What Is A Dry Sense Of Humor? Intelligence Vs Humor Vs Sarcasm

What Is A Dry Sense Of Humor?
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Some consider a dry sense of humor as an asset while others simply think it is a plain insult to another person. Not to be mixed up with sarcasm, a dry sense of humor has its own set of audience. You may ask, but what exactly is a dry sense of humor? In this article, we will help you understand everything about a dry sense of humor, whether or not you have it and how to develop it.

Dry Sense Of Humor – Meaning

What does it mean to have a dry sense of humor? Simply put, a dry sense of humor as the name suggests is a form of dry humor where a person often says funny things but in a serious, calm way. The trouble with this brand of humor is that it may or may not be understood by many people. And some may even take it as an offense when dry jokes are thrown their way.

It is also known as deadpan humor because the person cracking the joke does so with no display of emotions and in a subtle matter-of-fact tone. This below-the-belt, non-dramatic type of joke is a mere witty statement that a person makes about another person, situation, or occurrence. You may wonder what’s funny in it?

Well, the outrageous and cleverly implied manner in which the joke is delivered makes it funny to those who understand and confusing to those who don’t. That’s why a dry sense of humor intelligence correlations are not uncommon. This brand of humor is often considered the hallmark of a person’s quick wit. Whether that quick wit translates into charm is another matter altogether and depends entirely on the recipient.

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Some classic examples of dry sense of humor

Now, you may have some clarity on the dry sense of humor meaning. But it can still be hard to find a conclusive answer to what does it mean to have a dry sense of humor, especially given that it is so often confused with sarcasm. However, the dry sense of humor vs sarcasm difference is just as apparent as that of chalk and cheese. Let’s illustrate with a few dry sense of humor examples:

“Our bombs are smarter than the average high school student. At least they can find Kuwait.”

 “I’ve never been married, but I tell people I’m divorced so they won’t think something is wrong with me.”

“The most important thing I would learn in school was that almost everything I would learn in school would be utterly useless.” From The Secret World of the Irish Male by Joseph O’Connor

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What Is Sarcasm?

What Is A Dry Sense Of Humor

Like we said before, most often people confuse a dry sense of humor with sarcasm as the wittiness factor is almost the same in both of them. But yet, at a deeper level, they both are different in nature. Let’s delve deeper into the dry sense of humor vs sarcasm differences for the sake of more clarity.

A sarcastic sense of humor is built of using words in an exactly opposite form to what a person means. It can simply be called ironic comments said in a tone of voice that makes it obvious that the exact opposite is being implied.

For example:

“Do you want some cake?

“Well! I only have cake when it’s baked by a Michelin chef.” – This is sarcasm.

“I will not only have it I will eat it too.” – Here’s a classic dry sense of humor example. And you have to be intelligent enough to get this wry humor.

In simple words, sarcasm is often used to mock a person or simply put them down. Dry sense of humor jokes, on the other hand, are not made at someone else’s expense. They are more along the lines of sharp, witty observations, be it about people, situations or social issues.

For example:

If somebody says something really obvious like “it’s raining outside”, the sarcastic person might say, “Really? Are you sure?” In this example, the sarcastic person is mocking or insulting the other person as it is obvious that it is raining outside.

Thus, sarcasm is when a person says something opposite of what they mean while a dry sense of humor is more the territory of a clever smart-talker.

How To Know Whether You Have A Dry Sense Of Humor?

Not everyone has a dry sense of humor so to make things simple for you, we have a checklist that will let you know if you are the blessed one or not.

  • Smart word play: You use words and phrases that take time for people to understand its context
  • Deadpan humor: You don’t need any change of facial expression, use of body language, or props to get the joke right. Your tone of voice and witty words are enough
  • Blatant honesty: You can state absurd facts in a blatantly honest manner that it creates laughter among the listeners
  • Natural flair: You know to juggle between sarcasm, cynicism, and irony without putting in the effort
  • Evoke laughter: People laugh at your little comments (except the one on whom it’s made upon)

If you said yes to three or more points in the checklist then congratulations, you are born with the gift of a dry sense of humor. But if you haven’t ticked, then read on…

So this checklist seems distinct to you but yet the idea of having a dry sense of humor is appealing? We agree that some people get it from their genes but some also acquire it on the way to adulthood. There are ways in which you can develop the skill.

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How dry sense of humor works for you

Before we move on to the list of how you can develop a dry sense of humor, you may ask, “Why do I need to develop it in the first place?” Here are some ways in which a dry sense of humor can augment your personality:

  1. Dry sense of humor intelligence connection: Studies have shown that people with wit and quick punchlines are way smarter than the vapid ones. Humorous people are anticipated to do much better in life
  2. Keeps you healthy: A sense of humor is like your mind’s immune system. Being funny is possibly one of the best things you can do for your health
  3. Spread laughs and joy: Humor helps to lift up other people’s mood and overcome difficult times (just like what comedians do for us)
  4. Become a people magnet: It can make you the center of attraction at a party and help you get good dates too (Yay!)
  5. Leave a better impression: People would remember you much longer than you think they do (not always in a good way though)
You don’t need to have an expressive face to have a dry sense of humor

How You Can Develop Dry Sense Of Humor

Things don’t come easy and when we are talking about developing humor. Unless you’re a natural, cultivating a dry sense of humor can take a lot of practice and conscious effort. At first, it may seem like a walk on a snowy mountain without shoes.

Scared? Don’t be, we are here to get you gumboots and safety gears to make your walk easy, but remember, in the end, it’s still you who has to commence the journey. So here is a checklist that will help you develop a dry sense of humor and be the one whom people look up to.

1. Ear-mind-mouth coordination

Jokes are the best examples of taking things with a pinch of salt and when it comes to dry humor jokes, well, you need a slice of lime too. The best way to develop a dry sense of humor is to hear what the other person said. Repeat it in your head three times and then come up with the most relevant comeback.

For example:

“My nose is so big it goes from A-Z…Have a look at your keyboard”

“Oh, I’m sorry. Did the middle of my sentence interrupt the beginning of yours?” This is one of those good comebacks for the person constantly interrupting you.

“You bring everyone a lot of joy…when you leave the room.” This one goes left then right then left again, salting the wound.

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2. A little psychology is needed indeed

Wondering how we suddenly landed up to a high school subject from talking of humor? Well well, the most insightful tip to have a great dry sense of humor is to have some knowledge of basic human psychology.

Making a joke on someone is only possible if you have up your sleeve some sharp insights into the person or situation. And when it comes to strangers, all you can use to crack jokes is your mental ability to read them like a book. Once you get to know them a layer deep, only then the joke would make the audience laugh.

For example:

“It melts my heart when two stupid people fall in love…Great, who’s the lucky one?”

An old teacher asked her student, “If I say, ‘I am beautiful,’ which tense is that?” The student replied, “It is obviously past tense.”

“Somewhere out there, a tree is tirelessly producing oxygen for you. I think you owe it an apology.”

3. Not all things come easy

Life isn’t a cakewalk and neither is humor. Sometimes it may happen that while cracking a joke, you end up breaking someone’s heart. There is a thin line between mockery and insult and learning the difference between the two is the most essential thing. That’s why learning the dry sense of humor vs sarcasm difference well, and knowing when to use which brand of humor is essential. Particularly, when you want to have a dry sense of humor as your asset and not a trait that makes you come off as an offensive prude.


Girlfriend: “Am I pretty or ugly?”
Boyfriend: “You’re both.”
Girlfriend: “What do you mean?”
Boyfriend: “You’re pretty ugly.”


A teacher wanted to teach her students about self-esteem, so she asked anyone who thought they were stupid to stand up.

One kid stood up and the teacher was surprised. She didn’t think anyone would stand up so she asked him, “Why did you stand up?” He answered, “I didn’t want to leave you standing up by yourself.”

We suggest you learn to maintain this thin line and only then try out jokes on dear ones. (Else you might end up losing some relations and we won’t take any blame for that. Peace!)

4. People might not laugh – Accept it

Be ready to be standing in a crowd of hundred people with no one actually getting your joke. Not every time or everyone will get your humor, especially when you are still trying to learn the ropes. The thing about a dry sense of humor is that it is hard to comprehend for many even in its most polished form. When you’re an amateur still mastering the art, your jokes may be a little rough around the edges, and hence, may fall flat even more.

At times, some people will think that your jokes are slightly tasteless, but that is just because they are not on the same page as you are. Don’t be disheartened, trained stand-up comedians do have faulty moments of silence when they are on stage. It’s fine. All you need to do is practice and enhance your skill. Let others decide whether they want to laugh or not.

For example:

“A cop stopped me for speeding. He said, ‘Why were you going so fast?’ I said, ‘See this thing my foot is on? It’s called an accelerator. When you push down on it, it sends more gas to the engine. The whole car just takes right off. And see this thing? This steers it.”

Whether the person (or the audience) gets the joke totally depends on him (them).

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5. Take control of the situation

As said earlier, the journey of being humorous is challenging and the biggest challenge would be to turn your turmoil into treasure i.e take control of the loss situation. How? Have an amazing comeback, make a joke about yourself, or simply change the topic.

For example:

“I’m an acquired taste. If you don’t like me, acquire some taste.”

“I enjoy self-deprecating humor a lot. I’m just not very good at it.”

“Oops, no one is laughing. But I am used to it. No one laughed right from the time I was born.”

“In the interests of self-care, and to promote healthier lifestyle choices for me now that I’m single, each morning when I get up, I look myself in the mirror, and say the three little words I always used to say to my wife…You’re too fat.”

Sometimes people won’t get your brand of humor

The world isn’t a cheerful place neither is it easy on you. So having a dry sense of humor is a great tool to lighten up the mood and save yourself from tyrannies. Humor gives you the power to laugh at serious things and spread laughter among others too. It teaches you to laugh at yourself too and there’s nothing better than someone who can laugh at themselves, or at the absurdity of the modern world.

Learning wit, humor or simply to be funny requires plenty of practice and a lot of determination. If you want to develop this skill the key is to practice, practice, and practice. Some things that might help you are comedy shows (dating a comedian maybe), reading and using puns, and having a humor buddy.

Before we move on to some quick FAQs, let us warn you that cracking it is the responsibility of the person cracking the joke to ensure that their words do not take a toll on someone who is not as good a sport as he is expected to be. Don’t make people laugh at someone’s expense!

Be Smart. Be Humorous.


1. What is a dry sense of humor?

A dry sense of humor, often referred to as deadpan, is when you find things funny that others may not… but you say it without any emotion, or in a serious tone of voice.

2. Is a dry sense of humor a talent or a skill?

Well to some, it’s an inborn talent. Some people are outrageously upfront and funny in a witty manner. For others, the 5 steps mentioned in the checklist above would help develop the skill and they can be great at it.

3. Is there an age to develop a dry sense of humor?

Certainly not. It’s a conscious choice that requires sharpness of mind and constant practice irrespective of age.

4. Is a dry sense of humor considered ‘bad’ in people’s eyes?

It is a misperception that a dry sense of humor is insulting and offensive. But when used smartly, it is the most sorted out tool to make you the most important person at a party. And a bonus, no one dares to insult you as they know you will have a quirky comeback.

5. Where and on whom should dry sense of humor be used?

Wittiness has no place or person. A dry sense of humor is not a job to be done at a place and stop while you get back home. It is a skill that has to be inherited or worked upon and used as if it comes naturally to you. But be sure that you don’t end up breaking hearts.

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