When people think of introverts, “funny” may not immediately come to mind. The truth is, it’s a common introvert superpower.
One of my favorite things to do as an introvert is to challenge what people believe about introverts — and prove to them that their preconceived notions about us are false. For example, I like to show them that misconceptions like all introverts are shy aren’t necessarily true.
The one thing that seems to surprise people the most is that a lot of introverts have a killer sense of humor.
I started out doing improv comedy, then added in sketch and stand-up comedy, and I even won stand-up comedy contests. But… all in all, the lifestyle wasn’t for me. It was full of too many late-night shows, traveling, and not enough money.
I still enjoy telling funny stories or writing humorous essays. As with any introvert, there are many sides to my personality, and I can be serious and profound one minute then tell an embarrassingly hilarious story the next.
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Introverts Typically Appreciate All Kinds of Humor
We “quiet ones” are all different as individuals, so we appreciate different types of humor, whether it’s physical comedy or cerebral humor. Many introverts, like me, work in comedy or share their fantastic sense of humor with others in their day-to-day lives.
Some introverts fall into performance comedy to help them lessen their social anxiety, but once they start learning how to develop and sharpen their comedy skills, they may find they love being able to make people laugh. Humor is yet another outlet for expressing their creative and clever personalities.
I can’t list all the famous comedians who are introverts, but some of them include Jerry Seinfeld, Amy Schumer, and Steve Martin — and countless others. If you think about it, many traits we correctly attribute to introverts are what make them funny writers, performers, and people.
Here are eight reasons why it shouldn’t be surprising that many introverts have an incredible sense of humor.
8 Reasons Why Introverts Have an Incredible Sense of Humor
1. They are observant and can think outside the box.
What’s one of the biggest skills comedians have? The ability to pay attention and take notice of things other people miss. Introverts pay close attention to details so nothing escapes them.
Observational comedy is a type of humor that is based on the regular aspects of everyday life. It’s the “Have you ever noticed” kind of joke. The comedian starts with something familiar that the audience can relate to and then flips it on its head.
Another aspect of this humor, and why many introverts are so good at it, is the creativity involved. Instead of making an A-to-B connection, introverts tap into their innovative brains and make an A-to-D association — and that’s where the humor comes in. The joke goes somewhere unexpected. Introverts don’t feel pressure to think on the spot like everyone else, which gives them the freedom to try new things and create their own rules. (And, of course, they’ve prepared all their material in advance!)
2. Despite their “quiet” personalities, they can be brilliant conversationalists who know how to keep people entertained.
Introverts have interesting things to say, but they don’t need to be the ones doing all the talking all of the time. They’re great listeners, and because many of them are intelligent, they’re also able to not only hear what’s being said, but they can also comprehend the meaning behind what the person doesn’t say. This ability to “read the room” — and pick up on people’s body language — is something that comedians need to have so they can gear their material to their audience. Introverts just do this instinctually.
And introverts don’t talk only to hear their own voices. They may not be constantly talking, but when they do say something, it tends to be engaging and thought-provoking. People tend to come away from talking with an introvert as feeling seen.
3. They are often self-aware, and that awareness can lead to great comic material.
One of the best qualities a person can have is the ability not to take themselves too seriously. Most introverts know themselves well, and they’re honest about their weaknesses and their strengths. They have a deep understanding of human nature, and it’s their humanity that makes them hilarious.
Some funny people may enjoy self-deprecating humor (humor that makes fun of themselves). But introverts know a little self-deprecating humor goes a long way, and too much can come off as not funny, but pathetic.
It’s okay to make someone have sympathy for you. But if they’re too worried about your well-being, then that takes away all the humor.
Many introverts know to strike a balance between humor that’s self-aware and humor that reflects equally on all humanity. For instance, stand-up comedian Mark Normand does this well and often talks about being an introvert in his material.
As unique as introverts are, so is their humor. Some may be sarcastic or cynical, while others may have a sly wit or share their humorous side by telling personal stories with amusing vocal inflections and facial expressions.
I have a friend who doesn’t try to be funny at all, but just is funny without meaning to be. When she says something hilarious, she’s as surprised as anyone else, and that’s what makes it even funnier.
Honesty is an important element of humor, and many introverts are self-aware enough to be honest with themselves and others. There’s a comedy rule that states, “Only the truth is funny.” It doesn’t mean every single word of a funny story or joke has to be 100 percent funny. Rather, it means there has to be a kernel of truth in every bit, so the reader (or audience member or friend) has something to hang onto.
Do you dream of being witty and funny?
Even if you’re usually the “quiet one,” you have a playful side — you just need to learn how to access it. Our partner Michaela Chung can teach you how to tell hilarious stories and to be funny in conversation and over text (even if you tend to overthink things and feel self-conscious in social situations). Click here to check out her online workshop, How to Be Funny in Conversation Without Trying Too Hard.
4. They love writing, which tends to be a solo act.
Any kind of writing involves sitting your butt down on a chair (or standing at a desk) and writing. You need to have focus, drive, and patience to be a good writer. Writing humor is one of the most difficult types of writing, because you have to start with a natural ability to be funny, then know when (and when not) to use the comedy rules.
While there are certainly comedy writing teams, even then, they may write separately and only come together at certain times.
I believe that introverts make the best writers, and when their comedy-writing talent is developed, their writing is masterful. They enjoy being by themselves and working alone. Any stand-up set, story in a storytelling show, or script usually needs to be written first before it’s performed — and that’s perfect for the introvert.
5. They tend to be smart and able to see the humor in situations.
Let’s look at satire, which is defined as the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices. This is particularly common in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues. You can’t make fun of something if you don’t understand it in the first place.
Some people laugh in tense situations, even when it’s not appropriate. The reason is that laughter is a stress-reliever, and it can be a coping mechanism. Yet introverts are able to go beyond the obvious and find the humor beneath the surface, which may help them deal with a stressful situation or person. (This is similar to how introverts prefer deep talk to small talk.)
6. They enjoy learning new things and sharing their knowledge with others.
I had an improv teacher who insisted that improvisers not only be educated, but that they needed to be up on all current events, popular culture, and media. If you’re performing in an improv show, and another person starts a scene making a reference to something — and you don’t know what they’re talking about — it can be a problem.
Also, telling the same stale jokes over and over again, and making references to things that happened so long ago that no one remembers what you’re talking about, will remove the funny right out of them.
So, because a lot of introverts are life-long learners, they keep things fresh, and they enjoy sharing what they know with others. Sometimes the best way to get your message across is with humor.
7. They can be fantastic communicators and enjoy expressing themselves (when they are comfortable, that is).
Comedians, like any creative person, need an outlet to express themselves, and sometimes that outlet is a stand-up show. It allows introverts to reveal themselves in a safe way.
If you think about it, it’s not really so strange for an introvert to stand onstage and talk. As the aforementioned comedian Mark Normand says about why a stand-up set is so good for introverts: “[It’s a] one-sided conversation that’s been pre-written and rehearsed over and over. If one of you guys talk, you get thrown out [of the venue].” Now that sounds like heaven for an introvert, right?
8. They are born comics.
You can teach someone how to tell a joke, timing, and even do physical comedy, but having a sense of humor can’t be taught or faked.
While it may seem as if extroverts are more likely to have a fantastic sense of humor, the truth is, just as many, if not more, introverts seem to be professional comedians, stand-ups, improvisers, and comedy and humor writers.
People may have false images of introverts as humorless people who wouldn’t know a witty remark if it bit them on the nose — but they couldn’t be more wrong. Many introverts have a highly developed sense of humor, whether they use it to tell jokes on stage, at the family dinner table, or in an email to a coworker.
You might like:
- 5 Reasons Introverts Will Love (and Benefit From) Improv
- 7 Strengths Introverts Should Recognize in Themselves
- 12 Things Introverts Absolutely Need in Life to Be Happy
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