Sarah Cherry, Staff Writer
How to bounce back from a bad joke:
First, give it a second. Maybe they didn’t hear what you said or maybe they need some time to let your elevated sense of humor sink in so it can be funny. Because you’re smart and your joke was funny, so why aren’t they laughing?
Seconds, maybe even minutes go by… okay so they didn’t get it and your expectant gaze is only drawing more attention to the fact that you were trying to be funny. You have two options here: keep on with the conversation pretending like nothing happened and carry the shame of your failed joke with you until the day that you die, or try to make them laugh somehow. As guilt is generally worse than convincing your peers to laugh against their will, you and I both know you’re going to fight for their laughter.
AVOID explaining why your joke was funny. Even if they finally get it, they won’t laugh. Though they may gain respect for your intellect, that’s only a best case scenario – because let’s face it, your joke shouldn’t have been that hard to understand… maybe it was just bad. Regardless, they still won’t laugh, and you open yourself up to ridicule for having poor comedic timing, among other failures (was your fly up before you opened your mouth?). Maybe if you’re lucky, someone dopey will finally make the connection as to why your joke was funny and laugh, but everyone will turn around and laugh at them. This is still failure.
AVOID turning everyone’s attention away from your bad punchline to yourself. This includes any and all physical humor (tripping, dropping things, or feigning bodily malfunctions like farting or vomiting), as well as self-deprecating humor. While people might laugh, they’re laughing at you. Also, it’s kind of just sad and uncomfortable, ESPECIALLY if they don’t laugh… so this is also failure.
AVOID turning everyone’s attention to someone else. Because laughing at people is mean. And even if you weren’t trying to be mean, you still probably were. Failure.
Alright, so it’s time to face facts: there aren’t really any ways to save a bad joke. It probably just sucked, or was only funny that one time, or it was only funny to your mom because she loves you and supports you implicitly. You should probably just cut your losses and live with the shame… the shame that will drive you to think of funnier jokes – or keep you from making jokes in general because you clearly aren’t funny.
PS: this is only really funny because I’m not very funny at all… and I break my rules all the time… sooooo… (*drops everything in her hands and runs away*).