One Easy Formula For Hundreds of Jokes

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Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson is an award-winning storyteller, author, and comedian who teaches you how to harness the power of your story to connect, engage, and get results. In this blog, Kelly focuses on the business of professional speaking. Kelly’s post day is Friday. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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Looking for an easy way to be funnier on stage?

Speakers are always asking me how they can add humor to their speeches. It’s not an easy task to be a funny motivational speaker. But there are some easy formulas you can use. Today I will share with you the most popular – the rule of threes.

Make a Statement, then Explain with a Serious Example + Serious Example + Twist Example

You simply make a statement about something and explain it with three examples – two serious and the third is a twist.  The third statement is where the laugh is. You do not want the first two to be humorous at all. They need to be serious and expected by the audience.

The cartoon above is a good example of what I’m talking about.

It just starts with coming up with your opening statement.  Once you start playing around with opening statements, you’ll see that some lend themselves to funnier lines better than others.

Here are some opening statements you could use.

  • I’m trying to live a healthier lifestyle.
  • I love the holidays.
  • I think marriage is a great adventure.
  • I am really good at saving money.

Now let me see if I can come up with a follow up on the spot. They won’t be stellar – but it will show you what I mean. Usually I write a bunch and then just choose the ones that are funniest and ditch the rest. It takes writing a lot of bad jokes to find one good one.

I’m trying to live a healthier lifestyle.
I started working out, I make regular doctor visits, and I quit drinking diet sodas with my rum.

I love the holidays.
You get to eat lots of good food, get time off work, and celebrate that you don’t have to see these people for another year.

I think marriage is great.
You’ve got somebody to help you carry groceries, someone to help pay the bills, and somebody else to forget your birthday.

I am really good at saving money.
I buy discount toilet paper, never eat out, and always bring my own food when I go to the casinos.

Note: If you can make the example lines equal in length and rhythm, the line will be funnier. Just remember that less is more, and try to find the fastest way to get to the punch. The more you clutter, the less funny it becomes.

This one formula can help you create an endless amount of jokes. Why don’t you try it right now? I’d love to hear!


  • Marilyn Sherman

    I love going to church. I get to pray with the congregation, sing with the choir, and honk at all the old people taking too much time leaving the parking lot.