Crack her up, bring her home. Being funny makes you more attractive to women, according to research in Personality and Individual Differences.
In a small study, British researchers recorded 40 students describing which items they’d take to a desert island. Though they weren’t told to be funny, almost half of the students used humour in their answers. Then, 11 raters judged the undergrads’ recorded answers and attractiveness separately. The results: Men who were considered funnier were also more likely to be considered more attractive for short- and long-term relationships.
Researchers guess that women might seek funny guys for flings because it signals that they’re “not serious or willing to invest in a mate,” according to the study. But many women— regardless if they’re looking for a one-night stand or future husband—appreciate a comedian: In a Men’s Health survey of more than 1,000 American women ages 21 to 54, 77 percent of women ranked a sense of humour as their number one must-have in a man, beating out intelligence, passion, confidence, and generosity.
The problem? Being funny is easier said than done. While there’s research here and there about what kind of jokes kill with the ladies—one 2011 study found women are most attracted to men who use dry, sarcastic humour—comedy is hardly an exact science.
So we turned to real comedians for their advice on how to be a funny flirter. Use these words of wisdom to make her laugh so hard that she’ll have no choice but to come back to your place and catch the encore set.
The comedian: Jay Mohr, Saturday Night Live veteran
His advice: Funny’s good, but funny and handsome is better.
“Women say they want a sense of humour, but let’s be honest: If you aren’t marginally handsome to begin with, you aren’t going to get within arm’s reach of the woman to show her your wit. Impressions are a complete and absolute no. No woman cares about Goodfellas, let alone wants to hear your re-enactment of the bar scenes over martinis. If you’re naturally funny and a little handsome, just be yourself. Don’t knock yourself down too much. A great woman will enjoy knocking other people down with you.”
The comedian: Ed Crasnick, Emmy-winning writer and actor who’s appeared in shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Just Shoot Me, and The Sopranos
His advice: Make fun of yourself.
“Self-deprecation and commenting on whatever you’re feeling can be attractive to women. It also gives everybody permission to be okay with being a little nervous. So a good opening line like ‘Hi, I’m desperate and I’m starving emotionally’ could really be a strong way to open the flirting portion of the evening. Get all the stressful things out of the way, and call them as you see them. I think it’s better to make humour out of what’s going on in the moment, then try to pretend that these feelings aren’t there. There’s nothing like being authentic. You can’t lose at being real and funny. And if you want to do an impression, do a good impression of yourself.”
The comedian: Nikki Glaser, host of the popular podcast You Had to Be There and the late-night MTV show Nikki & Sara Live
Her advice: Use the corniest line in the book.
“I know men sometimes don’t believe us, but trust me: If you want to bag a cool, smart chick, having a sense of humour is an absolute must. And it’s best to lead with it—make us laugh, and you’ve got our attention. Here’s a line I just came up with that would knock my pants off: Walk up to her and say, ‘Excuse me, I know this is weird, but you look exactly like my next girlfriend.’ Nice. Or I recommend the standard, ‘Come here often?’—especially if it’s on the train, the street, or at a funeral. It’s so cheesy that no chick would think you’re using it seriously.”
The comedian: Sara Schaefer, Glaser’s partner-in-crime on You Had to Be There and Nikki & Sara Live
Her advice: Don’t try so damn hard.
“Try to let your natural wit come out through conversation. Self-deprecation can work well because it diffuses your ego and lets her know you’re self-aware. But don’t go too far—too much can make her think you have zero self-confidence. Joke about what’s happening around you. Is your waiter being too aggressive with the dessert menu? Is there a creepy dude at the end of the bar? Joining forces to make fun of the crazy world around you can be a great way to connect.”
The comedian: Steve Belanger, actor who’s appeared in shows like The Americans
His advice: Confidence is key.
“Yes, women like funny guys, but it’s what’s behind the funny that’s so attractive. Guys with a sharp wit and winning sense of humour are usually chock full of confidence as well. There aren’t a lot of funny wallflowers out there. And don’t kid yourself—even the nebbish guys like Woody Allen and Larry David are cocksure. That confidence is what appeals so much to women. Having a guy who can make them laugh is just icing on the cake.”
The comedian: Cathy Ladman, writer and actor who’s appeared in shows like Everybody Loves Raymond, Roseanne, and Mad Men
Her advice: No obscure impressions, please.
“I like when a guy uses self-effacing humour. Until he starts to cry. Then everyone feels uncomfortable. And please, do not do impressions—especially of someone from your third-grade class about whom no one knows a damn thing. If you find yourself start doing impressions, this is the perfect time to excuse yourself to the men’s room, giving us time to leave.”