Elements of a Great Joke

Since today is National Tell a Joke Day, here are four elements of telling a great joke . . .

1.  The premise.  That’s what the joke is about.  And if you don’t properly set up the premise, the audience might not “get it” and your joke will fall flat.

2.  Timing.  A great comedian knows when people are going to react to a bit, what to play up or repeat, and when to pause.  And timing is crucial for setting up punchlines and making your joke come off as natural rather than rehearsed.

3.  Dramatization.  This might include varying your voice to emphasize certain words, or using hand or body gestures to go with certain parts of the joke.

4.  Tight construction.  Every word of a great joke matters, either to the story or to the rhythm of the bit.  It should be tight and condensed, with no extra words or information.  Otherwise your audience might get bored.

(Mental Floss)