Dry Sense Of Humor: What It Is & Signs You’re All About Deadpan Wit

There’s nothing more attractive than a great sense of humor. Someone who doesn’t take themself too seriously and knows how to laugh is sexy AF. It means they can always see the bright side and they know how to break up tense or upsetting moments with a laugh when it’s needed most. However, having a dry sense of humor often leads you to be misunderstood and sometimes actively disliked. Does this sound familiar to you? Here’s what it means to be a fan of deadpan wit and signs this might be you.

What is dry humor?

Dry humor entails delivering jokes, comments, or comebacks in a totally deadpan way. You don’t laugh or smile, you don’t raise your voice or infer in any way that you’re kidding, and you basically become a master of the poker face. The things you say might be sarcastic or even ironic, and they may even come across as a bit cutting. In fact, your delivery is so seamless that people often have no idea whether you’re serious or not.

Admittedly, not everyone “gets” or likes a dry sense of humor, especially since it can be hard to spot and can easily be misunderstood. It also tends to make people a bit uncomfortable if they’re used to dealing with wit that’s a bit more straightforward and obvious. Ah well, sucks to be them!

Still a bit confused? Here’s an example. Say your boss arranges another meeting you really don’t want to attend but you know you have to. You might say something like, “Oh, awesome. I’m so glad we’re having another meeting. I was really hoping to spend another hour talking about stuff that could have been in a five-line email.” This is obviously an example of deadpan sarcasm since you’re frustrated and really not feeling it. However, you deliver those lines in a totally dry way. Get it? Got it? Good.

Who are some famous comedians who use deadpan humor?

There are plenty of successful comedians who love dry humor and have made a career out of delivering jokes in this way. They include but aren’t limited to:

  • Tina Fey
  • Mitch Hedberg
  • Sarah Silverman
  • Bill Murray
  • Steven Wright
  • Demetri Martin
  • Ellen DeGeneres
  • John Cleese

Signs you have a dry sense of humor

group of friends laughing

provided by iStock

Think this might be you but for some reason aren’t sure? Here are some signs your sense of humor might be dryer than the Sahara desert.

  1. Your jokes are usually understated or subtle. Rather than going for big, obvious punchlines, you’re all about the wry observations and sarcastic comments. They’re way more interesting and take more intelligence to come up with. Wow, groundbreaking stuff.
  2. You don’t always laugh at your own jokes. Chances are, you know someone who think they’re the most hilarious person in the world and makes no secret about it. They crack up at their own hare-brained jokes and thinks everyone else should too. That’s not the case when you have a dry sense of humor. In fact, you deliver your “jokes” with a completely straight face or deadpan expression, which confuses and even enrages some people.
  3. You enjoy wordplay and puns. We’re not talking corny puns here, but really clever ones that most people don’t notice. A lot of dry humor relies on clever wordplay and twisting phrases in an unexpected way. It comes so naturally to you that you come up with comments most people would never even think of but are kind of genius.
  4. You’re good at picking up on absurdities or inconsistencies in everyday situations. A lot of dry humor comes from pointing out the absurdity of a situation or highlighting the irony of a particular moment. It’s all about observation. Sometimes the most boring, mundane stuff is some of the funniest because it’s truthful. You know how to spot that stuff and remark on it slyly and with a totally straight face.
  5. You tend to be a bit irreverent or subversive. Limericks and dad jokes are not your bag. Instead, you prefer to get a bit creative with how you get your laughs. Dry humor tends to involve calling out and making fun of authority or breaking social norms in some way. You’re never unnecessarily cruel, but you don’t discriminate when it comes to calling out the bullshit you spot in everyday life.
  6. You’re not afraid to make jokes at your own expense. Self-deprecating humor can be a big part of dry humor, as it often involves poking fun at yourself or your own flaws. You’re not perfect and you know it. You also know that laughter shouldn’t have to come at everyone else’s expense all the time. You often turn your acerbic wit right back on yourself.
  7. You actually enjoy confusing people with your deadpan delivery. Obviously, dry humor might be something that comes naturally to you, even if you don’t realize it. However, you know this type of wit comes natural to you if you actually love seeing people’s reaction to it. You don’t try to make people uncomfortable, but it does make you want to break that poker face and smirk a bit when you see some people’s responses to some of the things you say.
  8. You’re not always the center of attention. While some types of humor rely on being the life of the party or the center of attention, dry humor tends to be more subtle and low-key. If you enjoy making wry comments or sly observations without necessarily being the loudest person in the room, you clearly have a dry sense of humor. Lucky you!
  9. You appreciate irony and sarcasm in other people’s humor. If you find yourself laughing at jokes that involve irony, sarcasm, or understatement — even if you’re not the one making the jokes — take this as a sign. We tend to be drawn to the qualities we possess  ourselves. Like recognizes like, if you will.

Is having a dry sense of humor a bad thing?

That depends on who you ask, we guess! In most cases, deadpan humor is totally harmless and even hilarious when done right. It manages to dig a bit deeper for less obvious jokes and can have a much bigger payoff as a result. That being said, it’s important that you don’t let your love of wry sarcasm become toxic to other people. Don’t make fun of people needlessly or attempt to make anyone feel bad about themselves. You don’t need to be cruel to be funny. Remember that.

Bolde has been a source of dating and relationship advice for single women around the world since 2014. We combine scientific data, experiential wisdom, and personal anecdotes to provide help and encouragement to those frustrated by the journey to find love. Follow us on Instagram @bolde_media or on Facebook @BoldeMedia