mysimpleshow – empowering explanation

mysimpleshow’s Top Tips for Using Humor in Explainer Videos – Part 1

20. Mar 2019

Humor can transform an average explainer video into a powerful explanation that will be remembered for a long time to come by the target audience. A good joke or a humorous story can spice up a dull topic. Humor reduces anxiety, facilitates learning and improves performance. It is, therefore, an ideal tool to use in an explainer video! But, you need to know what you are doing. Humor needs to be used with a lot of forethought.

 

 

Four do’s and one don’t:

 

ONE – Do not use potentially offensive humor!

There are some definite no-no’s when using humor in your explainer video. One of these involves distastefulness – offensive humor should not be used. Consider the target audience very carefully when you create the humor for the explainer video script. Avoid sensitive topics. Humor that has a racist, sexist, or obscene tone may be offensive to viewers and alienate rather than engage your target audience. The same can be said for humor that involves religion or politics. So, when incorporating humor in your explainer video make sure that it does not to have a humiliating or derogatory affect that will only serve to push viewers away.

 

TWO – Use Wordplay.

 

Wordplay can be used very effectively to put that twinkle in the eye and make your explainer video humorous. Some words sound alike but have different meanings. When wordplay is used in an explainer video a joke can be made that exploits the different possible meanings of a word. So, think of words that you will need to use when explaining your topic. Then identify some that may have double meanings. Use these as inspiration to add humor to your explainer video script. Clever wordplay can successfully insert humorous moments into an explainer video.

 

THREE – Imitate, with realistic exaggeration.

Exaggerate situations slightly to get a humorous effect. In literature terms this is called parody – i.e. an imitation of a familiar situation, but with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect. This can be achieved by poking fun at typical situations. How? By imitating and overstressing noticeable features. For example, you can achieve a humorous effect in your explainer video by using a situation that most people are familiar with, like a birthday party. Then make fun of the situation by adding in things that go wrong at the party. Or use a well known movie as inspiration. Make fun of it in your explainer video by making your characters similar to some well known characters from the movie; or make your video’s storyline similar to that of the movie, but slightly exaggerated and, of course, much, much shorter. (Remember, explainer videos need to be short and to the point!)

 

FOUR – Use self-disparaging Humor.

Humor can work very well if it is at your expense. Self-disparaging humor can be used effectively to connect with the audience, provided that the viewer is laughing with you. So, an easy way to incorporate self-disparaging humor in an explainer video is to create a problematic situation and a character that the audience can laugh with. Self-disparaging characters know their own weaknesses and shortcomings and are not afraid to point them out in a humorous way. A shortcoming, that could potentially be embarrassing, is consequently portrayed in a comical humoristic way. This makes the character vulnerable and therefore the viewer is inclined to listen to what he / she has to say, with extra attention. The character thus becomes more relatable to the audience. It is about finding the funny in life’s challenging moments and incorporating that in your explainer video, in order to connect with the audience.


When used effectively in explainer videos humor boosts levels of interest and increases the motivation to learn. However, humor must not be over-used; it needs to be incorporated into the explainer video script with the necessary forethought. If the humor succeeds the explainer video will truly engage viewers, increase understanding and enhance memory retention. So, use humor to make your explainer video topic engaging from the get-go, by nurturing a relationship with the target audience.