Turns out you really can laugh someone into bed (although it’s probably just as easy to laugh them out of it, but that’s one for another day).

A recent study by the University of Kansas found that the more effort a man makes to be funny, and the more laughter he gets in response, the better his chances of long-term love. Providing it’s done the right way.

A similar study by the department also proved that humour in the workplace ensures you’re perceived as more competent and confident than more haughty colleagues. But again, only if it’s done the right way.

Despite all its studies, science is yet to prove just what ‘the right way’ is. Are giggles something that can be quantified and boiled down to numbers and stats? Probably not.

To work out what will get you ahead (and not dumped or fired), we spoke to professional comedian Matt Richardson to get the low-down on how to make people laugh in four of the most common ‘quick, tell a joke’ situations.

At Work

It’s boring, but it’s true – offices comprise different people with different sensitivities. In the Virgin Radio office (I’m on 4-7pm every weekday, thanks for asking) we all make each other laugh constantly. Puns seem to be a common staple – puns rarely offend anyone. Jokes at the expense of the boss are also good (but only if he or she is a good sport and isn’t in the room).

Whatever you do, don’t over do it with the jokes – everyone hates that guy. If you’re reading this thinking ‘no-one over does the banter in our office’ – it’s you. Stop it now.

Laughing in the office

On A Date

Out of all the situations it’s required to be funny in, this is hands-down the trickiest. If it’s the first date, you’ll have absolutely no idea what makes them laugh. Do they have the same sense of humour as you? You just don’t know.

Anyone who says funny is the number one quality they look for in a date hasn’t had someone pummelling them with jokes for the entirety of a dinner at some chain restaurant. Be self-deprecating, but not too much – laughter turns into pity shockingly quickly.

Laughing on a date

Public Speaking

If a speech involves a specific subject or is specific to a group of people (i.e. you’re doing a presentation on mildew prevention to a room of mildew experts) then go hard on the in-jokes. Tell any stories of things that have happened to you relating to the topic that might be funny. This is probably the one and only time to tell that anecdote, so milk it.

Keep in mind that pretty much everyone hates public speaking (apart from comedians, we love it). Everyone in the room will be relieved that you’re the one in this horrific situation. As a result, they’re likely to throw you a friendly chuckle whatever you say, so just concentrate on getting the words out before trying to be funny.

Public speaking

Online

Don’t even try. Someone, somewhere, will take offence. Twitter is to comedy what fire is to wood. Tinder is to easy conversational banter what a Lion is to a Zebra. I wish there was a ‘this is a joke, don’t be so prissy’ emoji. I really do. Whatever the scientists say on this one, avoid.

Matt Richardson’s tour takes place in September, 2017 across the UK. Tickets are available at mattrichardsoncomedy.co.uk.

Matt Richardson