5 reasons to include humour when storytelling
We all like a good joke.
They help us to relax and make us feel good.
And the neuroscience backs this up.
Laughter promotes the release of endorphins or ‘feel-good’ hormones in the brain. It has also been shown to reduce the volume of the two major stress hormones; cortisol and epinephrine.
This is why it is a powerful ally in storytelling. Here are 5 ways in which making your audience smile can have an impact:
1. It allows you to approach sensitive or difficult subjects
Think of a risqué comedian. Their observations would be highly controversial if they weren’t wrapped in the softening context of a joke? Shows like Will & Grace have used humour as a vehicle to break existing societal taboos because of its disarming effect.
2. It keeps your audience interested
Real life is not 100% serious all of the time. A sprinkling of laughter helps to ground your story and make it more believable. You would soon tire of a book or a film that was serious the entire time.
3. It makes your story more memorable
Think of all the funny one liners you can recall from your favourite movies. Happiness is one of the six key emotions, all of which are key in the formation of memories. Put simply, the greater the emotional impact of your story, the more likely your story is to be remembered.
4. It makes your characters more realistic
When tragic things happen in life, humour offers a way to ease the tension. It is not uncommon for a humorous anecdote to be told in a funeral speech for this exact reason.
5. It helps give rhythm to your story
A well told joke helps to give shape and rhythm by acting as a form of punctuation. It can signal to the reader that they’re coming to the end of certain phase of a story or even the beginning of a new one.
There’s a tendency to assume humour isn’t appropriate for telling certain stories, but it’s actually a brilliant technique for making your point more memorable and encouraging trust in you as the storyteller. So the next time you're telling a story add some humour and let us know how it goes.