Positive humor is telling jokes and funny stories. It makes people laugh and lowers tension. And it makes you happier, more attractive, and better at work.

Negative humor does the opposite. Sarcasm and ridicule downgrade others. And self-deprecating humor downgrades yourself.

A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.

-Dwight Eisenhower



How can you become funnier faster? Try a simple system called reductio ad absurdum. It’s Latin for “to reduce to the absurd”.


A reductio joke follows this pattern:


You don’t need no gun control. You know what you need? We need some bullet control. Man, we need to control the bullets, that’s right. I think all bullets should cost $5,000. $5,000 for a bullet. You know why? ‘Cause if a bullet costs $5,000 there’d be no more innocent bystanders. That’d be it. Every time someone gets shot, people will be like, “Damn, he must have did something.”

-Chris Rock


Schneider M, Voracek M, Tran US. (2018). “A joke a day keeps the doctor away?” Meta-analytical evidence of differential associations of habitual humor styles with mental health. Scand J Psychol. 59(3): 289–300.

Hall JA. (2017). Humor in romantic relationships: A meta-analysis. Pers Rel. 24(2): 306–322.

Mesmer-Magnus J, Glew DJ, Viswesvaran C. (2012). A meta-analysis of positive humor in the workplace. J Manag Psychol. 27(2): 155–190.

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