writing one joke a day on Twitter. Send out a longer form post every week. Whatever it is, consistently build your skill of humor. You’ll not only be funnier, I venture to guess, you’ll actually be happier too.

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{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Siyan Li May 5, 2019, 11:20 pm

    Thank you Andrew for those tips! They are simple but so powerful! I put them into practice:

    1. I used to struggle to find time for watching & analyzing talk shows. Your idea of ‘listening to comedy on the way home from work’ inspired me to listen to talk shows while doing makeup (I’m not a dude) – I suddenly have 20 mins every day to grow my passion!

    2. I created a process for watching & analyzing talk shows – so that I can uncover funny patterns to be used by anyone:

    a. Note down the funny moments watching the show – the 1st time;
    b. Analyze and come up with possible reasons for why they are funny – the 2nd time;
    c. Extract the easy-to-use-by-anyone lines and brainstorm daily scenarios – the 3rd time;
    d. Pause just before the funny moments and see if I can remember the line – the 4th time.

    3. I have been practicing 1 Smile Per Hour! It’s making me a happier person – the prerequisite of being humorous. The smile also helps me to feel lovingness and kindness.

    I LOVE this post!

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