Instant Improver

How to deliver a gag

There are some things we want to inherit from our dads: his DIY skills, his wisdom, his house. His ability to tell a joke is not one of them. Fortunately, stand-up comedian Tim Vine, whose book The Best Ever Tim Vine Joke Book is out now, is on hand to tell you how to crack a one-liner.

“Know the gag. You don’t want to get halfway through it and have to start again.

“Face the audience. If you stare at your shoes they might think you’re telling the joke to your shoes.

“Avoid using words in the set-up which are in the punchline. If your punchline is, ‘The vicar was driving the combine harvester,’ it’s best not to start the joke with, ‘This vicar was driving acombine harvester…’

“Be audible. Mumbling is not advisable. You are aiming for a laugh at the end of your joke not a shout of ‘pardon?’

“Front it out. This is the most important rule. Telling jokes is 75 per cent confidence. The fact is you can get away with all manner of nonsense if you look like you mean it. So after you have told your joke, adopt a weird stance, raise an eyebrow and wait for the wall of laughs to hit you.”

(Image: Rex Features)