Ever Hear the One About...?: Using Humor 147 The most popular way to begin a speech is with humor. That's because a good story entertains the audience. It convinces them that you're an everyday person, a person just like them--but with a good sense of humor. Experienced speakers know that the perfect comedic line can immediately get the audience on your side. The audience feels safe and relaxed; with one suitable joke, you've taken command. However, the key word here is suitable . Few things are as dismal as a bad, tasteless, or otherwise unsuitable joke. Humor must be handled correctly for it to succeed. Furthermore, some jokes are right for some occasions and dead wrong for others. In this chapter, you'll learn how, when, and why you should use humor. We'll discuss jokes that work and those that don't, and we'll also cover how to match your natural speaking style to the demands of humor. Laugh In A woman's husband had been slipping in and out of a coma for several months. She stayed in his hospital room every day and every night. When her husband came to, he motioned for her to come nearer. As she sat by him, he said, "You know what? You have been with me all through the bad times. When I got fired, you were there to support me. When my business failed, you were there. When I got shot, you were by my side. When we lost the house, you gave me support. When my health started failing, you were still by my side. When I think about it now, I think you bring me bad luck!" Humor is a key element in all but the most gloomy speeches and occasions. But you must consider your own natural style before you decide how much humor--and what kind--to use. Some people, like Jay Leno and David Letterman, are naturally funny and have great timing . Other people are not blessed with this gift.