Don’t try too hard to be funny.
Don’t announce that you are now being funny.
Do not force it if this does not come naturally to you.
Find your own way of expressing the humor you feel in life.
Remembering that the best laugh comes from the surprise at the end of a good story, therefore, experiment with the best way to say that.
That’s also how to remember a good joke or story you’ve heard: Remember the punch line. If you remember that exactly right, you can recall the rest of the story by working backward in it. But the greatest single thing about telling a joke is getting the punch line right.
Again, though, surprise your hearers with it.
My granddaughter was six and we were at the swing in her front yard, doing what grandpas and little darlings do. We were singing and laughing and cutting up. At one point she said, “We’re being silly, aren’t we, grandpa.” I said, “Yes, we are. Why do we like to be so silly?”
She said, “It’s a family tradition.”
Complete surprise, totally out of left field. And a perfect story. It’s brief, it’s cute (people love children stories), and it fits any number of situations. I tell it when I’m talking to seniors about their grandchildren, when I’m talking to groups about humor, and when I’m preaching on the family (“That’s a great tradition to have. What is your family tradition?”)
In telling it, however, I must not let myself signal ahead of time that “Okay, cute story coming up” or “Speaking of family traditions….”
Just tell it. The story will do the work.