When and How to Tell Jokes

don't giggle all the way throughThat Estelle Hunter. She sure is a crack-up in her Personality Development, Unit Three: Voice and Expression. I mean, that salesman joke ~ hilarious!

1939: When and How to Tell Jokes

It is not unusual for a group to spend an hour or more in exchanging jokes or stories, but such conversation soon becomes wearisome and ceases to please. Don’t add your story unless it is better than any that have been told and you are sure that too many have not already been related. Remember that any story should be told only if it is interesting, if it is relevant, if it is in good taste, and if it has a good point.

Don’t laugh at your own joke, at least until everyone else has shown that he liked it. Don’t giggle all the way through a story or laugh before you come to the point. Don’t lose the point of the story as did a young woman who said to her brother:

“You’re a salesman so you’ll like this story. A salesman came into his office at night and someone asked him how he felt. He said ‘Pretty independent; I didn’t sell anyone anything today.'””You mean,” replied her brother, “that he said, ‘I didn’t take orders from anyone today.'”

When you have told a story successfully, don’t tempt Fate by telling another immediately. Turn the spotlight of attention on someone else by saying, for example, “John, what was the story about your guide in Italy last year? That was even more amusing than my experience.”

If John doesn’t tell his story exactly as you think he should, don’t correct him or attempt to add details. It is his story. Courtesy demands that you let him tell it as he will.

Source: Hunter, Estelle B. Personality Development, Unit Three: Voice and Expression. Chicago: The Better-Speech Institute of America, 1939.
~ pp. 82-83 ~