The Anatomy of a Joke and Why You Laugh


The spoiler in me likes to take the fun out of things. Take magic, for example. We all know it’s trickery or illusion or slide of hand yet, we’re amazed every time we’re fooled. I’ve always made it a goal to dissect and figure out how a magician does what he does, and in today’s high speed Internet world, that’s not too difficult to do. I’ve learned some of those tricks and can even perform some of them. I simply love to find out what makes something tick!

Stand up comedy is no different. From the very beginning, I knew that stand up involved more than just a clever speaking person taking the stage with their sharp wit and humor. I knew they couldn’t just be “winging it”! So, I did what I’ve always done, I researched it. I found out why it is that we laugh at jokes! Without boring you with too much detail, here it is in it’s simplest terms:

A joke contains a set up and a punch.

The set up involves creating an assumption in your mind about something….anything…then

the punch SHATTERS that assumption…then

we laugh!

That’s it! That’s all there is to it! Take some of my original one-liners. They’re not necessarily classics, but they use the aforementioned formula to reach the final result… your laugh:

I like going to the library to check out books that teach you how to get out of debt. Then I forget to return the book and I get into more debt.

I’m against that new racist Arizona state law. That ANTI-MEXICAN LAW…  mandatory car insurance.

“Rich Dad Poor Dad” is a great financial self-help book. In the Latino community, we call it “Real Dad Step Dad”

They may not be gems, but if you mustered up a chuckle, my work here today is done!

Omar’s Patreon Site. Pledge your support!


Published by Omar Tarango

I am a father, company manager, and a stand up comic. Being a stand up comic is the least funniest of the three.

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