We’ve all told a joke to a group and waited those agonizing three to five seconds for them to get it. After that small interval or if, god forbid, you should have to explain the punch line, the moment has passed, the joke is dead. Comedy is all about timing after all. But why is it that we put laughing at your own jokes in the same class as nose-picking or mouth-breathing? What’s wrong with laughing at your own jokes?
The way I see it, there are two reasons to tell jokes:
#1. You want to make other people happy so that they will like you. You deliver your jokes like a homeless guy holds the door at a Tim Hortons. You provide a small service, then hold out your hands and beg for a laugh.
#2. Life is ironic and hilarious, sometimes dark but often light-hearted, like a satire of itself, and you and your friends share this paradoxical but enthralling view of the human condition.
My bias may shine through my prose a little. I don’t think I need to tell you which of these outlooks I prefer. If people are to share in the joy if humour, they have to share in the laughter. We all need an excuse to laugh more.
Lets do away with the social prohibition on laughing at ones own jokes. Tell a joke, let out a real belly laugh, slap your knee, and enjoy life. If your audience isn’t laughing, it just means they aren’t quite as clever as you are.