So in a nutshell, here’s how every funny person is born:
You’re a kid, and you’re hanging out with your friends. Suddenly, you trip and fall in such an obvious and pathetic way that there’s no chance your friends aren’t going to laugh at you. You know it’s coming – but before they have a chance to say anything, you rip into yourself and how clumsy and moronic you are. Your friends laugh, and the situation is quickly forgotten. And that’s when you realize that making fun of yourself is a great way to prevent others from doing it for you. You realize there’s power in making other people laugh, and so you continue finding ways to do so…
Ask any comedian, and they’ll tell you that they learned early on how to turn potentially embarrassing situations to their advantage. That’s not to say all comedy comes from awkward moments – but a lot of it does. And that’s the only way to explain why anyone alive would willingly choose to stand in front of a random group of people (which is generally one of the scariest and most potentially embarrassing situations there is) and dare them to laugh.
You probably don’t want to become a professional comedian. But all of us would like to know how to avoid being embarrassed as often as we can. So, as an homage to my comedian days, here are three simple ways to turn possible awkwardness into a guaranteed win.
Make Fun Of Yourself As Quickly As Possible
Embarrassment comes primarily when we wait in silence for others to judge us. If we break that silence – or better yet, don’t allow it to settle over us in the first place – it won’t have a chance to wield any power over us. Even if you can’t figure out how to turn the moment into a joke, saying anything will be better than saying nothing.
Put An End To Others’ Comments Quickly
After you’ve said whatever you say, your friends and colleagues might say a few things of their own. You’ll need to simply smile and act gracious for the first or second comment – but after that, you’ll be able to shut any further mockery down with a simple, “OK, OK, that’s enough.” Since you made the first comment, people won’t think that you’re taking offense when they think you shouldn’t, and telling them to stop will make them look like jerks if they keep going.
Bring The Situation Back Up At A Later Date
Comedians call these ‘callbacks,’ and good ones tend to get laughs. If you feel comfortable enough making fun of your idiocy a second time, chances are people will smile and laugh with you, not at you. And voila! You’ve now made this into a fun story instead of an embarrassing one.
I hope Steve Harvey reads this and applies some of these tips after his gaffe last weekend at the Miss Universe pageant. Now go out and do something ridiculous! Just make sure it’s legal. Because if you end up doing something embarrassing and illegal, I’m not sure any of this advice is going to be all that helpful…