Humorous Speech

How to write a humorous speech without getting depressed.

I'm serious! The number of times I've heard people tell me how hard it is to use humor when they speak. Sometimes I've seen the blood drain from a person's face when they're asked to come up with a funny speech.

At my Toastmasters Club we always get far fewer entries for the Humorous Speech Contest, than the other contests.

It seems we can even be afraid of having fun!

It's just the brainwashing of the herd again. That big, smelly, stupid, stampeding mass of humanity sometimes drags us along with it's silly beliefs. Nonsense like "You're either born funny or your not", "I shouldn't use humor, it doesn't suit my speaking style", or "I don't know how to be funny".

Warning. Warning. Error. Error.

Can you laugh? Good, then you can give a humorous speech.

Ok, now we've got that straight, let's look at how it's done.

First some important funny speech ideas you must understand.

Get Your First Laughs Early

Elsewhere on this site you can read an analysis of how to start a speech based on some of the most popular talks. You'll notice all the great ones got a laugh in the first 30 seconds. And these weren't even humorous speeches! (Or were they? - see the next point.)

Every Speech Is A Humorous Speech

I attended a funeral the other day and I had lots of good laughs. Two of the friends of the deceased gave great, heartfelt eulogies and they were very funny. Even in a sad situation like this, people are so naturally wired to laugh and enjoy themselves. What a gift those speakers gave us. They showed it's possible even to farewell a good friend, without losing a sense of perspective. They told funny stories which celebrated the man's life, and everyone in that room loved them for it.

I also know there were others in that room who would have loved to get up and say a few words. But they were afraid. That's sad. It's also totally unnecessary.

How You Speak Is More Important Than What You Speak About

"My method is to take the utmost trouble to find the right thing to say, and then to say it with the utmost levity."- George Bernard Shaw

I know a lot of people agonize over finding a humorous topic for their speech. There's no need. Public speaking humor is all about delivery.

Shaw was right. Just pick a topic you want to talk about and then speak in a humorous way.

This is an incredibly useful skill to develop. When people are laughing they're enjoying themselves. They like the person who made them laugh (at least for now). They are far more likely to be influenced by you.

Not a bad return on your investment of a bit of thought and time to make your message more humorous.

Steps To Write A 5 To 7 Minute Long Humorous Speech

  1. Choose a topic you really want to talk about.

  2. Start thinking about funny ways to speak about it.

  3. Start thinking about one or two stories you can tell with humor.

  4. Write stuff down as it occurs to you.

  5. Let it all percolate for a few days at least while you go about your normal daily business.

  6. At some point lay your speech out on paper.

  7. Start with a laugh.

  8. Start with a story.

  9. Keep telling funny stories.

  10. End with a laugh.

  11. Time yourself very carefully once it's finished. Remember to allow extra time for the audience laughing!

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