Instantly Add Humor with the Trivial Significant Technique
May 2016

Instantly Add Humor with the Trivial Significant Technique

A simple way to create playful, humorous, and unexpected responses is by simply over-reacting or under-reacting. Treating a trivial situation as something more significant, and vice versa, is a great recipe for humor. If their comment is something fairly trivial, you can essentially act like it’s much more significant or dramatic than it really is. You can also place artificial significance on your own trivial actions or experiences. There is tremendous opportunity for this technique because most life experiences: eating breakfast, driving to work, missing the first quarter of a football game, etc., are trivial in nature. Check out some examples:

John and Jane are coworkers.

JOHN: Jane, you would have been so proud of me this morning.

Jane now assumes John did something significant and expects to hear about an impressive feat.

JANE: Why?

JOHN: When I was writing an email, I finally spelled the word “appropriately” correctly without needing auto-correct. Isn’t that awesome?

Jane plays along with the artificial significance and pushes it further.

JANE: Wow, that’s a big moment for you in your life. Did you tell your Mom yet? She’d be so proud.


Bob and Betty are on their second date.

BETTY: I actually don’t really like hot fudge sundaes – I never have.

BOB: What? You don’t like hot fudge sundaes? I don’t know if this is going to work out then…


Your spouse and you are about to go to a birthday party.

SPOUSE: Did you get him a present yet?

YOU: Yeah, kinda.


YOU: I have a few Jolly Ranchers in my pocket. I’ll save a cherry one for him.

SPOUSE: Yeah, that will go over well! He’ll be like, ‘gee thanks – I always wanted a cherry Jolly Rancher for my birthday!

YOU: And since it’s probably covered in lint we won’t even need to wrap it! I call that a win-win.


Chatting with a friend.

YOU: I know exactly how farms work.

FRIEND: Really? Have you ever worked on a farm?

YOU: I raised a Eucalyptus plant once in college.


Chatting with a friend.

FRIEND: Have you ever fixed a wall before?

YOU: Yeah – basically. I saw a guy fix a wall on an HGTV show once.

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