PRUFROCK451, MASTER OF HUMOUR, PRESENTS:
HOW TO BE GODDAMNED HILARIOUS
Well, maybe not.
A big part of being funny is confidence, and a big part of being confident is knowing where your strengths lie. Jack Benny could charge ahead and tell an awful joke, because he knew that he could nail the timing. He could make the material work. So he took the chance. Dennis Miller can go off on a tangent and weave together a slew of references no sane human would spend the time to understand, but he understands that his snarky nasal monotone is FUNNY when it rattles off a ten-sentence monstrosity.
Therefore- Know your strengths. Charge ahead and trust your audience to keep up. 90% of the work is just getting up and grabbing the microphone. People are predisposed to laugh, to listen. Just convince them you're worth listening to. They'll come around. Hell, it made Roseanne Barr rich.
Another important comedy rule- the rule of three. Hegel called this thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. I call it COMEDY. Observe:
"Your wife and your sister." Not funny.
"Your wife, your sister, and the milkman." FUNNY.
"Your wife, your sister, the milkman, and Rowdy Roddy Piper." See? It feels strained. Not as funny.