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How to Recover from a Bad Joke

How to Recover from a Bad Joke and Avoid All the Embarrassment

All of us have embarrassing moments when an attempt to strike at humor fails. So what can you do to save yourself the guilt and keep the moment going? When jokes give you a bad day, use these easy escapes to recover from a bad joke.
SocialMettle Staff
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
There are numerous instances when your bad joke makes you freeze. You know exactly what I am talking about, because all those moments must be flashing your memory by now. How to be funny and when to be funny have many aspects to it. It can be a date, when you try to impress your girl with some witty humor, or an official conference, meeting or a casual party, when you try smart humor that may twinkle a star for you. But sometimes, the timing, the pitch, or even the subject of the joke may go dull. And there it goes, bam! It falls flat back at you. At such times, claps and laughs seldom make an entry, all you can hear is the silence, perhaps the blank state of mind that your joke drowns the audience in. The listener/crowd just stares at you, trying to figure out the humor, or venting silly comments and admiring your stupidity. This is when you feel like a poor light bulb, that has just been switched off in embarrassment. Sweat and blush reminds you that you just created a moment so stupid, and all you want to do is save yourself, run away or vanish from the scene. Guys, humor even if failed is humor after all. Shying away is not the only solution, you can still get your ego saved after spilling a bad joke.

Tips to Help Recover From a Bad Joke

The following tips can help you save or at least minimize the damage created by a pale tickle on the funny bone. The next time you crack a joke that makes you feel like a nut, do not do things that will add to the embarrassment. Know what to say after a bad joke and also the dos and don'ts that can save you.

Never Blame the Listener/Audience
This is the last thing that you would want to do. Never, and literally Never blame your listener/audience, for being a lame head and not understanding the joke. You will simply invite more trouble. People will not only think you are silly at jokes, but will also think of you as a spoil sport, selfish individual.

Cover the Moment, Laugh It Off
OK. You know the words did not tickle. Now, do not show it on your face, think of covering up the embarrassment. Simply laugh it off, say something like, "Jeez, that sure is not funny at all, is it?" Now giggle or laugh, take care to help yourself from not looking like a maniac, laughing with no clue. This will not cover up your bad joke, it will take you deeper in embarrassment. Let it be natural, and easy as much. Make a joke about the joke that just crashed! The audience/listener will be pleased with your wit and casual outlook. Chances are, a little smile or giggles will finally show up.

Do Not Justify/Explain
Well, we agree that all jokes cannot be bad, but there are times when the timing misses a hit, or it may just be one of those days when it is cloudy and pouring. Your joke may be genuine, but if the audience fails to understand or catch the funny trail, do not attempt to explain what was the humor and why should they ideally laugh. Do not even try to repeat the joke again, hoping it will trigger giggles this time.

Backup and Disaster Management
Yes, you just choked everyone's laugh for the moment with a joke that bombed. Remember to be prepared with backup always. We mean, cover up the bad joke with a new joke. Do not stay put thinking of what happened. Move on, forget what happened, or pretend nothing happened and light up some really good humor this time. People will have no time to think or recall the stupid joke. And if it is your lucky day, people will enjoy the next joke. Result: the scene is clear of any embarrassment or guilt.

Change/Divert the Topic
This can also be related to telling a new joke immediately to cover up. But at times when you do not want to take the risk of another possible humorous blunder, change the topic. Discuss something that is immediately related to the subject. Say it's time for the drinks/dinner. Compliment your girl or the restaurant, if you are on a date, or simply let the moment dissolve in general talks. Not convincing? Well, but it works!

Acknowledge and Apologize
When the subject of the joke is a little personal or sensitive, that is the reason it fails. Make sure you admit it was a bad timing/joke. If it was addressed to any person or group, apologize and take control of the situation. Sometimes you may simply wave a humorous line to lift the moods or ease the tension, if any. In such cases people will understand, forgive and forget. Take charge of the bad joke you just cracked. Sure this will not completely help you erase that moment, but at least you are taking the blame. This will lighten up the grins and wriggles the audience has for you.

How to recover from a bad joke depends on how you handle the moment. Come on, be a sport, show humility. Not everyone is an expert at jokes and there are those bad days, when things get scattered. Take charge, remember we all are human, and everybody has experienced this at some point. Relax, just laugh it away!