Ellen Degeneres is one of the most likeable hosts on television and it’s largely due to the types of the jokes she makes. Almost every host is funny but Ellen’s style of comedy has a way of it instantly endearing her guests to her. With… Where will you raise the boy? (laughs) You are funny, Ellen. So today we’re going to talk about the most common types of jokes that Ellen makes, how you can use those jokes to get people to immediately like you, and some habits that you can work on to generally be funnier and more positive throughout your day. So let’s start with the obvious — since Ellen is at her core a comedienne, her jokes. Here’s an example of the typical joke that Ellen might crack. Robyn, when were you born? What year? ’88. ’88? 1988. Yeah. I’ve shoes that are, like, from ’88. (audience laughs) I still have a couple of vests that I wear from ’88. (laughs) But we could talk about Ellen’s style of understated humor and how that’s different from someone like Jim Carey, but what’s most important here is to note that Ellen’s jokes don’t hurt anyone. So often when the people in our lives crack jokes, the room laughs but someone there feels crappy — that person is the butt of the joke. For an example of this, check out one of the few times that I actually saw Ellen actually make a joke at someone’s expense. …and I have to say, one of the most amazing Liza Minnelli impersonator I have ever seen in my entire life is the… really, seriously… (audience applauds) good job, sir. I mean, that is really… (audience laughs) You can tell by the grimace that Liza Minnelli doesn’t feel particularly good about that joke. Now, luckily, Ellen doesn’t crack that type of joke often but it does serve as a good reminder. Consistently making jokes where there is a loser might make people laugh in the moment but it’s going to alienate someone and if you do that often enough, you’re going to alienate most everyone and that’s good to keep in mind because that’s how a lot of us are especially with our friends. Let’s look at what Ellen does instead. First off, she makes herself the butt of some of her jokes often comparing herself unfavorably to her guests. This is classic self-deprecating humor and is what was going on in that first Rihanna clip. I’ve shoes that are, like, from ’88. (audience laughs) I still have a couple of vests that I wear from ’88. And the same thing is going on here where Ellen jokes about how similar she is to Malala. If you don’t know who Malala is, she won the Nobel Peace Prize at age 17 making her the youngest recipient ever. We want them to take action, we want them to do something and it’s important that you highlight it to them. Yes, exactly. (audience applauds) Eighteen years old. Eighteen years old, I was very similar to this. (audience laughs) An important side note is that when we’re breaking down a joke, the literal words are less important than the subtext because the subtext is often opposite to what someone is literally saying — that’s what makes it a joke. For example, Ellen’s word said that she is like Malala but we all understand the subtext to be that Ellen was nothing like Malala at age 18. We also understand that to be a compliment. She’s saying how mature and inspiring Malala is at only 18 years old. Here’s another example of a different joke. See if you can identify the subtext here. Ellen: That’s lovely.
Jennifer: It’s a really good feeling. And getting a deep breath. Yeah, yeah. That’s the most important thing too. Especially when you have bronchitis like me right now. (audience laughs) Sorry. I was like, “Come on, — Yeah. — let’s have more fun with it.” Oh! (laughs) (audience laughs) There’s no words to this joke but the subtext might be something like, “Jennifer is sick and I don’t want her to touch me.” Now, this joke is technically at Jennifer Lopez’s expense. After all, not wanting her to touch you is in the subtext. But this particular joke is harmless. It’s not going to alienate anybody because most people are not insecure about being sick. Why? Well, as a rule of thumb, people are unlikely to be insecure about things that are either temporary, common or not core to their identity. They are likely to be more insecure about things that are permanent, uncommon or core to their identity. So this joke works and doesn’t upset anybody because even though J. Lo is the butt of it, it’s not something that J. Lo is likely to get upset about. You can call this type of joke “poking fun.” So let’s check out another joke with the same kind of structure and again, see if you can identify the subtext. Stay in school. I’m sure these people went to college. I mean, Amy Adams, you went to college, right? No. Okay, we’ll let… who cares? (audience laughs) The subtext of the first bit is that Amy didn’t go to college. And again, this falls into the category of poking fun. It’s something that she’s unlikely to be insecure about because she is a wildly successful actress. Now, this is important — If she had not yet made it and was seriously doubting whether or not she had made the right choice to skip college, this joke might have stung. It might have upset her identity and in that case, it would have been a bad idea. So context matters. There’s also a second joke that Ellen cracks. The subtext of the second one was that Amy is nominated twice for an Oscar. That’s actually a subtext that builds her up. Hear this one here really quickly. You’re an amazing actress. You’re nominated, not one, but two nominated films tonight that you were in. That’s just… (audience applauds) That is so… what is the word for it… selfish, I guess. (audience laughs) This is the gold standard of jokes that create instant likeability. You can call them “ego boosters” because when you make people laugh while commenting on how successful, good-looking, kind or likeable they are, they will immediately like you and want to spend more time around you. So reflecting back on the time that you recently made people laugh, ask yourself. What kinds of jokes were you making? Were they self-deprecating, poking fun, ego boosters or you’re making jokes that had a loser? It’s important to know because the first three tend to improve relationships while jokes that have losers can actually be damaging to those relationships. And if you’re stumped, it’s possible that your jokes fall into a category of jokes that are just silly. These are jokes that make people laugh simply because they’re surprised to them. For example, you might have a play on words like this one. Uh, amazing performance and twelve years a slave, she is from Kenya, she is a Kenyan and Barkhad Abdi is here. He is nominated for a Captain Phillips. He’s from Somalia, he is a Somali so he knows a lot about wine and that is impressive. (audience laughs) Or could be just a random surprise like walking up behind someone while their rehearsing and making a bunch of noise. The end bla la la… Bla lalalala. (laughs) That’s probably what it would sound like. Did that mess you up? It’s exactly that. (laughs) Or simply making something preposterous up like Ellen does with Will Smith when she tells him that he has to finish hosting the Oscars for her. They said, they said, that you… I quit and you’re taking over? Wou– (laughs) Finish it for me. Listen, Ellen had to leave… We have opportunities to make these kinds of silly jokes all day long but I noticed that very few people actually do. Once people move through life on a kind of literal autopilot even though we usually all laugh when people are silly with us. So the big questions is — if silly is so much fun, why is it so difficult for some people and so easy for others? Why do some people always give the boring literal answer while others have an easier time being playful? Ellen provides a few clues which you can incorporate into your own life and these might seem random but a lot of the goofy things that she does on her show prime her to be playful for the rest of the day. For instance, there is the mint toss at the beginning of her show where she chucks a mint in the air and tries to catch it. …or not and because you make it look crazy easy. I mean, it’s insane. I’ve tried it before and it’s not as easy as you make it look. And I don’t even know why I started that. I just kind of love to have fun and sometimes I think, “Why am I doing that?” (audience laughs) Walk out and throw a mint in the air. And it’s sort of just a challenge for myself just to kind of start in a playful mood. There’s the constant dancing scene goofing off which is something her show has become famous for. And of course, the games that she plays with her guests. It was actually Ellen and her team that made the Heads Up app which was one of the most popular apps in the world for a while. (gibberish French) French. Yeah, yeah. (gibberish Swedish) (audience laughs) Get it? (laughs) (gibberish Swedish) Swedish! Yeah! Obviously, Ellen has the support of a talk show and a team to make all of these games into a larger-than-life reality but you can incorporate the lessons that Ellen gives into your own life and those will help make you more playful on a day-to-day basis. First, find a simple ritual like the mint toss that makes you smile. Do it the beginning of your day or prior to walking into any interaction. Second, move your body. You can literally dance. I’ve talked about this in tons of other videos which I’m going to link too but just trust me, the more expressive you are in your movements, the funnier and more positive you’re going to be in your conversations. And then third, find a way to bring actual games into your interactions. I admit, you cannot always do this in a professional environment but in the social world, you can whip out the Heads Up app on your phone if you find the conversation turning boring. I know it might sound silly but one round of that and it is amazing how people brighten up and open up conversationally. The point is, make sure to prime yourself to be playful. It’s because that Ellen has created a lifestyle that makes her more fun and positive all the time that she makes a really incredible first impression. But of course fun isn’t the only piece you need. If you want to consistently make a great first impression, there are four emotions that you want to hit in order. Most people totally get the order wrong even if they do hit the emotions, which is why they don’t always make a great first impression. If you’re curious about those four emotions and, more importantly, what order you need to hit them in, go ahead now and click the screen. It’s going to take you to another page where you drop your email and you can get access to a video that’s going to show you those emotions and the order that you need to hit them in so you can use it today. 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