How to Be More Funny: My 15 Favorite Jokes to Drop in Conversation

Good writers borrow from other writers.  Great writers steal from them outright.

I stole that line from Aaron Sorkin and one of his “West Wing” scripts, like I pilfer so much of my sense of humor.

I always wanted to make people laugh.  So much of whether or not someone laughs at your jokes depends on if they like you, but having great jokes at the ready helps too.  At this point, I’ve consumed enough highbrow and lowbrow comedy, from clever shows to funny plays to stand-up comedians, that I have a go-to joke ready for just about any conversation.  If I seem extremely witty and on the ball, it’s because I watch too much TV.

Here are some of my favorites, which you can pepper into normal conversation.

 

“Do I really look like a guy with a plan?”

Stolen From: The Dark Knight, spoken by Heath Ledger as the Joker.

 

If someone asks you “Is that the plan?” or references anything about a plan, really, you can drop this in.  It’s mostly funny because people recognize it from The Dark Knight.

 

“You’re not the boss of me!”

Stolen From: Lots of places, but my favorite use is by Cyril in Archer.  Most people recognize it from the theme song to Malcolm in the Middle.

 

Good when someone makes a fairly simple suggestion, instruction, or request of you, especially one that is for your own good.  Other lines that work in this circumstance are “You’re not my real dad!” (only works with someone not even remotely your dad) or “You’re not my supervisor!”  I considered all of these, but decided “You’re not the boss of me!” was the funniest one for my personality.

 

“I know everything.”

Stolen From: The West Wing, spoken by Bradley Whitford as Josh Lyman.

If someone asks how you knew about something, it’s easy to get a laugh by quickly replying “I know everything.”  Alternately, you can try “I’m everywhere.”

Leo in West Wing has a more modest take on this same joke – when the President asked him how he knew some obscure fact, Leo shrugged slightly and said “I know things.”

 

“And damn it, that’s my job!”

Stolen From: The West Wing, spoken by Bradley Whitford as Josh Lyman.

Here’s how this one works – someone complains about something, and then you say “And damn it, that’s my job!”  So for example, someone might say “Work is really kicking my ass right now.”  Be ready with a quick “And damn it, that’s my job!”  Usually good for a laugh, or an eye roll.

 

“In Mother Russia …”

Stolen From: Not certain the origin of this one … it pops up in Archer, but I knew it before then.  Maybe Boris Kolhenkov in You Can’t Take it With You?

 

 

Some people prefer “In Soviet Russia …” but I like Mother Russia better.  The format of this joke is to take something someone said, reverse it to make it sound oppressive, and claim, in a Russian accent, that that’s how things are in “Mother Russia.”  For example, if someone were to say “We’re out of toaster strudels,” you might reply in a Russian accent “In Mother Russia, strudel toasts you!”  You can see how a lot of these jokes are very useful in being obtuse and unhelpful.

 

“I thought I was the …”

Stolen From: The West Wing, spoken by Janel Maloney as Donna Moss.

If someone says something like “That’s the worst thing about Texas,” reply with “I thought I was the worst thing about Texas.”  Works in a variety of situations.

 

“I don’t know if you could tell by the everything about me.”

Stolen From: John Mulaney, “The Comeback Kid”

John’s version of it was “I was raised Catholic.  I don’t know if you could tell by the everything about me.”  My favorite use is when I’m speaking in front of audiences in Dallas.  Dallas is much more preppy and conservative than Austin, so I get up there in my tattoos and H&M/thrift-store wardrobe and say “I’m from Austin.  I don’t know if you could tell by the everything about me.”  Gets a laugh every time.  The grammatical incorrectness is important.

 

“It’s not a competition!”

Stolen From: Cheryl in Archer

This works whenever someone corrects you to a higher number.  “He was acting like I was about to start World War Two.”  “… Three.”  “It’s not a competition, Pam!”

 

“Shut up, I’m special!”

Stolen From: A girl I knew in high school named Tara

When you share an experience, and someone indicates that that experience is common – “Yeah, she said that to me too” – get really childish and say “Shut up, I’m special!”

 

“I almost died!”

Stolen From: Don’t remember

When describing a fairly innocuous setback or challege, get dramatic and say “I almost died!” with as serious a face as you can get.

 

“I don’t want to get into a “Whose Dick is Smaller” competition”

Stolen From: I think this one may actually be mine.

When someone is comparing miseries with you – had a harder time at the airport, struggled more in school, etc. – you can pull out “Look, I don’t want to get into a ‘Whose Dick is Smaller’ competition.”  It’s funny because usually the competition is for the opposite, and it’s especially funny to say to women.

 

“I will pull this _______ over.”

Stolen From: Don’t know

When someone is getting feisty, get road-trip parental and threaten to pull over whatever location you happen to be in.  It’s funnier if you are not in a place that can be pulled over.  “I will pull this movie theater over!”

 

“Thank you, World’s Loudest Voice!”

Stolen From: Archer

When someone says something embarassing in public, say “Thank you, World’s Loudest Voice!”  Like in the grocery store.  “What else do we need?”  “Well, I need condoms.”  “(loudly) What do you need condoms for?!”  “Thank you for that, World’s Loudest Voice!  What do you think I need them for?”

 

“Fine!  You win ________-knowing!”

Stolen From: Archer

When someone knows more about an obscure subject than you, get indignant and say this one.  “What do you know about cobras?!”  “I know that the Caspian cobra, which is native to Turkmenistan, is light brown with dark ventral banding.”  “Well goody … you win Cobra-Knowing!”  Always funny to make a competition out of things that are not a competition.

 

“Why you gotta break balls?”

Stolen From: Chris on “Family Guy,” with an honerable mention to Cartman on “South Park”

If someone rhetorically outmaneuvers you and you have no other response, this one is foolproof.  Works better if you’re not the kind of person someone would ever expect to say this.  May work even better for women.

 

What are your favorite go-to jokes to pepper into conversation?

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