Comedy is a skill that many claim to have, but few can execute.

The best comedians are storytellers who take ordinary life experiences and find the nugget of comedic truth.

Being a stand-up for eight years and writing hundreds of wedding toasts for Laugh Staff, I’ve boiled down comedy to one sentence:

Comedy is a story, or series of short stories, with a surprise ending that makes someone smile or laugh.

You have to smile before you can laugh, and you have to crawl before you walk. Here’s five ways you can increase your confidence and start thinking the way a stand-up thinks:

Know your roles – Even if you aren’t married or a father, you play a lot of roles. A monologue joke writer I met for Conan O’Brien says whenever he feels stuck and can’t seem to find comedic inspiration, he writes down the roles he plays. Some of your roles may include being a:

· Co-worker

· Friend

· Brother

· Son

· Teammate (softball, basketball, etc.)

Now dig a little deeper. What is something funny you do in the office that you’re known for? Are you hand-sanitizer guy or the guy who always know the special in the cafeteria? Or maybe you’re the guy that who knows the best bathrooms to take a poop in? All of your little quirks add up to the uniqueness of being you.

So if you’re on a date or an interview and someone asks what you do, tell them what your job is, but also tell them what you’re known for. You’ll show a human side that not everyone has the ability to display.

Watch, learn, and write it down – Comedians observe first, write second and perform third. Be aware of your surroundings and find the element of humor in the everyday monotony.

Remembering a funny thing somebody said shows you care enough to pay attention to other people’s words. If you want to gain the respect and trust of co-workers or even a love interest, just say these eight words:

“I was thinking of you the other day.”

That simple statement will make your more likeable than anything you have to say about yourself.

Write down the funny quotes you hear throughout the day and write down on who said them. When you see something on TV or the radio that makes you think about that person, tell them. They’ll be flattered you actually paid attention!

End on the laugh trigger – Here’s a little homework. Watch or DVR the first 5-10 minutes of any late night show any pay attention to the monologue.

The monologue has been a staple of the late night television for decades. Carson, Leno, Letterman did it and now Fallon, Colbert and Kimmel do it too. The monologue is a series of short, topical jokes based on the day’s news.

Every monologue joke has a two-sentence structure. The first sentence introduces the joke and the second sentence provides the unexpected punchline. Here are a few examples:

A new study said U.S. pets are becoming more overweight. Yeah, it’s gotten so bad cats are actually using a ball of yarn to make their own hammocks.

The new Baywatch movie came about. It stars The Rock, Zac Efron and a small cameo from shirts.

Practice telling your stories with the laugh trigger in mind. You have to smile before you laugh just like you have to crawl before you walk. Use these tips to become a more confident, humorous version of yourself. Nice guys finish funny.