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Natural Awakenings NYC & Long Island

The Beauty of a Bar Joke

By Celeste DeCamps

A guy walks into a bar. He orders a vodka martini. The bartender sets the drink down in front of him, pushes over a bowl of peanuts, and then walks over to the far side of the bar and begins polishing glasses.

The guy hears a small voice say, “Nice pants.’’ He looks around, but he’s the only customer there. A few minutes later he hears, “I love your shoes. You look great.” Again, he doesn’t see anyone. Then he hears, “You’re very handsome.” Finally the guy says to the bartender, “Who’s talking to me? I don’t see anyone.” The bartender comes over and says, “Oh, the peanuts are complimentary.”

Yes, it’s an old joke. I worked as a bartender, and I think I’ve heard just about every bad joke out there. Believe it or not, these bar jokes serve a very important purpose. Telling a joke or a funny story is a quick way to engage someone. Hopefully, it will lead to a real conversation.

We are wired to be social. It’s tough to be in a crowded room and still feel all alone. 

For some people, it can be hard to make small talk. Telling a joke is easier; you already know what to say. If you can make another person laugh, or crack up a few people around you, you’ve created instant rapport. That’s the beauty of humor.

A guy walks into a bar. He tells the bartender, “I want six shots of tequila.”
The bartender can see that the guy’s upset. He says, “Hey, do you want to talk first?”
The guy looks dejected. “My wife and I had a huge fight. She says she’s not going to speak to me for a month.” “That’s tough,” the bartender says. “I’m sorry to hear that.”
The guy throws back a shot. “Yeah, tell me about it. This is the last day.”

One of the most valuable skills I learned as a bartender was to be a good listener. I’d always thought I needed to offer my opinion or advice when people told me their problems. But over time I realized that people often just need to give voice to their own thoughts and have someone else hear them. By offering a silly joke, I could make them laugh and help them put their troubles to the side, if only for a little while.  

A bar joke is set up to be quick and unexpected, to keep listeners intrigued about how it’s going to end. By telling a joke well—looking your listeners in the eye, with a smile—you will hold their attention and gain a sense of confidence. Whether the joke is good or bad, you’ll capture their interest and hopefully make them want to get to know you better. 

I think everyone should have his or her own favorite bar joke to tell. You never know when it will come in handy.

A guy walks into a bar and makes some new friends.  

Celeste DeCamps is a motivational speaker. She shares a lifetime experience of stage dance and movement through engaging stories and audience interaction. For more information or to contact her, visit CelesteDeCamps.com

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