Trying to make people laugh doesn't work.
Let me explain. Something about trying to make people laugh means that there's an insecurity somewhere in there; an insecurity that says, "please laugh at me, please, please." I'm reminded of a roommate I had once who laughed after everything he said, and most of it wasn't funny. But, because he was nervously laughing, I felt obliged to laugh. I never really felt good after being forced to laugh.
Trying to make people laugh in improv comedy is kind of like laughing after your own jokes--it's pretty obvious what you're trying to do, and even though people might laugh, they'll feel kind of weird about it.
Let me be clear. I'm not saying improvisers can't:
- be funny
- be clever
- do funny things
- be weird