I’ve been traveling a lot lately and I haven’t gotten a chance to check the old Pop Art mailbag. So instead of my advice this week you’ll get a special treat. An exclusive sneak preview of my forthcoming non-existent book, “Art Tebbel’s Rules For Being Funny at Parties.” I hope you like it.
Rule #68 – Control your buzz. As mentioned above you want people to laugh with you and not at you. People laugh with a funny partygoer; they laugh at a fall down, puking drunk. Have a couple, loosen up, and then clamp it down. Resist peer pressure. Prepare a few funny rejoinders to attempts to give you more beer. Not to write your jokes for you but I want to point out that beer rhymes with queer and that cocktail contains the word cock.
Rule #69 – Never do unicycle humor. I’m not sure why but it never works. You’d probably do better going after almost any other kind of circus performer. Unicyclists just aren’t funny. As with many rules in this book there is an exception to this one. “He was backpedaling faster than a unicyclist that made a racist joke.” Seems to be a pretty fantastic line.
Rule #70 – Don’t repeat. The temptation to come up with a couple good bits and circulate around the party is a strong one but you must resist. There’re a number of pitfalls that lie down this path that might not be immediately obvious. First and foremost is the increasing likelihood that you will repeat your material to the same person. This is a disaster. You will instantly go from charming partygoer to hack-y stand-up comic. You also run the risk of losing enthusiasm as the night goes on, then your jokes sound like a chore. Be fresh and off the cuff; you and your audience will be happier that way.
Rule #71 – Bail early; bail often. Parties last a long time don’t get stuck talking to the same pack of boring morons for too long (remember Rule #26 everyone is a boring moron). Keep moving around so you appear fresh and spontaneous. A good funny guest is a lot like Batman, he strikes unexpectedly, he disappears without being noticed and after two and a half hours everyone talks about how cool he is.
Rule #72 – Do not arrange the murder of your parents. No matter how much I venerate Batman in this text it just isn’t worth the emotional turmoil and messy police involvement. It also isn’t very funny. Maybe if you can think of a really good joke. No not then either.