Public Speaking Course:
Roast Humor and Insults
An important skill taught in my public
speaking course is learning the proper way to roast an individual. 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 make fun of 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 good sport for going along with it.
If you widely spread an insult or collection of insults, to a group
they can all laugh together. No one is individually embarrassed. The same remarks
said to just one person from that group might cause
someone to get offended or hurt. Understanding this key point from
your public speaking course can make all
Always clear your comments IN ADVANCE of your speaking engagement! 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!
To a great family man and/or community leader, the
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
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 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
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