“Now that I have children, I understand the scene in Return of the Jedi where Yoda is so tired of answering Luke’s questions, he just up and dies.” (iFunny)
Icebreaker jokes like that one command attention. Like a good conversation starter or icebreaker question, a joke can warm up your listeners’ brains and prepare them to receive your message.
In fact, many of the best one-liners work a little like social glue. Not only do they get people laughing, but they may subtly point out similarities of experience, opinions, and values to make even a tight-knit group feel more closely bonded.“Now that I have children, I understand the scene in Return of the Jedi where Yoda is so tired of answering Luke’s questions, he just up and dies.” Click To Tweet
Opening your meeting with a little humor via icebreaker jokes, even your cheesiest knock-knock jokes or dad jokes, can:
- Make an audience feel a stronger sense of social connection
- Soothe stress and make people more receptive to calmly discussing ideas
- Warm-up virtual formats during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond
- Release endorphins and calm anger for more productive debates
- Make your arguments and ideas more persuasive
Make your meeting life start feeling more like your best life with the icebreaker jokes below.
What Makes An Icebreaker Joke Funny?
Laughter. When we do it or inspire it in others, it can feel like magic, and like magic, laughter can be similarly mysterious and elusive. A joke that produces laughter in one social group might not work in another.
A joke could make someone crack up one day and have no effect the next day. Therefore, there’s no true formula for a perfect joke, and despite study and analysis on the part of comedians and scientists, we don’t have a precise answer to, “What makes things funny?”
However, we do have a wealth of theories and insights that can help you create, tell, or at least better understand the magic of jokes. Here’s a brief summary:
A joke could make people laugh if it:
- Plays on the human love of detecting discrepancies by illustrating a generally harmless mistake, misunderstanding, or departure from the norm. (Ex: Did you hear about the person who died while opening a window? So did everyone else on the submarine)
- Disrupts expectations via incongruity between a concept, situation, or idea. (Ex: Do you know what I love most about baseball? The pine tar, the resin, the grass, the dirt. And that’s just in the hot dogs. (David Letterman))
- Gives people an acceptable way to release their feelings on socially inappropriate topics, such as anger, bodily functions, online dating, or even the misfortunes of others. (Ex: My friend took me to what he said was an escape room. Turns out, he just locked me in the closet.)
- Plays on what makes a group similar and inspires feelings of group cohesion.
- Helps people understand one another via insight or perspective on the current social environment.
Icebreaker Jokes For Work
How was your weekend?
How ‘bout this weather?
How’s it going?
These workplace greetings have become such a commonplace part of our lives, they’re practically rhetorical. Do I really have to tell Rita from accounting how it’s going?
Be the life of the office and add to the company culture.
Subvert expectations and inspire smiles as you breeze into the office or your Zoom meeting with these icebreaker ideas:
1) “I don’t understand how Jeff Bezos is richer than the person who sells receipt paper to CVS.” (Brain Champagne)
2) “Do you know that cool-looking code in the Matrix? It came from sushi recipes.”
3) “Why do people park in a driveway but drive on a parkway?”
4) “Why do they call it rush hour when nothing moves?” (Robin Williams)Why do they call it rush hour when nothing moves? -Robin Williams Click To Tweet
5) “Nowadays, comedians tell the news and the media tells the jokes.”
6) “Housework won’t kill you. But then again, why take the chance?” (Phyllis Diller)
Pro-tip #1: Get plenty of fodder for your jokes by introducing your team to Quizbreaker, a tool that makes it easy to create and share quizzes about your team, with your team. The results of any quiz can be a gold mine for customized joke material that hits with your audience (a.k.a co-workers) because it was designed specifically for (and maybe even incorporates) your audience.
Icebreaker Jokes For Meetings
You’re getting ready to start your meeting. You’re really excited to present your ideas, but you make one fatal flaw. You start the meeting by reviewing your agenda. Everyone’s eyes glaze over before you’ve even warmed up.
Use hilarious jokes and fun questions to break the ice instead to capture everyone’s attention and make sure they’re awake and alert for all the excellent points you’re about to make:
1) “Have you ever noticed… [fill in with something you find interesting or funny.]” [Jerry Seinfeld uses this technique.]
2) “I threw a boomerang a few years ago. I now live in constant fear.”
3) “What’s a comedian’s least favorite drink? [Booze]”I threw a boomerang a few years ago. I now live in constant fear. Click To Tweet
4) “My friend took me to what he said was an escape room. Turns out, he just locked me in the closet.” (Brain Champagne)
5) “What did the duck say when she bought lipstick? Put it on my bill!” (Best Life)
6) “I like to practice magic. Last night, I was driving, and I turned into a driveway.” (Wiley)
Pro-tip #2: Not comfortable making jokes? That’s okay. Use fun and funny facts about your team to break the ice at your next meeting. You can even source a complete bank of surprising and hilarious facts about your teammates using Water Cooler Trivia.
Not only will you receive praise for introducing an amazing team building activity, but you’ll also get plenty of fun facts you can use to laugh with (and maybe at) your teammates.
Icebreaker Jokes For Speeches
The first few lines of a speech are like little teasers. They tell your audience why listening to you will be more exciting than getting lost in their pics, tinder profiles, or social media channels.
A good ice breaker joke tells your audience that you’re charming and funny, someone they’ll enjoy talking to as much as their best friend. Once you get that key point across, your audience will likely listen to everything else you have to say.
Find the best ice breaker for your next speech below:
1) “Do you know what I love most about baseball? The pine tar, the resin, the grass, the dirt. And that’s just in the hot dogs.” (David Letterman)
2) “I’ve been getting into astronomy so I installed a skylight. The people who live above me are furious.” (Steven Wright)
3) “I heard a story that the band Blink-182 incorporated under the name ‘Poo Poo Butt LLC’ to embarrass their accountants in serious conversations.”Do you know what I love most about baseball? The pine tar, the resin, the grass, the dirt. And that's just in the hot dogs. -David Letterman Click To Tweet
4) “I thought I’d begin by reading a poem by Shakespeare, but then I thought, why should I? He never reads any of mine.” (Spike Milligan)
5) “Before coming here tonight I was discussing my talk with my [partner] and [they] said to me: ‘Don’t try to be too charming, too witty or too intellectual, just be yourself.’” (Laffgaff)
6) “What’s the best thing about Switzerland? I don’t know, but its flag is a big plus!” (Best Life)
Pro-tip #3: Champion humor in your workplace by using an employee recognition platform such as Nectar to provide peer-to-peer rewards for making others laugh or smile.
Icebreaker Jokes For Presentations
Experienced interviewers and presenters have learned that rapport can make a potentially average interaction fruitful. And guess what? Humor can help you instantly build rapport with your audience.
Rapport is especially important for presentations where you’re trying to persuade an audience of strangers, and you can build rapport with people you’ve never met (and may not have anything in common with) by using some of the funniest jokes you can find.
1) “By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he’s too old to go anywhere.” (Billy Crystal)
2) “I have a piece of paper, don’t mind me. I am a professional, but I have a lot of Nutrasweet in my system and I don’t have a good short-term memory.”
3) “I have, you know, a lot of things I want to discuss with you and I don’t even remember what they are. I have them on a piece of paper. Don’t mind me.”
4) “If I glance over, it’s not because I don’t care, it’s because I can’t remember anything.” (Janeane Garofalo)If I glance over, it’s not because I don’t care, it’s because I can't remember anything. -Janeane Garofalo Click To Tweet
5) “I was sitting in traffic the other day. Probably why I got run over.” (Best Life)
6) “I can’t believe my parents support my choice of profession! I told them that I wanted to become a stand-up comedian. They laughed at me.” (Upjoke)
7) “What should you do at a Halloween party if a zombie rolls their eyes at you? Roll them back so they can see!” (Beano)
8) “When my son told me to stop impersonating a flamingo, I had to put my foot down.” (CNN Dad Joke Generator)
Pro-Tip #4: Mind your body language, especially if it’s your first time telling jokes and you’re a little nervous. Be sure to smile, of course, and talk with your hands. This will naturally help you appear less stiff and it may even help you modulate your voice to be as dynamic as your hands.
Icebreaker Jokes For Large Groups
You stand up in front of a large group. You don’t know anyone, however, if you tell the right joke, you might find yourself feeling like you’ve known everyone for years.
Use a strategically placed joke to break the ice and make a large group feel like a small gathering of friends.
1) “A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it.” (Bob Hope)
2) “Did you hear about the person that died while opening a window? So did everyone else on the submarine.”
3) “Here’s a funny fact: Nicolas Cage once purchased an octopus to help him with his acting.”Here’s a funny fact: Nicolas Cage once purchased an octopus to help him with his acting. Click To Tweet
4) “You know you must be doing something right if old people like you.” (Dave Chappelle)
5) “How much does a polar bear weigh? Enough to break the ice…or your spine for that matter.”
6) “When I meet women, I immediately start talking about global warming. It’s a real ice breaker.” (Laffgaff)
Pro-Tip #5: Make sure you pick a joke you love. You must believe your joke is funny if you hope others will find it funny…kind of like you (hopefully) wouldn’t use pick up lines that have no chance of at least earning a wry smile. In fact, it may not hurt to chuckle a bit yourself. Laughter is contagious, after all.
Icebreaker Jokes For Small Groups
Speaking in front of a small group can feel like going on a first date. First impressions matter, and we’d like to say nobody’s judging you, but you know, they’re certainly paying attention to you. Starting with an icebreaker joke partnered with an activity can help the group share an experience that helps people relax and focus on the task at hand.
Ingratiate yourself to your tight-knit audience by opening with a little humor.
1) “I used to work at McDonald’s making minimum wage. You know what that means when someone pays you minimum wage? You know what your boss was trying to say? ‘Hey, if I could pay you less, I would, but it’s against the law.'” (Chris Rock)
2) “You don’t need a parachute to go skydiving. You need a parachute to go skydiving twice.”
3) “Did you know that there are more plastic flamingos in America than real ones?”Did you know that there are more plastic flamingos in America than real ones? Click To Tweet
4) “Did you hear the rumor about butter? Never mind, I shouldn’t spread it.” (Best Life)
5) “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I did an original sin. I poked a badger with a spoon.” (Eddie Izzard)
6) “You ever get a handwritten letter in the mail today? You’re like, ‘What the hell? Has someone been kidnapped?'” (Jim Gaffigan)
Pro-Tip #6: Pick a joke and frame it around your real-life experience. If you’re familiar and passionate about your joke, you have a better chance of getting a reaction from others. They’ll be able to feel your authenticity.
People Also Ask These Questions About Icebreaker Jokes
Q: What is a good icebreaker joke?
- A: “Why do they call it rush hour when nothing moves?” is one good icebreaker joke. Find even more icebreaker jokes in this post.
Q: What makes an icebreaker joke funny?
- A: The same qualities that make a standard joke funny make an icebreaker joke funny. While humor is no science, some experts, including comedians and scientists, have isolated characteristics that consistently make jokes funny. These characteristics include:
- Illustrating a generally harmless mistake, misunderstanding, or departure from the norm
- Commenting on the current social climate
- Disrupting expectations or norms on a concept, situation, or idea.
- Playing to what makes an audience similar
Q: How do I start my work presentation?
- A: Start your work presentation with an icebreaker joke. Many jokes work a little like social glue. Not only do they get people laughing, but they may also point out similarities of experience, opinions, and values and make a group feel more closely bonded.
Q: Where can I find icebreaker jokes for work?
- A: You can find good icebreaker jokes for work in this roundup, which includes office-appropriate icebreaker jokes for presentations, speeches, meetings, and more.
Q: Are there any good icebreaker jokes for a work meeting?
- A: There are plenty of good icebreaker jokes for a work meeting. For example, you could use a popular Jerry Seinfeld technique and say, “Have you ever noticed…” and fill in the blank with something funny or ridiculous you’ve observed lately.
Q: How do I tell a good joke at work?
- A: Tell a good joke at work by first finding an icebreaker joke you love and then practicing your delivery. Watch your favorite comedians to get inflection inspiration. Try it out on a few of your best work buddies. Before long, you’ll have a go-to joke that never fails to get laughs.
Q: What kinds of jokes are appropriate to tell at work?
- A: Icebreaker jokes are always appropriate to tell at work. Some other work-safe jokes include dad jokes, puns, and a myriad of other clean and not-always-cheesy jokes that don’t leverage taboos or inappropriate subjects.