Doing a Roast about a Person with Jokes

Exaggerate a kernel of truth with jokes during a roast. 

anecdotes and jokes for roasts


The Roast is to include jokes and anecdotes from other sources to apply to the honored guest.

The myth, revisited

In a previous post  I talked about the myth that makes roasts unpleasant. That myth 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.  I gave an example of Lucille Ball’s roast of Jimmy Stewart about his garden from one of the Dean Martin Roast shows.

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 simply plug in the roastee’s name as the protagonist. Let me illustrate from my own real life experience that was, in fact, my discovery of the secret to preparing and delivering fun loving roasts. THAT is covered in Part 3.

My successful use of jokes during a roast

I was attending a Toastmasters Awards and Installation Banquet. This is an annual event, usually held in August, where attendees celebrate the successes of the District leaders that served the previous year (July 1 – June 30th) and the leaders for the new year are officially installed. The events most always include the roast of the immediate past District Governor (a District Governor in Toastmasters is essentially a person given the opportunity to VOLUNTARILY be the CEO of a non-profit organization for a year.)

So, there I was, bored to death. Person after person were getting up and attempting to be funny by telling true stories about the immediate past District Governor: the fatal mistake of roasts. I knew I needed to get up and participate, as it is a sign of respect to deliver a roast and boast to the man/woman of the hour. I knew very little about this man. I knew just 3 things:

  1. I knew that he was shy by nature.
  2. I knew he had a tough time with women because of that shyness but had managed to find a lady and was now engaged.
  3. I knew the theme of his year “Light the Fire Within.”

So, with those kernels of truth in mind, I recalled one of my favorite jokes. The Elevator Joke.

elebator.carttonIn the elevator joke, a guy enters an elevator and there is an attractive woman already there. As the elevator starts to rise, the woman pushes the stop button and proceeds to tell the guy how turned on she is by him – unbuttoning her shirt and throwing in on the elevator floor begging, “Make a woman out of me!” The man, once over the surprise and shock of this aggressive advance by this very attractive woman, unbuttons his shirt and throws it on top of hers inviting her to, “IRON THIS!”

I took the few kernels of truth I knew about the immediate past District Governor and tweaked the joke into a story that sounded sort of like this (I have changed the names to protect the innocent.)

I heard that at the last Toastmaster International convention, Paul entered the elevator and there stood Sally! Yes. This is actually how he met Sally! Did you know that? She was very attracted to Paul because of his stature in Toastmasters and because she knew that he is shy. You know what they say about shy men! Right? Anyway…so into the elevator walks Paul. As the elevator rises Sally pushes the button so the it stalls and the doors cannot open.  Her eyes seeking his, she slowly unbuttons her blouse, takes it off, and throws it on the elevator floor.   “Paul,!” she says breathlessly, ” light my fire within!”   Once Paul got over the initial shock he proceeded to unbuttoned his shirt…”

You know the rest of the story. Well, the assembly roared, and the energy of the event shifted immediately. Person after person got up with one of their favorite jokes and simply tweaked it to make Paul the protagonist. Worked like a charm.

Jokes during a roast are based on kernels of truth.

Stories during a roast are not based on real life experiences.  They are 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. An off-colored offensive joke would not work at a business-related event,  but it might work very well at a Bachelor’s party.

Image Source:  Circe Denyer on Public Domain Pictures


Article Title:  Doing a Roast about a Person with Jokes

Author: Linnaea Mallette

Source: Kiss-Speaking-Tips

 Doing a Roast about a Person with Jokes



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