Life Skills – Getting In The Roasting Frame Of Mind
If you’ve been reading this series, you know we’re preparing ourselves for a summer of hot fun roasting our friends. Assuming you’ve done the logistical prep and understood the gist of the roast, it’s time to set your mind in the right direction about your material. SHOULD you ever be invited to speak at a roast – and at this point, it’s only a matter of time – here are some pointers to appropriately pay tribute to the honoree (and keep the other roasters from unleashing a malicious verbal assault upon you).
Pick A Willing Target
Never roast a friend who lacks a sense of humor or self esteem. A person who is unsure of his standing in a group will not well tolerate being poked and prodded with insults. If in doubt, don’t do it. Even if everything in you cries out for it, resist the urge. There’s no upside to hurting someone’s feelings, and that humorless person may even seek revenge.
Deal with your fear.
Here’s the biggest barrier to writing material. FEAR! Specifically, the fear of hurting someone’s feelings. But think this through. If someone gets their feelings hurt by what you say, you can always blame the roastmaster for inviting you to the roast. Or you take it all back with those magic words, “Just kidding!” Besides, you’re roasting a grown up and this is just good ole fashioned teasing.
Keep it short and simple.
Three to five minutes is plenty of time and you really don’t need any more than that. Use actual jokes rather than embarrassing stories. Stories take too long and more often than not, they are about inside jokes that leave people out rather than drawing them in. Jokes are short and sweet. You don’t have to start from scratch because there are tons of them around that you can adapt.
Be mindful of boundaries.
Secrets are secrets and that doesn’t change in a roast. And while spouses can be fun targets, they may provoke a defensive response that isn’t worth the cost.
Everybody is fair game.
You don’t have to limit yourself to the official ‘roastee.’ Other presenters can be poked and prodded, and so can anyone else. Most people feel honored to get a mention.
Have your apologies ready.
Roasting is an art, not a science. Maybe you went too far. You can tell if your friends shun you the next day. If they do, beg for forgiveness. Beg for mercy. And then, once they give it to you, insult them again. (Just kidding! Geeze, lighten up!)
Rick is a best selling author and the founder of the Art of Change Skills for Life. His book titles include, Dealing with People You Can’t Stand: How to bring out the best in people at their worst, Life by Design and Influence and the Art of Persuasion. These days he is spending quality time away from the spotlight enjoying the company of his wife and practicing his electric guitar.