How To Make People Laugh Using False Assumptions

18 Sep 2018

How To Make People Laugh Using False Assumptions

Humour is often based on creating false assumptions

Assumptions (also called presuppositions) are part of language and being a good coach involves being able to identify and challenge those assumptions. The comedian (or joke teller) on the other hand, lures you down a pathway that requires you to make certain assumptions, but then trips you up along the way, with an unexpected punchline that proves your assumption was incorrect. The humour is created because of your false assumptions.

false assumptions

Here’s an example:

“My wife was at the beauty shop for two hours. That was only for the estimate. She got a mudpack and looked great for two days. Then the mud fell off.”

See how the first sentence ‘leads’ you to make certain assumptions? The the second sentence (the punch line) destroys those assumptions. The third sentence again leads you in a certain direction  (to create a new assumption) and the last sentence introduces a new way of looking at things, thus creating the humour or the joke.

Here are some more

You can just laugh at the jokes, look at the underlying structure to see what makes them funny — or both!

A very old man went to the doctors complaining of his bowel movements. The doctor asked him to define the problem. He said, “Well, doctor, I have a bowel movement at 7.30 every morning.”
The doctor replied, “Well, Mr Smith most men of your age would be pleased to have such regular bowel movements. How is it a problem for you?”
“I don’t get up until 8.00!” said the man.


Oh, OK then!
Tom had this problem of getting up late in the morning and was always late for work. His boss was mad at him and threatened to fire him if he didn’t do something about it. So Tom went to his doctor who gave him a pill and told him to take it before he went to bed.

Tom slept well and in fact beat the alarm in the morning. He had a leisurely breakfast and drove cheerfully to work. “Boss,” he said, “The pill actually worked!”
“That’s all fine” said the boss. “But where were you yesterday?”

A woman gets on a bus with her baby.

The bus driver says: ”Ugh, that’s the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen!” The woman walks to the rear of the bus and sits down, fuming. She says to a man next to her: ”The driver just insulted me!”
The man says: ”You go up there and tell him off. Go on, I’ll hold your monkey for you.”

My husband was hinting at what he wanted for his 50th birthday.

He said, “I want something shiny that goes from 0 to 200 in about 2 seconds.”
I bought him some bathroom scales.
And then the fight started …..


Arcelor-Mittal Steel, feeling it was time for a shakeup, hired a new CEO. The new boss was determined to rid the company of all slackers. On a tour of the facilities, the CEO noticed a guy leaning against a wall. The room was full of workers and he wanted to let them know that he meant business. He asked the guy, “How much money do you make a week?”

A little surprised, the young man looked at him and said, “I make $400 a week. Why?”

The CEO said, “Wait right here.” He walked back to his office, came back in two minutes, and handed the guy $1,600 in cash and said, “Here’s four weeks’ pay. Now GET OUT and don’t come back..” Feeling pretty good about himself, the CEO looked around the room and asked, “Does anyone want to tell me what that goof-ball did here?”

From across the room a voice said, “Pizza delivery guy from Domino’s.”

Prostate exam

An older gentleman had an appointment to see the urologist for a prostate exam. Of course, he was a bit on edge because some of his friends had undergone the same procedure.

The waiting room was filled with patients.

As he approached the receptionist’s desk, he noticed that she was a large, unfriendly woman who looked like a Sumo wrestler.
He gave his name, and in a very loud voice, she said, YES, I HAVE YOUR NAME HERE. YOU WANT TO SEE THE DOCTOR ABOUT IMPOTENCE, RIGHT?

All the patients in the waiting room snapped their heads around to look at him — a now very embarrassed man. But he recovered quickly, and in an equally loud voice replied,

The room erupted in applause.

So, did you spot all the false assumptions?