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Why Spontaneous Humor Is Powerful
How the magic of fresh humor grabs the audience.

If you have ever used an original piece of humor, something created from an observation in the present moment, you know how powerful that can be. Here are some quick tips on why spontaneous and observational humor has impact.
  1. For the past 25 years I have scored the entertainment value of my programs and jokes. Here is what I've learned about audience response. Observational and spontaneous humor raises the humor value of your lines by two notches. On a scale of one-to-ten, a funny line written specifically for the audience will get a response two points higher than a generic joke. If a humor line's normal laugher response would rate a 7 (specifically your personal rating for the quality of the audience response to a joke), when that same line is custom-designed for the audience, it will receive a 9 response value.

  2. The response of the audience for whom the line was specifically written will always be much higher than another audience to whom you repeat the joke later. This explains why you can repeat a funny customized line from a previous program (a line which had the audience rolling with laughter) to your friends afterwards and they just politely smile. Your reaction is likely to be, "well you had to be there!" Exactly. The power of observational humor is that the audience "is there." And hence the power of the customized humor. Here are some factors that help us understand why we experience the extra punch with observational and spontaneous humor.

  3. It's fresh. The fact that they haven't heard it before adds to the element of surprise which is a major factor getting laughs with your funny lines.

  4. The audience identifies with the joke. It's part of their common experience.

  5. Audiences often think, "Yeah, I was thinking the same thing." Sometimes they never realized something was funny until you pointed it out.

  6. They laugh because they totally understand the premise and set-up of the joke. This relates to the superiority theory of humor. They laugh because they "get the joke."

  7. A fresh piece of humor can add an element of freshness to your entire program. The audience will often feel like the whole presentation was created just for them. Surprisingly, using some fresh humor will often make your non-customized lines funnier too.

  8. Observational humor is often a call-back or reference to something that got a laugh earlier. Call-backs and running gags are advanced techniques the humor experts use to get laughs. They're a natural when you sharpen your observation skills.

  9. The skill of observational humor puts you in the present moment. This, by itself, gives you a magical connection with your audience. And this helps you have more fun as you present the program. An excellent study of the power of being in the present moment is to watch a Blue Man Group performance.

  10. For more on Observational and Spontaneous Humor see the article at:

  11. For more on writing Original Humor see the article at:

Copyright 2006 by John Kinde

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"Copyright by John Kinde, who is a humor specialist in the training and speaking business for over 30 years specializing in teambuilding, customer service and stress management. Free Special Reports: Show Me The Funny -- Tips for Adding Humor to Your Presentations and When They Don't Laugh -- What To Do When the Laughter Doesn't Come. Humor Power Tips newsletter, articles and blog are available at"

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