How to Be Wittier

Being funny can be difficult, but being witty is even more challenging. To be witty, you have to be sharp, clever, and intelligent to boot. Your witty sense of humor should be able to make people crack up or just smirk to themselves. Whether you're already witty and hoping to hone your skills, or if you want to learn how to develop a witty sense of humor, just follow these easy tips and you'll be on your way.


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    Learn from witty people. The easiest way to improve your wit is to study other people with admirable senses of humor. There are many places to look, from films to your closest and funniest friends. Here's how to learn how to be witty from others:
    • Spend more time with people whom you find particularly witty, whether they are relatives, close friends, or acquaintances you'd like to get to know. Note what they say when they get people to laugh. Study their facial expressions, their delivery, and their timing.
    • Read literature written by witty people, such as Shakespeare, the Sherlock Holmes series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, or even comics like Garfield or Dilbert. You can learn a lot from witty people (or animals) from any generation.
    • Watch television shows or films that feature witty people. Woody Allen films always feature witty protagonists.
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    Be confident. Before you can begin to impress people with your wit, you have to give off a confident vibe to show people that you are comfortable with yourself as well as the jokes you tell. If you're confident, people will be more likely to trust in your abilities, including your ability to charm people with your wit. Here's how:
    • Have positive body language when you deliver a joke. Though you don't have to make a show of having an audience, just standing tall, speaking clearly, and making eye contact when you deliver the punch line will help your cause.
    • Be confident about who you are. If you love who you are and what you do, people will be more likely to appreciate you---and your sense of humor.
    • Show confidence in your jokes. Tell your jokes with clarity and show that you think what you're saying is funny. If you demonstrate a belief that your sense of humor is solid, people will be more likely to agree. This doesn't mean that you should laugh at your own jokes, but you should just tell them in a way that shows you don't care what people think because you already know you're funny.
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    Be an original thinker. Part of being witty is being able to think outside the box and not to see the world as everyone else sees it. Being a thoughtful and intelligent person will improve your chances of looking at the world in a unique way. Here's how to be original:
    • Read as much as you can. The more you know about the world, the more likely you are to have an unbiased and unique perspective of the things around you.
    • Don't be afraid to be corny. Being free and open with your sense of humor will make people laugh. For example, if your girlfriend asks you to pick up pears at the store, you can say, "I'll pear that in mind."
    • Create new words of your own. For example, if you and your friends are always gossiping about a girl named Emily and you are sick of hearing about her, you can say, "I now declare an Emily-bargo!" Though people will roll their eyes, they will appreciate your goofy word combo.
    • Find new uses for traditional phrases. For example, if you are emerging from a public restroom and a person of the opposite gender is approaching it and asks, "Is this bathroom gender specific?" You can answer, "How specific do you want it to be?"
      • For example, the question “How would you spend a million dollars?” invites all sorts of creative thinking. Responding with “Quite happily” subverts the answer in a humorous way.
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    Understand your audience. Understanding your audience is the key to your success. Though you should work on developing your own brand of humor, you should always be aware of the type of people you are around, and the particular things they find funny or offensive. Here's how:
    • Never forget to listen. Listening to the people around you can help you understand what they find funny, what they find absolutely offensive because it's a sensitive subject, or to pick up on a comment that you can bring up later in joke form.
    • Be sensitive. If you're around a group of people who are very sensitive about religion, for example, then try to avoid jokes about this topic. Not only will they not appreciate your wit, but they may not want to hang out with you anymore.
    • Tailor your jokes to your audience. Try raunchier jokes for a more hip, younger crowd, and stick to safer and cornier jokes if you're hanging out with your grandparents, unless they can really laugh at anything.
    • Understand when people are not in the mood for humor. Though wit should be appreciated under any circumstance, if you are around someone who is very upset, or sick, telling a joke could lighten the mood, or it could make that person resent you. Tread lightly.
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    Have the right delivery. Even the best joke can fall flat if you don't deliver it the right way. Delivery is something you can practice in front of the mirror, or even with a tape recorder, before you try your joke out with a live audience. But even if your jokes are spontaneous, there are a few tips that can help perfect your delivery:
    • Speak clearly. Deliver your jokes with clarity and confidence. If you mumble your jokes, people may ask you to repeat yourself and the humor will be lost.
    • Remember that timing is everything. Part of being witty is being sharp and quick, so don't hesitate too long or people won't understand how your funny comment connects to the conversation at hand.
    • Try a deadpan delivery. If you're really confident, tell your joke flatly and wait for people to laugh. You should avoid saying your joke in a way that shows that you think you're saying something funny. Part of being witty is developing "I don't care if you laugh" persona.
    • Don't speak over anyone. This should be a no-brainer, but many great jokes are lost because the person tells them while someone else is talking. Wait for a quiet moment in a conversation before you chime in.
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    Don't overdo it. Following as many steps as you can to become wittier will improve your chances of being funny. However, you should avoid trying too hard to make people laugh, or they will feel sorry for you instead of finding you amusing. Here's how to avoid overdoing it:
    • Relax. Even if you're trying out a new witticism, be relaxed. Stay calm when you tell your jokes, and don't raise your voice unnaturally or look around to check for a reaction.
    • Don't tell too many jokes at once. Being funny through just a few well-timed moments a day is much more effective than trying to tell a joke every five minutes and bombing nine times out of ten.
    • Be cool when your jokes fail. If nobody laughs at your jokes, just shake it off and say, "I'll get 'em next time," or "Whoops---wrong audience." If you look visibly upset, hurt, or clam up for the rest of the night, people will see that you care too much about whether they laugh or not.
    • Take a break. If you've already told a few jokes, relax for the rest of the night and study the funny people around you. If you're so focused on being funny, you may miss something important that could help you be funny in the future.


  • Being witty is one thing, but if you’re constantly sarcastic, it may be wise to tone it down, or people won't ever be able to take you seriously.
  • Repetition is death to humor. Don’t beat a dead horse with your endless invoking of, “That’s what she said!”
  • Remember, you can make a mistake or be wrong every now and then and still gain the reputation for being witty. Even the best comedians can't always get people to laugh at their jokes.
  • It really pays off to firstly study witty and charming characters, a few examples are Edmund Blackadder, Arnold Rimmer and Alan Partridge. British comedies are usually rich in sarcastic humour.
  • Base yourself on a character and know that you have a humour similar to them.
  • Don't over think jokes. If you have something funny that relates to a situation, say it! But don't try to relate something, just wait for the next topic.

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Categories: Personality Traits and Attributes