I went through a karaoke stage over a decade ago, and I generally tried to get people to like my renditions of songs they weren’t automatically predisposed to like. “If I Had a Hammer” at a rowdy college bar, or “Girls Just Wanna’ Have Fun” anywhere (not from me, anyway.)
I have the same goal with humor–try to get people to laugh who normally don’t. (I trust them even less than people who laugh too readily.) I tried it this morning with one of the SWAT Team members who was leaving the Panera Bread as I was entering. “Get all the flies in there?” I asked. The guy I made the lame joke to has a day ahead of him with the potential to shoot people and be shot at, so I figured he’d appreciate a little levity while he could get it. Henceforth, assuming I’m not high or drunk, I’m going to start making an effort to joke with cops when I pass them in my daily travels (provided I’m not distracting them, of course.)
One of the things I take into account with the timing of a quip is to try to synchronize it with the hearer’s taking a sip of their beverage. My goal is to get them to choke on or spit up their drink. I guess the next logical step would be to try to accomplish the same while someone is eating, but I’m not a sadist. I’ve only seen the Heimlich Maneuver on TV, and I’m not looking to literally “kill” with a joke.
Likewise, the gold standard in my newfound intention to make cops laugh will be to provoke a Yosemite Sam reaction. I want them to laugh so hard they feel the need to shoot their gun in the air or into the ground. And if they happened to shoot me, perhaps because the joke was really bad? Well, I do owe my sister a lot of money, and I’m sure she’d get a ton from the lawsuit.