A Quick Lesson On The Laws Of Humor And The Art Being Witty

There have been countless people who have tried to explain (Some in great length mind you) the laws that drive and allow for something to be considered funny or humorous. However, most of these explanations fall short, as they are extremely lengthy guides. And very few good jokes, or anything witty or humorous for that matter, are ever long or drawn out. As Shakespeare put it best, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” So why should an explanation about what the laws are be?

The answer is they shouldn’t. So how do we learn to be funny? The answer is over time. You need to learn what makes certain people laugh, and remember that no two people are alike. But the best way to learn is trial and error. Yes folks, just like anything else, being funny, or witty takes practice and time. It doesn’t just magically happen. Unless of course… you’re funny looking. Ohh… Ba Dump Bump.

But really, how do you learn any trade? You study. You study the greats, the not so greats, and emulate all the while keeping track of what works. No smiles or chuckles. Than quit while you’re ahead. You know it wasn’t funny, at least for them anyways. Move on and try something new.

But there is one thing for certain that does make something funny. Brevity. Remember old Shakespeare said that’s the soul of wit. And to be honest, it’s better to be considered witty over funny. Being witty means being clever. Being funny, means you may have been witty or clever, but you could also be funny looking. Or funny sounding. You could be funny for all the wrong reasons.

So how do you become witty. Well to be witty means you must be clever, and to learn cleverness means you must simply learn. Learn any and everything you can. Because it is when you turn simple ideas on their head, with quickness and precision, that people tend to find the most enjoyment. They’ll laugh and cry all at your spoken word. Not how you said it or what you looked like when you said it. Simply what you said. And that is wit… that is being clever. To only utter a few words at the right time, and not have rehearsed it, is truly funny. Anything that was planned is nothing more than a cheap trick.

So what is the best way to learn to be clever? You simply study those that were clever before. And it is that point there where I will leave off and let those that are truly witty conclude this piece about the Laws Of Humor. Just remember, be clever, be witty, and be brief. Nothing else is needed. And without further ado, here are some quotes to show you what true wit can be.

Witty Insults, Retorts, and Self-Criticisms

The last time I saw him he was walking down Lovers’ Lane holding his own hand.

            -Fred Allen

She’s got such a narrow mind, when she walks fast her earring bang together.

            -John Cantu 

He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.

            -Winston Churchill

He left his body to science, and science is contesting the will.

            -David Frost

He is as good as his word, and his word is no good.

            -Seamus MacManus

The trouble with her is that she lacks the power of conversation but not the power of speech.

            -George Bernard Shaw

I don’t like her. But don’t misunderstand me: my dislike is purely platonic.

            -Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree

His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.

            -Mae West

Anonymous Actress: I enjoyed your book [Past Imperfect]. Who wrote it for you?

Ika Chase: Darling, I’m so glad you liked it. Who read it to you? 

Anonymous Woman: There are two things I don’t like about you, Mr. Churchill… your politics and your mustache.

Winston Churchill: My dear madam, pray do not disturb yourself. You are not likely to come into contact with either.

Anonymous Woman: I’ve made a bet with a friend that I can get you to say at least three words this evening. What do you say to that?

Calvin Coolidge: You lose!

Anonymous Writer: Last week you rejected my story. I know that you did not read it for, as a test, I pasted together pages fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen, and the manuscript came back with the pages still pated. You are a fraud and you turn down stories without even reading them.

George Horace Latimer: Madam, at breakfast when I open an egg, I don’t have to eat the whole egg to discover it is bad.

Henry Clay: I would rather be right than be president.

Congressman Reed: He doesn’t have to worry. He’ll never be either.


Isadora Duncan: Imagine a child with my body and your bran.

George Bernard Shaw: Yes, but suppose it had my body and your brain!


Lewis Morris: (On being overlooked for the poet laureateship) It is a conspiracy of silence against me… a conspiracy of silence! What should I do?

Oscar Wilde: Join it!


Lord Sandwich: Really, Mr. Wilkes, I don’t know whether you’ll die on the gallows or of the pox.

John Wilkes: that depends, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress.


Marlon Brando: I have eyes like those of a dead pig.

Cyril Connolly: I have always disliked myself at any given moment; the total of such moments is my life. 

Phyllis Diller: If my jeans could talk they’d plead for mercy.

It’s a good thing beauty is only skin deep, or I’d be rotten to the core.

Ernest Hemingway; As a war correspondent-I’m Ernie Hemorrhoid, the poor mans Pyle. 

Oscar Levant: Under this flabby exterior is an enormous lack of character.

Groucho Marx: I don’t wish to belong to any club that would want me as a member.

Hopefully these quotes will have highlighted the importance of not selling out to cheap funny tricks. Being funny takes both wit and brevity. So start learning folks, cause to make people laugh or even smirk, you’re going to need to dig down deep.

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The author of this article is Damien S. Wilhelmi. If you enjoyed this article you can follow me on twitter @FacePalmLaw. There are many laws in this world, and for legal matters, if you are in need of Personal Injury Service, you should contact ShafnerLaw.com

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