I cannot tell a joke. I start with "let me tell you a joke" and then laugh all the way through the joke, forget most of the details and finally deliver the punchline so flatly that people are still waiting for the joke when I am already laughing and wondering why the others did not get it. Once in college I was given a part the fairy god-mother in a spoof of cinderella and I think I laughed more than the audience and forgot all my lines.Needless to say I was fired.

I admire people who can tell a joke - most people think (like I did for a long time) they can but they are wrong. Telling a joke is not just about saying something funny but it is all about the way you can tell it. There are people who can tell a joke that you have heard before and make you laugh all over again with their style, the manner and the delivery of the punchline. I remember my mother's uncle who was a school teacher who had this gift - we would make him repeat his jokes and everytime it seemed like the first time and different. If you are not gifted with it by nature,it cannot be acquired through training.

I was reading an article which says there are
"Two extremes in joke-telling:
Style No. 1: As tight as a haiku. Not one wasted word. Told with aggressive brutality. Ends with a punch line that ends with the punch word. The last word delivers the joke. Then, bang, it's over."

"The perfect joke in Style No. 1, as told by Henny Youngman, Rodney Dangerfield, Lou Jacobi:
Guy goes to a psychiatrist.
Psychiatrist says, "You're crazy!"
"I want a second opinion!"
"All right, you're ugly!"

"Now for a joke in Style No. 2,"
You can read it here
Then there are others who cannot tell a joke but can kill it like giving away the punchline before the speaker finishes the joke. The worse types ask "Then what happened?" .It helps to upstage someone whom you hate. If you want some tips on doing this to someone who steals the limelight with his/ her funny jokes this article tells you how.

It only seems appropriate that I end this piece with a joke.

Pedro was driving down the street in a sweat because he had an important
meeting and couldn't find a parking spot.
Looking up toward the sky he said
(heheheh, this is funny!...He said... wait wait, I'll get it now, hehehehe...)

Never Mind. I think i will spare you the ordeal.Have a great weekend.
18 Responses
  1. ravi Says:

    I believe in speaking the truth abt me..n what ever is there in my posts..its all abt me n my experiences n nothing else. I removed my comments earliar frm ur posts coz i thot or presumed that becoz of me someones credibility is being questioned which i never wanted to be a part of. I hold u in high respect n i enjoy reading ur blogs..but i have no control on others..i am in no way involved with any of the views..that other put. Just a humble request to u. Life is nt a joke..jokes are told to ease away the tensions..n the world shortest joke was..10 women were sitting in a rail compartment..all were silent..i hope this made u laugh a bit. Enjoy the weekend..this is a request.

  2. Usha Says:

    Thanks for the comment. But i am not sure i understand the comment completely. Can you mailo me if you are hurt about some comment someone made here _ I am really confused.

  3. starry Says:

    Loved this post. I think I am bad at telling jokes because midway I either forget it or just dont know how to deliver a good joke. This person Rave left a similar comment on my blog . I dont know what the problem is.Or what he is offended with.

  4. Some ppl need not tell any specific jokes.. like my perimma(aunt).. whatever she says would be a joke for me and my sister..

    i have some other friends.. and the moment they come, they will bring a smile also to your lips.. by their jokes, actions.. and what not..

    and above all.. it all depends on how light you can carry yourself. i had another friend who would read archies as if he is reading some suspense stories :)

  5. Shree Says:

    I prefer style no. 1 :)

    Great weekend post!

  6. Mahadevan Says:

    I agree with you that it is not joke 'per se' but the manner in which it is delivered,that matters. If half the words are drowned in laughter, one certainly loses the charm. Some like Bernard Shaw, P.G.Wodehouse, Oscar Wilde R.K.Narayan and R.k.Lakshman are great masters.
    Brevity certanly, is the soul of wit.

    'He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches - Bernard Shaw

    Looking at a lean and hungry looking Bernard shaw, G.K.Chesteron said, 'people would think that there is famine in England'. Barnard Shaw shot back at the corpulent Chesterton - 'looking at you they would know the reason'.

    Indignant with Sir Winston Churchill, a young lady said "Sir, if you were my husband, I would have given you hemlock. Churchill politely replied, 'Madam, if you were my wife, I would have drunk it with great delight'.

  7. passerby55 Says:

    Your post took me back to some great comedians like Johnny walker,I S johar, Mehmood ... the great black and white era of bollywood.

    well, they all had an unique style of delivering a small or a great joke.

    A look/glance at them you start laughing. to achieve that kind of response from your listeners/audience you need to have a style to it....sometimes even the material in the joke becomes immaterial.

    This post makes one think... to laugh and make one laugh .not easy a job.

  8. Visithra Says:

    heh i have the prob with laughing at my own joke before i finish them - occasionaly i tell a good joke - most of them time i provide the laughter appreciation of a well told joke - but most of all a write better jokes ;p

  9. Hip Grandma Says:

    I can enjoy a good joke but cannot repeat it without laughing in the middle of it.i enjoyed a piece by Stephen Leecock going to the bank to start an account.I laughed so much trying to repeat it that my audience must have felt like crying to find themselves cornered by me.You're right telling a joke and getting it right is not easy.Hats off to those who can.loved the post

  10. Usha Says:

    Starry: Am glad I am not the only one. hehehhe.

    Gomathi:Yes, I know some people too who can bring humour to the most mundane. It is a gift and they brighten up your life. I guess they flourish in the presence of people like you and me who can enjoy a good joke!
    And I cant comment on your blog. it wants me to sign up to my mail. why? can you open it up?

    Shree; Thanks

    Mahadevan: I have always wondered if these brilliantwriters were as good at "telling" a joke. remember RK narayan talks in one of his essays about meeting the author being a disappointment for the reader as he expects him to speak the way he writes which is not usually the case. While many film comedians are good at delivery, I wonder if most of them can write the stuff.
    And thank you for those brilliant pieces of wit and humour.

    Passerby: yes, I do not find that kind of comedy in present day films- now it is more dependent on slapstick and sometimes borders on vulgarity. I like the show called the great indian comedy show on Star which is very good.

    Visi: Hehehehe. yes, writing seems easier as it allows you to stop and laugh and then resume and go back and correct.

    Hipgranma: i think when we meet, we will laugh more thinking of the jokes rather than telling them. Thank you.

  11. GuNs Says:

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha !

  12. Preethi Says:

    Hehe... I sometimes deliver flat jokes too.. :)

  13. Usha Says:

    Guns: really! wow, i made someone laugh! I am jumping around!!

    SG: Hmf! I do that ALL the time!I bet you cant get it better than me!!i

    Oh btw, that joke goes like this:

    Pedro was driving down the street in a sweat because he had an important
    meeting and couldn't find a parking spot.

    Looking up toward heaven, he said, "Lord, take pity on me. If you find
    me a parking spot, I will go to Mass every Sunday for the rest of my
    life and give up tequila."

    Miraculously, a parking spot appeared.

    Pedro looked up again and said, "Never mind. I found one."

  14. You are certainly right Usha, telling a joke is indeed a great art. But then, so is understanding a joke - I feel. Not everybody is able to appreciate the pun in a specific joke, in the same manner and to the extent that it is worth. So, just as appreciating music/dance/painting etc is an art, appreciating humour is also a big art, which I feel most people have lost.

  15. The Kid Says:

    Good article.

    I dont know about you girls, but whenever there are more than 2 guys, someone or the other will crack up some crappy joke (usually a non-veg started) and then we guys start in tandem and end up rolling on the floor laughing!

    Most girls are just too uptight (not trying stereotype ;) ) to enjoy a "A" joke... I dont know what the deal is... because "A" joke is still a joke, right??

  16. Loved this post of yours, and the comments too.
    Hmmm...Know what, your Pedro had me confused. Was sure I was not dumb, and was also sure you couldn't be THAT bad a teller of jokes either.
    Was relieved to find that last comment of yours finishing the joke I thought I hadn't 'got'!

    GBS was brilliant, but methinks I would have been scared to interact with him. He can be so caustic! Mahadevan's jokes had me in splits. LOL

  17. Usha Says:

    The kid: I agree that there is no need to take it personally.

    JLT:Oh I can really spoil a joke.Wait till u meet me.

  18. Zahid Says:

    Hmm.....the first para was imlpy hilarious !!! nice flow.....liek dthe post/..