20140509, Harvey Chen, (On the Right Stage – C6)

C6-Laugh out Loud

Harvey Chen

Can everyone hear me? Good evening everyone, my name is Harvey Chen. It’s my third year in NTU toastmaster, and meanwhile, I’m also a member in xiangsheng club, or in English, that is cross-talk club. So beside a toastmaster, I’m also a cross-talk comedian. A cross-talk comedian is the one who seek the answer for a question all his life long, that is: what makes people laugh? This question sounds really easily. Funny things make us laugh, sense of humor makes us laugh. That’s it. But, is there anything in common among all these funny things? (Is there a perfect joke, no matter when, no matter how, no matter what, can always make audience laugh? Or is there existing an undiscovered bio signal can exactly cause an emotion called laugh? )


See? After a long, tedious paragraph, a hilarious laughter surprisingly bump out and let the whole room bursting into laughter. It is the “surprise” makes us laugh out loud.

Of course, not all surprise makes us laugh. On your way home, if surprisingly find you step on slimy, you may frown and bow the head, gently raise your foot, try to confirm whether it happen and “Oh………..shit.” Such a surprise absolutely won’t make you laugh. In fact, it has to be “surprising happiness”. So, the question becomes  simpler: what makes you happy?

Well, maybe a blessing for a couple makes you happy, so it makes sense why we always laugh out loud upon seeing such a romantic photo. In general, I call it happiness itself make us happy. That explain why laughter is contagious. A man is laughing means he’s happy, you find he’s happy, then you are happy. So a surprising laughter cause surprising happiness, and then, you laugh.

The second things making people happy is really common, that is “understanding”. So a “surprising but understandable” event is a key point to make people laugh, or professionally, we’ll call it “unexpected but acceptable”. Mimicking is a typical application of this principle. With proper body language, mimicking can effectively convey your ideas to audience. Once they surprisingly catch up what you mean, they laugh. Remember I pretend to step on a shit before? I believe all of you could understand what I was doing easily, but not until I surprisingly shouted out did you start to laugh.

In the contrast, if I was the only one had step on a shit before, nobody would laugh. So please make sure your audience can understand material used in your joke. How to ensure it? Well, I think I have an answer in previous example, which is this picture. More directly, your material should depend on occasion. Here is NTU toastmaster. Most people know Claire and Ivan, so making fun of them make us laugh. However, if some guest were not familiar with them, they’ll feel nothing but confused. At such situation, you can take previous part in your speech as the new material.(…) If audience haven’t forgotten such part, they may laugh as well.

The third things make us happy is “stupidity”. And we always “teasing” at stupid things. We tease the clown who falls down the ball, tease your friend who step on a shit, and tease at politician who seem sunflower as banana. What’s more, have you ever notice that, at the embarrassing moment that nobody laughing at your joke, just an unconscious ‘’OK, it’s not funny’’ can let the whole room bursting into laughter? That’s the power of stupidity!

Till now, I have mention 3 things make people happy. They are happiness, understanding, and stupidity. Plus a little surprise, they can magically let your audience laugh out loud. In the end of my speech, let me analysis why a cellphone can be so funny. First, speaker’s cellphone ringing abruptly during his speech is really stupid. Second, I use a contagious laughter as my cellphone ring. Third, such a laughter is from brook, the funny character in one piece, and you may catch up it. All in all, hope you enjoy my speech tonight, and your laughter is the best price not only for a comedian but also for a speaker.

Contest Chair.



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