Estimated Time: 3 minutes
Regarding Comedy and building connections in dating & life:
I have always had a very dark sense of humour, more often than not it got me into trouble. However, as of late I have realized that if you are assertive and authoritative enough, you can get away with murder when making jokes. You can say something that in other instances would get you slapped and they will love you all the more, it’s something I had yet to understand fully, but it yielded results so I didn’t question it.
That being said, it always bugged me that there were certain jokes which you cannot make under any situation, or you risk upsetting people – regardless of what your frame is. This haunted me until just now where I was watching an HBO special with multiple comedians discussing comedy, in it Chris Rock says that the key for a joke not to be evil is to be directed at people’s actions, not who they are.
This realization blew my mind on multiple levels. Firstly, it shows that there is a disconnect between the actions one does and that which we perceive to be our identity – you may accept you do something stupid, but you would find it difficult to accept that you are stupid, for example. Secondly, it shows how we build connections when conversing with someone. What people do is visible to the public eye, and thus it is open to critique. Everyone in society implicitly accepts this, and thus they aren’t all that bothered when someone playfully insults that aspect.
The ego, who people truly are, on the other hand, is a completely different beast. If you attack it, you are going directly against someone’s core, this area is not up for debate. In other words, what people truly consider themselves, is layered behind a thick, protective wall that is prone to lash out when attacked. Nevertheless, if you don’t penetrate this obstacle, you’re just seeing the superficial, unimportant levels in a person.
It thus stands to reason that to go beyond acquaintances, and achieve something meaningful with someone you need to find a way to move past what they do, commonly known as small talk, and delve into who they are without seeming like you’re judging them (which inadvertently is another attack on their core). This is why everyone from salesmen to pickup gurus advocate using open ended questions, emphasising how someone feels about something rather than on cold, hard facts. Indirectly, this technique shows you who people truly are by discussing their actions, they open up their inner self to you. Because of this, you could literally talk about anything, content is absolutely irrelevant as the main factor of importance is to create a connection.
Comedians often strategically use swears to heighten a point, and make it funnier. It’s not because of the meaning of the word, nor an inherent funniness in the word as to why we laugh. It’s because the words might remind us of moments where we felt such frustration and thus we can connect with what is being discussed more, which means we find it funnier. Swear words are emotional levers, which cause a spike in emotions being felt. A charismatic person can use these to their advantage by making you feel empathy for them. By simple virtue that we build a connection with the comedian it automatically means that we view him as an overall better person, due to the halo effect, even when objectively he has done anything particularly exciting.
I believe that we can trigger these connections with language. Curse words are the simplest examples, but they can be very subtle changes on how we phrase things, which may yield radically different results. If you’re interested in a discussion of such language, I’d suggest this talk though be warned that the speaker seems to think that there’s something inherently persuasive in the phrases in and of themselves which make them successful, and not the thoughts of social judgement, empathy, or connections they create on the listener.
All in all, I believe that the rules of comedy are very similar to those of attraction, and it is this reason for why women claim they want a funny man – not because of the humour. Having humour is merely a byproduct of being able to create a connection and create novelty, where there appears to be none. It is thus my belief that by far the most important factors both attraction and comedy are:
1. The ability to create empathetic connections
2. The ability create novelty in mundane situations, thus making it unnecessary to keep the girl entertained via artificial means like money and cars.
3. A strong lens by which you view reality
I must stress that I’m talking about doing comedy/attraction from a place of strength though. Louis C.K. is hilarious, but we usually laugh at him because he’s pathetic, not because he’s using his charisma and strong worldview to make you cross boundaries you never thought you would. We may laugh at someone’s momentary misfortune, but prolong it, and it just becomes a sad sight to see. We rarely, if ever, respect them, and it rarely causes you to change your view on life, other than thinking that you’re glad you’re not them. On the other hand, we have George Carlin who is a perfect example of someone who manages to create a connection, by deliberately sidestepping all niceties, and instead, he uses the new connection he created to make you feel and think stuff you hadn’t expected you would.
Truth is, women don’t want a clown. Nobody really loves clowns, people tolerate clowns. They want someone who will take their reality, flip it upside down, but still knowing they’re in safe hands when under the man’s influence, that’s where empathetic connections come in.
The world can be a boring place, we require stimulation and novelty. If you restrict yourself to only speaking in terms of factual information, you’re doing yourself and your listener a disservice. Let go of reality, and use this opportunity to craft a world of your own design – a world where fairies and monsters can exist, where only you and the person that you’re interacting with exist, alongside any creature you care to bring into it. Use the absurd and insane to create an environment to explore taboo ideas. That’s what she will remember, when you opened the door to a universe of infinite possibilities where she could explore every aspect of who she is with childlike innocence and no judgement.
… and that my dear readers is, in my opinion, what women want!
What’s your favourite comedian and why?
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Additionally, if you’re interested in the first part of this series, you can start here