So you told a joke, but instead of the expected gales of laughter, you're greeted by naught but silence, or perhaps a long, mournful record scratch. In the back of the room, someone coughs. A baby begins crying. Somewhere in the world, a dove falls from the sky, dead.
What happened? You were sure that joke was going to kill. How did it go wrong? Is it someone else's fault? That'd be super. It's not, but boy, wouldn't it be great if it was?
It's still not.
As someone who's heard more than his fair share of chirping crickets, I do have a bit of wisdom to share on the subject of failed jokes. Below I've enumerated four of the most common manners in which the comedy bed can be shat, as well as some helpful(ish) tips on how said bed may be discreetly unshat.