I was thrilled that a fellow Toastmaster took my suggestions on how to deliver a roast of a person and delivered a delightfully funny roast.
What is a Roast?
In Toastmasters, we have a custom of praising and poking fun at outgoing leaders. It yet another great skill we acquire while participating in the program. Once understood, the ability to prepare and deliver a roast is a wonderful accomplishment that will serve you well in a variety of celebratory situations such as retirement parties, weddings, and milestone birthdays.
In a previous post, I talked about the myth that causes the roast of a person unpleasant. That is, that roasts must be based on a person’s real experiences. That is not true. It is true of the BOAST, (praise) but not the ROAST. With the ROAST we take kernels of truth about the person of honor and greatly exaggerate them. An easy way to do this is to use jokes.
Jokes during a Roast
Use a joke or anecdotes based on kernels of truths. We can take tips from the Toastmasters assignment #3 in the advanced manual titled, “Special Occasion Speeches,” which instructs:
The roast is to include jokes and anecdotes adapted from other sources to apply to the honored guest.
The secret is: “jokes and anecdotes adapted from other sources…” The easiest way to do this is to identify the interests and hobbies of the honored person (aka roastee) and find related jokes and then simply plug in the roastee’s name as the protagonist.
The Roast of Janet Walters
Every August our Toastmasters District hosts an Awards and Installation banquet. At that prestigious event, the outgoing leadership team is recognized, and the incoming team officially “installed.” The outgoing District Director, the top dog, is most always roasted.
Well, this year our second ranking officer, Kathleen, did a roast of our drop-dead-gorgeous District Director, Janet Walters. Now, Janet is no dumb blond. Under her leadership, our District became President’s Distinguished for the first time in thirty-three years – ranking #1 in North America and #10 in the world. No small feat, believe me.
Kathleen had been privy to one of my training on how to roast a person and took the advice to use jokes to heart. What jokes did she use? Blond jokes. Of course. However, she picked real situations Janet would be a part of, then twisted them with a blond joke. With Kathleen’s permission, here is an audio video of the roast. There is a photo of Kathleen delivering the roast, and a photo of Kathleen and Janet standing together that appear throughout the video.
In summary, stories during a roast do not need to be based on real life experiences. They are most entertaining if based on kernels of truth greatly exaggerated…and jokes are the easiest way to pull that off. There are many jokes on the Internet, and there are many joke books you can refer to as well. Be mindful of the audience and the occasion; make sure the jokes fit the taste of the event. Kathleen did a good job choosing tasteful dumb-blond jokes in her roast of Janet.