Humour must be delivered assertively to be effective:
- with precision
- with confidence
- with speed
- with practise
Calculate the precise wording. Learn it and stick to it. Humour is a delicate creature: if you get one word wrong it will probably die. So treat every gag like a sacred text: used precisely it will lead you to the Holy Grail of laughter.
You can have no doubts. You can only use a gag that you know is funny. If there is even a hint that you are unsure about the gag the audience will sniff it out and you will achieve a crushing silence, or patronizing polite smiles. Total conviction is essential: no guts, no glory.
I don’t necessarily mean high speed. But there can be no stumbles or hesitation as you drive towards the payoff line. The pace of your delivery should be just a smidgeon faster than non-funny presentational material.
More than any other type of presentational performance, humour delivery is a sport… and one that should be played a great deal in private before you unleash your skills on an unsuspecting public. Practise with a hand-held tape recorder. When you have practised so much that a given gag no longer seems funny you are ready for combat.