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John Vorhaus at Radiodays Europe 2015 in Milan

What’s the secret to being funny?

“There is no secret to being funny” - that’s the message form John Vorhaus, an author and international creative consultant.

John presented an engaging and hilarious presentation sharing his view that all it takes to be funny is a willingness to risk and a few tools. 


He immediately started with his view that “comedy is truth and pain”. It can be painful taking a risk and telling a joke. Especially if it doesn’t work. But then again 9 out of 10 ideas don’t work!


John argued that the key to comedy on any medium, especially on radio, is to use a “clash of context” and “exaggeration”. We ask what our character wants, and then see what we can provide to excite the situation. We then get an “inappropriate response” and a laugh from our audience. 


The importance of personality and intimacy in radio presentation is made clear, as an audience needs to feel comfortable to laugh. Great broadcasters make an audience feel emotionally connected. This in turn can make an audience laugh with them and at them, which is an important tool in making funny radio. 


Vorhaus emphasises that everyone can be funny, all it needs is practice. The most important aspect of being funny is “the will to risk”. He pushes the point - if you don’t try, you will never know.