How Do People Come up With Funny Sayings?


Quick Answer

Stand-up comedians like George Carlin use personal observation or life experience about a topic to make a funny point and then structure that saying so it starts with a setup that gives context and ends in the punchline that gets the laugh. They also often rely on puns, alliteration, hyperbole and other grammatical structures that make the saying or joke easier to understand and remember.

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Full Answer

Josie Long of the Guardian also recommends being as economical as possible when trying to say something funny. Unnecessary words often make a joke or funny saying run longer than it needs to, and the humor is often lost because timing is essential to comedy.

Funny sayings are also frequently adapted from other jokes or phrases that came before them. Comedians are almost always influenced by other comedians. Kevin Hart lists Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy and Jerry Seinfeld among his influences, so their jokes and ways of phrasing things affected how he delivers jokes, observations and funny sayings in his own act.

Some jokes or funny sayings are follow-ups to previous punchlines. Creating a Comic identifies these as "tags" or "toppers." A tag is a punchline that builds upon or plays off of an earlier joke. A skilled comedian often uses multiple tags off of the original punchline to generate numerous laughs off of a single joke, saying or premise.

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