What is a Humorist?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2019
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A humorist is a person who creates or performs material that is considered humorous. A person with this job makes people laugh or smile via the written word or through on-stage or on-camera performances. Often, the material a humorist performs or creates is subtle and intellectual rather than simply funny. Usually, there’s a message or point included in a humorist’s material.

It can be difficult to pinpoint the difference between a comedian and a humorist. Some people say the main difference is money. They assert that humorists typically receive higher pay than comedians while others say the difference is in the humorist's performance. Some say a comedian’s performance is primarily concerned with making people laugh at the things he says. A humorist’s job, on the other hand, is to make people laugh at important things.

Some humorists perform their material on stage, much in the same setting a comedian does. Others give humorous speeches at events, seminars, conferences, and workshops. For example, a major corporation may hire a humorist to give a speech at an annual meeting or during a conference. Humorists may also create videos or audio recordings of their performances for people to enjoy repeatedly. A humorist may even appear in a film or on television.


Many people imagine that humorists perform with little preparation, believing that natural talent is what makes them so effective. In reality, natural talent is a major part of it, but most humorists spend a good deal of time preparing for a speech or performance. For example, they may spend a significant amount of time on research, especially when they have to direct their humor at a subject with which they may be less familiar. They may also spend a good deal of time practicing their performances and speeches to ensure their delivery will be perfect.

Some humorists write books, columns, essays, and articles. Their written material is intended to present a humorous perspective of a particular topic. For example, a humorist may provide a funny view of a serious subject, such as motherhood, politics, working, or human nature. A humorist's job can require a lot of hard work at ensuring his material is funny for his intended audience, but not offensive for those he seeks to amuse.

There are no set requirements for becoming a humorist. A person can enter this field from any background. In fact, there are even some lawyers who’ve ended their law careers to become humorists. If a person has the ability to communicate information in a humorous way, he may have talent he can develop to succeed in this career.


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