It's no big secret that women prefer a man with a sense of humour, but just knowing that doesn't make it any easier.

We asked Russell Howard how to do it...

"Doing stand-up is very different to being funny in the pub with friends or a date, obviously. Stand-up’s a one-way conversation – you can’t really do that with just one other person. It'd be a bit rude. But I think to be funny you have to feel comfortable. If you’re not relaxed then awkwardness comes across.

Stories are funnier than jokes. People respond warmly if it’s clear that you’re telling something that happened to you and genuinely amused you. I love positive comedy. It’s easier to make someone smile talking about something wonderful than it is saying something’s crap. Don’t be scared of saying something that’s not funny. Once you’ve said it, if it didn’t go well, it’s gone.

I tried all my jokes out on my girlfriend before my first ever gig and a lot crashed and burned. But I just went for it. It felt amazing. Don’t be too weird. That can be confusing. I remember seeing a stand-up who’d just eat a banana with a spoon and sing the theme song from The Sweeney. Not great.

Don’t beat yourself up. Sometimes things go badly. You can’t let things get in your head and stress about them. You’ll get those moments where you’re lying in bed staring at the ceiling and thinking ‘Oh God, why did you say that, you idiot?’, but everyone gets that. The best laughter is when it’s effortless. When they’re laughing all through the story, not just at a punchline. That’s when it’s great."

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