What Is A Dry Sense Of Humor?

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Model Katie Price once said, “I really hate sitcoms on television with canned laughter and stuff. What really makes me laugh is the real-life stuff. I’ve got a dry sense of humor.” But what exactly is dry comedy? And how can you nail deadpan delivery? We’re here to help you with all these technical comedy terms and share some tips on honing your skills in the area – after all, a good sense of humor can be a great asset, especially on the romantic front.

Dry Sense Of Humor – Meaning

How can one define dry humor? Simply put, it’s when a person says funny things but the facial expressions are serious/calm. The trouble with this type of humor is that it may not be understood by most people. Some may even take offense when dry jokes are thrown their way.

It is also known as deadpan comedy because the person cracking the joke does so with no display of emotions and in a subtle matter-of-fact tone. This non-dramatic type of joke is a mere witty statement that a person makes about another person, situation, or occurrence.

A Reddit user wrote, “Americans use the words ‘dry comedy’ to mean passive-aggressive humor, Brits use it for humor that is not “haha” funny but “polite chuckle” level.” Another Reddit user wrote, “With the best dry humor jokes, the punchline is often left to the imagination of the audience, or is delivered in a normal tone of voice as if it were a regular part of the conversation instead of played for laughs.”

Some classic dry sense of humor examples

Steven Wright, one of the best comedians with dry humor, once said, “Borrow money from pessimists, they don’t expect it back.” He keeps using dry one-liners like, “A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good.” We’re not done yet. Here are some more dry jokes that are funny (you may end up dating stand-up comics after this) :

  • “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”

How dry sense of humor works for you

what does a dry sense of humor say about you? Is dry humor attractive? A Reddit user wrote, “Attractive to me? I guess my husband’s deadpan dad jokes, mixed with observational quips. He’s funny to me.” On that note, let’s find out where the appeal of this type of humor stems from:

  • Studies show that saying something funny raises perceptions of confidence/competence, which in turn increase status
  • Deadpan wit/keeping things light leads to relationship satisfaction, according to research
  • Studies also show that laughter helps with depression, anxiety, and stress
  • 90% of men and 81% of women report that a sense of humor is the most important quality in a partner

What Is Sarcasm?

Most people confuse dry sense of humor jokes with sarcasm since both comprise witty one-liners. But, they are essentially different. Let’s delve deeper into the dry sense of humor vs sarcasm differences so that you can make a girl laugh/make a guy chuckle without running the risk of offending her/him.

Amongst the different types of senses of humor, sarcastic humor means using words in an exactly opposite form to what a person means. The comments are said in a tone of voice that makes it obvious that the exact opposite is being implied. For example, if you ask your friend, “Do you want some cake? and they reply with, “Well! I only have cake when it’s baked by a Michelin chef”, then it’s the sign of a sarcastic person. But if they reply with, “I will not only have it, I will eat it too”, then your friend is dryly witty.

What Is Sarcasm

Here’s another example. If you say something really obvious like “It’s raining outside”, a sarcastic person might reply, “Really? Are you sure?”. This way, the sarcastic person is mocking you for stating the obvious. Thus, sarcasm is when a person says something opposite of what they mean while dry sense of humor jokes are more the territory of a clever smart-talker.

Related Reading: 15 Funny Ways To Annoy Your Girlfriend

How You Can Develop Dry Sense Of Humor

Not everyone can land clever clean jokes. But, don’t worry, subtle humor can be developed with practice. For starters, watch and learn from deadpan comedians like Steven Wright, Bob Newhart, David Letterman, Mitch Hedberg, Billy Murray, and Jerry Seinfeld. Even if you don’t notice signs you’re funny, here’s how you can develop a dry sense of humor:

1. Use a straight face

You don’t need exaggerated body language to get the joke right. All you need is an expressionless face and deadpan delivery. Also, use that intelligent mind to make jokes about absurd things that happen in your everyday life. Here are some witty banter examples:

  • “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?” (good comeback for someone 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)

2. Get to know your audience

Making a joke on someone is only possible if you have up your sleeve some sharp insights into their behavior/situation. And when it comes to strangers, use your mental ability to read them like a book. Once you get to know someone a layer deep, only then the joke will seem relatable/personal. You can crack these jokes with a poker face:

  • “It melts my heart when two stupid people fall in love…So, 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. Don’t be mean in the name of dark dry humor

There’s a thin line between funny satire and mean humor. That’s why learning the dry sense of humor vs sarcasm difference well, and knowing when to use which brand of humor is essential. Otherwise, your supposedly witty one-liners can quickly turn into the worst pick-up lines that are bound to get you shot down. Crack witty jokes but don’t trigger people’s insecurities by being an offensive prude. Here’s an insult vs dry sense of humor example:


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 the role of 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 then try out these jokes on dear ones first.

on happy couples

4. Be prepared to bomb

What does witty mean? It’s subjective. Not everyone will get your humor, especially when you’re still trying to learn the ropes. The thing about deadpan jokes is that they are hard to comprehend, even in their 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 your funny conversation starters are slightly tasteless, but that’s just because they are not on the same page as you. Don’t be disheartened, even trained stand-up comics bomb. It’s fine. All you need to do is practice. Here’s a dry sense of humor 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 them.

Related Reading: How To Respond To A Breakup Text

5. Try your hand at self-deprecating witty jokes

As said earlier, the journey of being humorous is not that easy and the biggest challenge would be to turn your turmoil into treasure. How? Have an amazing comeback or make a joke about yourself. These are the signs of a witty person. Here are some banter jokes (which can be used as texts to get someone’s attention):

  • “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”

Key Pointers

  • Understand dry humor vs dark humor difference and then figure out what your audience wants
  • Use neutral facial expressions and let your words do the work
  • There are various types of humor; so see for yourself if deadpan expression is your forte
  • If people consider your jokes slightly tasteless, know that the best dry humor jokes only land with practice

Finally, let’s end with a quote by Oscar Wilde, “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” And he was right! In the grand scheme of things, people will remember you for your quirkiness. You’re a true friend, if you brought a smile on their face in their darkest times.


1. What is a dry sense of humor?

When you say things with matter-of-fact, deadpan expressions. It doesn’t involve exaggerated body language. To develop a dry sense of humor, you can try testing puns on your friends. Watch deadpan comedians like Steven Wright.

2. What does witty mean?

The meaning of a witty personality is someone who’s able to crack clever clean jokes. If you can nail the facial expressions/serious tone, it’s a cherry on top.

3. What does a dry sense of humor say about you?

Dry comedy shows that you’re spontaneous and confident. Is dry humor attractive? Yes, cracking deadpan jokes is an art, that makes you very charming in the modern world.

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