What Makes a Good Joke?

Fair Humor

Did you hear the one about…?

Some people tell a joke and everybody laughs. Other jokes go flat or even make people mad. How do you decide which jokes are OK and which might offend someone?

Know your audience. A joke may be funny to some people but not to others. The kind of joke a guy tells his guy friends might not go over well in a group that includes both guys and girls.

Be careful about jokes that make fun of religions, people’s race or their country. Sometimes one of these jokes can be OK if you make it about your own group and you are with other members of that group. The same joke, told by someone of another group might be offensive. For example, a Polish person might tell a Polish joke to other Poles, but if a German person told the same joke, the Polish person might get offended.

Don’t tell jokes that make fun of another person’s physical or mental characteristics. Even smart people may not like being called “the brain”.

Be careful about where, when and how much you tell sexual jokes. Just saying a crude word really isn’t a witty, original joke. You didn’t make up the word, did you? And never, never tell sex jokes about someone you’ve been dating.

OK so what is funny? What makes really clever humor? The best jokes are often those that put ideas together in original or unexpected ways. Jokes making fun of yourself can calm down a tense situation. Clever puns are great in moderation. If you are a gifted punster and you deliver dozens of rapid- fire puns, people stop laughing and start to groan and roll their eyes. Some people make up funny rhymes to help themselves remember history dates or astronomy assignments. Some people are talented at delivering an ironic joke deadpan. (with a straight face) It can be fun to watch how long it takes various people to figure out that you just made a joke.

Northern County Psychiatric Associates


Our practice has experience in the treatment of Attention Deficit disorder (ADD or AD/HD), Depression, Separation Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and other psychiatric conditions.

We are located in Northern Baltimore County and serve the Baltimore County, Carroll County and Harford County areas in Maryland. Since we are near the Pennsylvania border, we also serve the York County area.

Our services include psychotherapy, psychiatric evaluations, medication management, and family therapy. We treat children, adults, and the elderly.