Public Speaking Course:
Roast Humor and Insults
Learning the proper way to roast an individual is an important skill taught in my public speaking course. The person who is being roasted is actually being given an honor. You must be very careful to stay respectful to the person who is being roasted. You can joke about things that are obviously untrue or joke about things that are true, then exaggerate them to make them more obvious.
When choosing who to roast with jokes or a story, pick big targets. Never make fun of someone low on the totem pole (janitor, secretary, etc.). Make fun of the big boss. He or she will still be the boss after all the teasing and will look like a great sport for going along with it.
Members of 'in' groups can joke about their peers and insult each other all they want. Bob Hope made fun of Ronald Reagan. Everyone knew they were buddies.
If you widely spread an insult or collection of insults, the group can laugh together. No one is individually embarrassed. The same remarks aimed at just one person from a group might cause someone to get offended or hurt. Understanding this key point can make all the difference.
Always clear your comments IN ADVANCE of your presentation! Unless you are participating in a full-blown roast program, always make fun of yourself first. If you kid yourself first, the audience will be more receptive when you kid them. Here are some roast examples:
To an AT&T executive:
If a Martian called Ed's office to contact earth, he'd try to sell them on the benefits of our new 800 service.
Keep remarks focused on unimportant things that can't be damaging!
"Folks we are here tonight to Roast Joe. I'm particularly happy to be here because I can now say in public all the things I've been saying behind his back. He/she is a man/woman of the world . . . and you know what bad shape the world is in."
Insult about areas of recognized strength and superiority! The art of public speaking raises praises "of, by and for" the people.
To a great family man and/or community leader, the art of public speaking roaster might say:
"Joe's (neighbors/business associates/preacher, etc.,) all say what a wonderful couple he and his wife make . . . if it wasn't for Joe."
The roaster might say to a well-known philanthropist:
"He is a man of rare gifts . . . he hasn't given any in years."
At a program with a long head table with lots of speakers, an art of public speaking emcee might say:
"The emcee's job is not to be wise or witty. In fact, it is his job to appear dull so that the speakers on the program will shine in comparison. Tonight it looks like I'm going to have to rise to new heights of boredom."
To the audience emcee or speaker might say:
"I'm glad to be here tonight to look into your faces. . . . And God knows there are some faces here that need looking into."
"And Doctor Lookgood, your friendly plastic surgeon will be in the back of the room at the end of this program. And Doc, see me afterwards to pay your bill for this makeover of your image, and no I do not take Medicare payments."