Tag Archives: Humor

The GTA Series In The Style Of Pokémon

CJ, Niko Bellic, Tommy Vercetti and GTA III’s Claude, all together, in a fantastic demake by Hat-Loving Gamer. And it’s not just a demake. The battles and other mechanics are now all similar to classic Pokémon games.

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The Mother Of All GTA V Crashes

When Hoosker Don’t crashed his bike playing GTA V, he probably figured—as the opening seconds of this video suggest—that he’d just get up and get another vehicle. No big deal. Oh, how wrong he was.

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The Opening of Full House Remade In GTA V

Michael, Trevor, Franklin, Lester. They’re one big family after all, just like the cast of Full House. Merfish and his friends recreated the classic show’s intro, and while I don’t remember anyone falling off a truck or getting hit by a cable car, they really did nail the whole thing.

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How A Video Game Is Released In 2015

In 2009, publisher Electronic Soft released BloodDeath, a blockbuster video game that won 306 “Best In Show” awards at E3 and went on to sell 3.2 million copies worldwide. In 2015, Electronic Soft released BloodDeath’s sequel, BloodDeath: DeathBlood. This is the story of DeathBlood’s path from announcement to release, as told through the eyes of the internet.

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Mario Kart, Mad Max Mash Up Works Way Better Than It Should

Oh, what a lovely day.

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Jeremy Clarkson’s Top Gear Lives On (Inside Just Cause 2)

Jeremy Clarkson did his insufferable twat thing, punched a Top Gear producer and now the show is finished, right? Wrong.

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Ride-Sharing Poll: Uber Lamborghini Or Hooptilee Beater?

One of the best things about ride-sharing services is you can match the car to your destination. Headed out to the opera? An Uber Black fits the bill. Meeting friends at the bar? Lyft is a solid choice. But what if you want something even more specialized? I mean really specialized?

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How to Develop Your Sense of Humor

How to Develop Your Sense of Humor

Having a good sense of humor makes you more enjoyable to be around. You might also do better at work (as long as you don’t go overboard). Yet even if you were cursed with poor timing or a lack of the funnies, here’s how you can develop your sense of humor.

Immerse Yourself in Humor

How to Develop Your Sense of Humor

You learn more effectively when you immerse yourself in a subject (such as a language). Similarly, you can refine your sense of humor by immersing yourself in humor. Watch standup comedians. Listen to podcasts that amuse you. Read humorous books. There’s a lot of funny out there!

For one thing, you might be able to actually copy the jokes and use them yourself. Benjamin Errett, author of Elements of Wit, says in an interview with Vice, "There are two types of people. Parrots and magpies. Some people just steal their lines, and repeat them. Others hunt out gold."

Although parroting is frowned upon in the professional standup comedy world (although it still happens regularly), there’s no shame in regular folk parroting the pros, especially if you can use it as a stepping stone to evolve further. Even author Oscar Wilde was a parrot. Errett says in this interview with NPR:

He’s an interesting case because a lot of what he’s done was lifted and borrowed and recycled. You can even see in some of his most famous works, there are lines that reappear. So he was always honing and fine-tuning everything that he was doing. And one of the interesting things about him that I really find admirable is that he had this persona in sort of salon society in Victorian London as this guy who was a great talker, but what has he ever done? And he was sort of known in society – he was sort of a Kardashian of his time. But he went on to do works of great substance and lasting value.

If you’re not particularly funny, you might start off as a parrot ("I heard something funny the other day…"). Immersing yourself in humor will definitely help you parrot away. However, if you want to evolve from parroting, don’t just memorize or recite jokes. Pay attention to comedians’ timing and delivery. Notice their facial expressions and body language. You don’t have to replicate it, but you should notice it so you can use it in your own jokes.

Part of this process will be conscious, but your mirror neurons will probably pick up on certain cues and body language. For me, I find Aziz Ansari pretty funny (some folks prefer him in small dosages, but I could watch his standup for hours). I didn’t even notice I was parroting his high-pitched voice until a friend pointed it out.

Be Witty, Not Silly

How to Develop Your Sense of Humor

If you’re looking to get wittier on the fly, as Errett highlights to the Wall Street Journal, your goal is to combine spontaneous creativity with ideas that delight. Sarcasm and stale jokes do have a certain funny appeal, but being witty goes beyond that.

The happy point is that if you don’t feel like you’re witty, you can develop wit. In that same interview with Vice, Errett mentions, "George Bernard Shaw was originally a terrible speaker and about as sharp as a beach pebble, yet over time he worked on it and developed into one of the great wits of his day. Half the battle is accepting that you can learn it." In other words, you’ll need to adopt a growth mindset.

The challenge of wit is in its spontaneity. You can hone your wit by regularly quipping with other people. If you know someone who takes being witty as seriously as you do, it might help to enlist them as a type of "witty" sparring partner.

If you’re comfortable with it, you can also try your hand at wit in the real world (e.g., dinner parties, the office, the coffee shop, in the elevator, family reunions). Part of this real world exposure is in exposing yourself to the spontaneity that wit requires. If you’re new to it, or nervous or reserved about it, you might have trouble speaking up quickly enough to time it properly.

Silly humor can be a solid starting point for some audiences, but it can get old quickly. It also might make you look immature (which can be bad at work and in the eyes of some people). A lot of people laughed at Borat, not with him. (Plus, do you want to be known in the same context as Borat?) On the flip side, even bad comedy and silliness has its fans. Know your audience.

Learn What Amuses You

How to Develop Your Sense of Humor

A lot of times, we say things purely to please others. We flatter friends or colleagues by praising a change they made. We bring up topics that we know others might be interested in. However, when it comes to being funny, don’t tweak your sense of humor to cater to other people. Instead, start with what amuses you. Then, if you think the other person will also be amused with it, share it with them.

Will Wister writes at Quora:

When delivering comedy professionally or making friends laugh, it’s important that you amuse yourself, and that you’re not kow-towing to others with your humor. That’s often deemed in the world of comedians to be the behavior of a hack.

You’ll be funniest when you find something amusing and delightful. That is the starting point, before you wonder about other people’s opinions.

With that said, even though you’re looking at your own sense of humor, you should definitely consider your audience and the situation. Even if a remark is absolutely tear-jerking, knee-slapping, hilarious, it can be considered in poor taste if you say it in the wrong situation. This type of observation and restraint is a whole other can of worms.

Think About Timing and Audience

How to Develop Your Sense of Humor

You don’t have to be funny all the time (or even on demand), so don’t expect that of yourself. Don’t let other people expect that of you. When you catch yourself trying to be funny, slow down.

Even if you’re parroting, slow down when you’re telling a joke. It’s scary because you’re probably thinking, "Don’t mess up this punch line. Don’t mess up this punch line. Don’t mess up this punch line." Simply speak slower so you’re not as likely to stutter. Try speaking at 60-70% of your usual rate. Pause in between sentences. Gauge feedback on your attempts.

As writer Carol Burnett says, "Comedy is tragedy plus time." When you’re considering your audience, make sure that enough time (but not too much) has passed and that no one is saddened or threatened by the tragedy. It helps if the tragedy only affected you. A study published in Social Psychological & Personality Science examines the "sweet spot" of timing:

Time creates a comedic sweet spot that occurs when the psychological distance from a tragedy is large enough to buffer people from threat (creating a benign violation) but not so large that the event becomes a purely benign, nonthreatening situation.

If you’re about to tell a joke, there’s no need to preamble or announce it. Just tell it. Be appropriate with subject matter. Even if you find something amusing, it doesn’t help your cause—to delight other people—by offending a colleague or friend. (If you’ve overheard or been the victim of a stereotyped joke, here’s how you can respond.)

Once you say something to the world, it’s out there. If it’s about yourself, it can be perceived as self-deprecating and can be funny while offending as few people as possible. If you find something amusing, ask yourself—will it offend someone? Is now an appropriate time to say it?

Know When to Let It Die, or Pull the Plug on Yourself

How to Develop Your Sense of Humor

Few things are more cringeworthy than when someone tries to continue a bad story. Sometimes, it’s not a fault with the story or joke. Maybe it’s just not a good fit for the audience, or perhaps it’s poor timing. Maybe you’re not as comfortable telling it, so you can’t deliver it properly. Either way, if you feel the joke floundering, just let it die. Better yet, just end it yourself.

Depending on the situation, you might be able to recover from it. Here’s how comedian Mitch Hedberg once told a mediocre joke to his audience, and turned it around:

I didn’t go to college, but if I did, I would’ve taken all my tests at a restaurant, ’cause the customer is always right. (reacting to meager applause) All right, all right. That joke’s better than you acted. Perhaps it’s not. Maybe it’s dumb. It could be. I hear you, man. I’m not a fuckin’, genius, for Christ’s sake, you know? I’m just tryin’ to tell some jokes. Shit, who the fuck are you? That track is number 14. It’s called "Attitude."

You don’t need to seize every single opportunity to be funny. If you’re in the middle of a bad joke, just end it. "You know what, now that I’m telling it, it’s not as funny as it sounded in my head," can be a bit of an awkward end and bruise your ego a little bit, but it saves everyone time and patience. In the long run, they’ll respect your taste. Let the joke slip away into the abyss.

Illustration by Tina Mailhot-Roberge. Photos byJeremy Cantelli, The U.S. Army, nosha, 23am.com, and Alex Gaylon.

Five Common Mistakes People Make When Telling Jokes

Five Common Mistakes People Make When Telling Jokes

Nobody is perfect when it comes to humor. Some people just manage to recognize a bad joke early on and shut up, or kill their clumsier jokes gracefully. Here are some common mistakes you might make when it comes to being funny, and how you can identify them and avoid them.

You Used the Wrong Old Jokes

Five Common Mistakes People Make When Telling Jokes

There’s a grain of truth in every cliche—that’s how they’ve managed to stick around for so long. Similarly, old jokes can be great because there’s something that’s classically funny about them. They can be consistent, but you have to use them carefully. Learn the difference between a classic joke and a "clam".

Writer David Blum explains in The New York Times: "Comedy clams are jokes that you’ve heard once too often, that make you groan instead of laugh."

Some jokes are so great that you can tweak them a little bit and they’ll be relevant again. There’s a reason they’ve stuck around. But a lot of old jokes are simply dated. ("[insert praiseworthy phrase here]…NOT," and "Awkward," come to mind. They were funny once!) Everything has its life cycle.

Know which jokes are relevant and which aren’t. If you recently saw it on TV, it’ll probably expire in a few weeks or months. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for which jokes stir a chuckle and which ones cause painful grimaces or confused looks. Watch other people in the group and learn from their missteps, too.

You Didn’t Develop the Idea Enough

Five Common Mistakes People Make When Telling Jokes

It’s common for something to sound way better in your head than when you actually say it out loud. A refined idea has better odds of making people laugh (or at least not making them cringe) than a raw one. But before you speak, ask yourself:

  • Can you explain it concisely?
  • Will appeal to the people you’re speaking to?
  • Is the timing appropriate?

Sometimes, your joke or funny thought requires too many mental steps. You might need to properly set it up in order to explain it properly, which might take way too long or cause people to grow disinterested. Alternatively, it could also just go right over people’s heads. On a similar note, you may observe something funny, but just not yet figured out the best way to present it or phrase it. That’s okay. Shut up and let it marinate. You may get another chance at it later, and it isn’t worth saying now if it’ll fall flat.

You’re Speaking to the Wrong Audience

A funny message is just as much about the people receiving it as it is about the person delivering it. You can make a funny accounting pun to the accounting department and they’ll probably laugh (or at least chuckle—after groaning how horrible it likely was), but that exact same pun will confuse people unfamiliar with accounting. They just don’t have the same context to understand it.

Wrong audiences can cause the most volatile or cringeworthy mistakes. A joke or funny observation can tread on someone’s toes because it’s related to a sensitive issue that you didn’t know about.

Your humor won’t resonate with absolutely everyone, and that’s okay. As you learn more about the audience, you might be able to adapt to them with a minor tweak. As one amateur standup comedian put it, "I should have been more sensitive to the audience—probably avoiding the material altogether—but at the very least tweaking it. And in my next performance, I did tweak it before going on stage at a different club, and it did much better."

You Didn’t Escalate Enough

Connecting related jokes can be funny. However, it can also sound repetitive if you don’t build on the previous joke enough. Whether the joke was yours or someone else’s, you can build on to a previous joke by exaggerating it or calling to mind an extreme opposite. Escalate the extremity or absurdity of the joke. Few things are less amusing than a repeated joke, especially if they were only separated by a short period of time.

If you find you took it too far or your joke got out of hand, you can reel it back in. Just fall back on the "That escalated quickly" meme to save you or someone else from dogpiling too hard on a joke. (Wow, I probably couldn’t make that sentence more humorless. Also, "That escalated quickly," will not work as a joke with every audience.)

You Stuck to the Script and Didn’t Adapt

Five Common Mistakes People Make When Telling Jokes

Getting new information—how someone is feeling, what makes them laugh, what they enjoy—and responding to it is crucial to being funny. Comedian Keegan-Michael Key describes this responsiveness as the key ingredient to making people laugh in this interview with the New Yorker:

You need to be able to guess what many people really feel about something, even if they won’t ever dare say it. It’s this skill that is, in the end, every comic’s bread and butter. How does one develop it? Key, who has given a lot of thought to the matter, feels that both his empathic and his imitative skills are essentially a form of hyper-responsiveness. "The theory is: There’s no one in the world—there may be people as good as I am at this, but no one’s better than me at adapting to a situation."

You can use a script to deliver a joke well, but you always have the option of deviating. If you recognize one of these mistakes early on, just let the joke die. Better yet, kill it yourself. A quick, "Wow, you know what? Never mind, it doesn’t sound as funny as I’m saying it out loud," will either get someone’s attention and pique their curiosity (so you buy yourself a bit more time to set up a joke), or let you bow out of the joke early to save from embarrassment.

Hopefully, keeping your eyes peeled for these antipatterns can save you from cringeworthy moments. Be careful with old jokes and tweak them a little bit. Make sure your ideas are fully developed, and you’re delivering them to the right audience. Escalate jokes if you’re going to continue them. Don’t stick to a script or routine—adapt to the situation as it unfolds.

Photos by Deux Rondo,Julia, Marco Arment, and Angel Breton.

You’re Not a Photographer, You’re Just a Teenager With a Nikon

You’re Not a Photographer, You’re Just a Teenager With a Nikon

So I’m on Facebook the other day, browsing through pictures of people I went to high school with in order to make sure they aren’t happier than me, and I get a notification from somebody I barely know. I’ll call her "Sarah," because that’s her name.

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