Some people enjoy a dry sense of humor while others do not understand it very well. It can be either positive or negative to say that someone has dry humor. This article will help you understand what it is, and whether or not you have it.
There are different types of humor, and a dry sense of humor is just one type. People who give dry humor jokes are often mistaken because this type is not well understood by many people, and some may even take offense when dry jokes are thrown their way.
Dry humor meaning
What is a dry sense of humor? It is a form of humor where a person often says funny things with a serious, calm expression. They do not smile and neither do they laugh or make silly faces.
It is also known as deadpan humor, with deadpan meaning that the joke cracker is very impassive and has a matter of fact tone with no or the least display of emotions.
The joke may be a mere statement that the person is making about a current situation or occurrence. It is the outrageous and cleverly implied manner in which they make the statement that makes it so funny and sometimes difficult to understand.
Normally, it is not-obviously funny and is context or situation-dependent. A witty person says things and feeds jokes into every situation without even knowing that they are being funny.
When someone asks, “what is dry humor?” it is important to note that by its name and nature, it is ‘supposed’ to be condescending. For this reason, most people have the misconception that the person delivering the joke is also condescending and arrogant by nature.
While this may be true in some cases, it should be understood that the person is merely putting an air of superiority and patronizing behavior so that their joke has the desired effect on the audience.
NB: It is the responsibility of the person cracking the joke to ensure that their words do not take a toll on someone who is not as good a sport as he is expected to be. This type of humor does not necessarily need to be offensive or obscene.
There is a fine line between dry humor and arrogant, senseless humor, which only an intelligent mind can decipher and use to their own benefit.
How to tell if you have a dry sense of humor
Some of the unique characteristics of deadpan comedy are listed below. You are a deadpan humorist if you possess these characteristics:
- You always use words and phrases that are commonly understood by laypeople.
- You use minimal or no use of facial expressions, body language, props, or any other tool to get the point of the joke across.
- You can state absurd and incorrigible facts in a blatantly honest manner that it becomes hard for the listeners not to laugh.
- You can maintain a very monotonous or unflinching demeanor throughout.
- You almost always use sarcasm and cynicism and your jokes also have a sense of irony.
- A majority of people may consider deadpan humor to be rude because they might not understand it, but that does not worry you much.
- You state simple facts and ideas in an extremely plain way. This is the most distinguishing characteristic of deadpan humor.
How to have a dry sense of humor
Since we have already explored the dry sense of humor meaning, is it possible for everyone to cultivate and develop it? Well, usually, it comes naturally, but if you really have the desire to develop it, here are some important points that may help you out:
1. Be observant of the world around you
Good observational skills are crucial in dry comedy. Deeply observe people, their idiosyncrasies, and their situations. This will help you come up with jokes.
2. Master the art of wordplay
Playing with common and easy to understand words has great importance. Aim to attract people with your wit.
3. Read widely
Adopt the habit of reading the works of great humorists like Robert Benchley. Reading can help you in cultivating a sense of humor that inspires others.
4. Always see the larger picture
Do not take life too seriously that it renders resistance to humor. Do not let the monotony of life kill the clown within.
Instead, allow yourself to get infected with humor. View the bigger picture despite your worries.
Are deadpan jokes good or bad?
Deadpan jokes are a good thing only if they are used correctly and with an appropriate audience. Deadpan comedians are usually very clever and entertaining.
If you do not have the correct audience, you are likely to anger many people.
Dry humor examples
Now that you already know how to define dry humor, below are a few examples to help you understand it better:
- I’ve never been married, but I tell people I’m divorced so they won’t think something is wrong with me. – Elayne Boosler
- Our bombs are smarter than the average high school student. At least they can find Kuwait. – Whitney Brown
- A cop stopped me for speeding. He said, ‘Why were you going so fast?’ I said, ‘See this thing my foot is on? It’s called an accelerator. When you push down on it, it sends more gas to the engine. The whole car just takes right off. And see this thing? This steers it. – Steven Wright
- The most important thing I would learn in school was that almost everything I would learn in school would be utterly useless. When I was fifteen I knew the principal industries of the Ruhr Valley, the underlying causes of World War One, and what Peig Sayers had for her dinner every day…What I wanted to know when I was fifteen was the best way to chat up girls. That is what I still want to know. – Joseph O’Connor (from The Secret World of the Irish Male)
Tips to help you become a good deadpan comedian
From the dry humor definition above, it is apparent that anyone who wishes to become a deadpan comedian must work on their use of language, emotions, and expressions.
Mastering deadpan humor takes time and plenty of effort. Some of the tips and tricks that you can use to become a better deadpan comedian are:
1. Use sarcasm as your weapon of choice
If people have told you before that you are the most sarcastic person they know, use that to your advantage. Over time, they will learn to take most things you say with a pinch of salt and will warm up to you and your sarcasm.
2. Consider yourself an amateur psychologist
Although people may sometimes find it hard to read you, you have the ability to read other people like a book. All the imaginative interpretations and cynicism in you allows you to figure people out, and makes you savvy to their motives pretty quickly.
3. Do not be too worried about what people say
Know who you are and where you stand. You are not seeking anyone’s approval. In the grand scheme of things, what other people think of you is entirely up to them so focus on becoming a better deadpan comedian.
4. Embrace the fact that cynicism is part of who you are
Be proud of your cynicism. You are not necessarily distrusting of everything, it is just that you know how easy it is for people to be unreliable or incapable, so you always have your guard up.
5. Always use your intelligence and wit
Some people may think that deadpan comedy is simplistic, but it actually takes a lot of brainpower to construct a decent joke that is not obvious and that has an obscure structure to it.
Using your intellect will make it easier for you to dissect unfunny situations and make them funny.
When you find yourself in a tricky situation, talk your way out of it. Your wit will become refined over the years that you will learn how to outwit nearly anyone you come across.
6. Accept that not everyone will get you
At times, some people will think that your jokes are slightly tasteless, but that is just because they are not on the same page as you are.
As a deadpan comedian, you do not set out to hurt anyone’s feelings, but you should really enjoy seeing how far you can push the envelope with comedy. Sometimes, people will take that the wrong way.
7. Turn disastrous situations into a goldmine
When someone fails spectacularly, says something awkward, or do something stupid, give fast quips about the situation.
A dry sense of humor is one of the most difficult styles of humor to master. However, you can become better at it by practicing, reading widely, and using disastrous situations to your advantage.