Do introverts make better comedians?

I think a lot about comedy.

Because of my job in Student Activities I’ve literally seen hundreds of comedians (many of whom I consider to be friends). I can honestly say I’ve lost hundreds of hours of my life to the art of comedy. Being around so many comedians has sharpened my own sense of humor and comedic timing, a skill I’ve been able to bring into my job and my personal life.

Last night, a group of friends and I met up to see Panic! At The Disco. We weren’t quite so successful at standing in front of the stage, but what resulted was better- six gays and a girl tossing comments, judgements and observations out at a wicked pace. It was on par with any comedy routine I’ve seen in the last 15 years. I laughed for two hours.

When I thought about the make-up of the group, it dawned on me a vast majority of the people at that table self-identify as introverts. There has been a growing discussion on #sachat about introverts. As an extrovert, I’ve been fairly quiet on the topic, choosing to read and digest rather than speak loudly (how un-extroverted of me). But for the first time, I thought about the differences between extroversion and introversion and how it played into my life.

So, what made the introverts at the table the funniest people?

  • Introverts speak less than their extroverted counterparts. When an introvert finally interjects, the comment/joke has more weight.
  • Because introverts speak less, the comments are funnier. They’ve mentally omitted the least funny comments and only say the lines that have true resonance.
  • Introverts observe. Because the extroverts are speaking on everything they see, they’re not paying attention to the funniest opportunities. The extroverts are throwing everything against the wall to see what will stick. The introverts only throw what they know will stick to the wall. The introverts are able to consistently make more pointed, funnier observations.

As comedy is based upon observation, a skill introverts excel at, are introverts better comedians?
I’m not certain if I’m qualified to speak on that… but last night, I certainly recognized the evening was funnier because of the introverts performing last night.

Do introverts make better comedians?

6 thoughts on “Do introverts make better comedians?

  1. I love this! And I think you may be onto something in a way–we might be better comedians with people we know; I for one come out with some real zingers around my nearest and dearest that I’d never say in general because I’m too scared. Because we know (at least a portion) of our group well, we have observed what does & doesn’t work, so know how to work the crowd.

    1. Let me throw a curveball, Jessie.

      Not a single person knew everyone there last night. I didn’t know two people. Three people knew only one other person… There were a lot of introductions to common friends last night.

      But, I think you’re right… People shine in situations where they are most comfortable.

      And whatever it was, it was an environment that let introverts not just shine… but sparkle.

      1. Huh, I figured there was *slightly* more familiarity among the group.

        If that group bred so much comfort, you are a lucky person!!!

  2. I think introverts make for great “observational comedians” – we do spend a lot of time watching what goes on around us, and take note of things that an extrovert might overlook. I also agree that the timing/delivery is key, and introverts have often rehearsed in their minds the right way to deliver a line, so it tends to hit the mark as intended.
    Introverts also make for great “actors” so their stage persona is not always who they are among friends.
    All that being said, extroverts can also be great at comedy – two of the funniest people in my office are on opposite ends of the E/I spectrum.

  3. I’ve already said this, but I am a big fan of this idea. So is Will Ferrell, a hilarious individual and member of the I Team.

    Comedy thrives on an element of control in conversation that helps introverts out- the lack of interruption. Particularly when performing comedy, it offers a chance to voice thoughts without fear that someone else will break in and force you to rethink things or start over. In a respectful group, funny conversations can work the same way. It’s also why introverted people who are known to be funny balk when commanded to “say something funny” on the spot: the lack of time to be thoughtful makes it hard.

    So much more to say on this, but you’ve started a really cool conversation 🙂

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