Note: all mentioning-of-former-positions here are for factual purposes and the writer’s love for details, not for bragging purposes. Remember, sometimes, the more you think of other people being proud, the more you are becoming proud.
I started doing public speaking as early as 12 years old. I started speaking in front as a youth leader when I was 19. I started preaching at churches (I am with utmost gratitude to God and to the Pastors of these churches for giving me that privilege) when I was around 20 or 21 (and is “at rest” on this since January 1, 2009). I started teaching as a professional teacher when I was 22. I started conducting lectures and talks OUTSIDE school premises and churches when I was 28. All in all, my experience as a public speaker is around 17 years. 17 years? Wow. I’m thankful to God for that. I just realized now that I am a veteran public speaker, although I still have my lapses (lots of them). In my 17 years of experience as public speaker, I believe that a good sense of humor, aside from grabbing the crowd’s attention, has its significant place. Especially in Baptist churches, most, if not all, wanted the guest preacher/pastor or their resident preacher/pastor to throw a joke or two or more in their sermons. Because of this, Pastors will usually say, “I hope you remember the message, not only the jokes”.
In my experience as a public speaker, there are specific groups that I intentionally and unintentionally made laugh. I used to be a youth president in the Adoptive Church (November 2006 – December 2008). One thing I miss there is they laugh in my given jokes almost every time I speak (any normal human being will appreciate that). They appreciate humor very well, even if it’s corny! On the other side, there are crowds that consider my jokes not funny or corny. To add to the injury, they will not only consider it not funny when you deliver it, they will share the same joke to others. When they received a positive response (i.e, laughing), that joke is consider theirs. Good thing jokes are not patented. Sometimes, I can’t help but think that maybe this crowd has been given so many jokes that they started to be numb. In addition, I can’t help but think that maybe there are crowds that I will never click…humor-wise.
When are jokes corny? When they are politically incorrect? When they degrade or insult specific sectors like the elderly, the feminist groups, religious groups, and others? When they discriminate race and sexual orientation? When they insult other people? Honestly, these “guidelines” can be bent when people like you. I hate cuss, curse words, the f-word and the P and I word, and so do most people I know. However, these unwritten rules are bent when you hear people laughing on other people when they hear rapid fire curses. Tragically, when you do the same, well, I don’t know if you’ll live the next day having them still as your “friend” (sic).
When is it funny? In the first place, is there a text book guideline on how to make someone or a group or groups of people laugh at your punch line? Yes…there are books and tips you can find. However, if you follow them by heart, will it guarantee 100% that they will laugh? Surely, the answer is no.
I know there are numerous opinions on this. Opinions shaped by experience. Opinions shaped by the dislike to the person writing this post. Opinions shaped by their appreciation to this writer or this post. Opinions shaped by their own experiences. Opinions shaped by different variables (English majors, is that one redundant?).
Nobody has the monopoly of laughter and the tag “nice joke”. Nobody. There’s a thin line between being corny and being funny, and that line is sometimes crooked and hazy. Sometimes, it’s not even a straight line; it’s dotted. Don’t blame it all to the speakers why they are “corny”. We have nothing to blame but ourselves.
Now, it is safe to say that a joke is funny when you and your crowd have a good chemistry. When the crowd likes you, laughter (or a grin) will pour in. Therefore, as a public speaker, it is really good to talk warmly and sincerely to the crowd before your speaking engagement/lecture proper.
Corny or funny? Take your pick. However, I assure you that it’s not ONLY the humor per se why you consider a joke funny or corny. It depends on who you are.
Have a nice day, my friends.