Life Skills – How To Roast A Friend
June has arrived. It’s a season for weddings and bachelor parties and summer gatherings of friends. And in the spirit of summer fun, I’ve decided to explore the topic of how to roast a friend. I’ve been contemplating doing this for awhile.
Roasting comes naturally to some people, but for others it’s a difficult stretch. Having good resources is essential. But unless you’re willing to pay someone you don’t know to talk about someone you care about in a particularly impersonal way, the number of resources available on the internet to help you in this ignoble endeavor are remarkably limited. My blog series on roasting is meant to change the dynamic. Even an idiot can do a roast. So relax! Here’s what you need to know.
The basic idea of a roast is that you tease and torment someone you love by poking fun at what is most familiar about them. The contrast of what you say with what people know is a big part of what makes a roast funny. Those who attend the roast know that most of what they are going to hear isn’t true, but that there will be a kernel of truth in it, and everything said will be said in the spirit of fun.
Yet, not surprisingly, friends are a bit uncomfortable with the idea of saying less-than-flattering things about friends. This creates a huge challenge for the humor impaired. I’ve gotten a few requests regarding roasts over the years. One guy wrote, “I actually have not done a ‘roast’ as such. So I would like advice as to ‘tone’ and approach.” When I asked why, he said, “I don’t want to hurt my friend’s feelings.”
This guy was concerned that his friend’s sensitive feelings might get hurt and the damage could be permanent. “How old is he?” I asked. “60!” came the reply. Awwwwww. He’s only a 60 year old man!
Look, I’m not trying to make you feel bad. You probably do that to yourself better than I ever could. And I understand the concern. I’ve seen some pretty cruel scenes couched as ‘roasts’ and there is a point where the fun morphs into chagrin. It’s a good idea to know how to walk that line. And, like my roast-impaired writer wrote, “Any help would be greatly appreciated.”
Before I tell you how I answered his sweetly pathetic request for assistance, let me tell you that I know whereof I speak, for I am one who has been roasted and toasted until all my short hairs were singed. Indeed, I’m still a bit crispy in a few places, because it was done, and I was done, so well. But every time I touch those tender places, I feel nothing but love. And that’s exactly the way it’s supposed to feel.
Here’s the story: I had been asked to M.C. a banquet for a group of program chairs who host regional training events. As the evening progressed, each chair was to stand and say something from his region. When Joe P. got up (I’m looking at you, Pittsburgh!) instead of doing what was expected of him, he lit into me like a fuse on a ticking bomb. Me! Why, me? Apparently, I made an easy target for a clever man who was bored out of his brain.
Did it hurt? NOPE! I’ve never had so much fun in my life! I was breathless from laughter. Joe P. knows me (apparently, all too well) and knew what the group knew of me (so apparently, they’ve all talked about me behind my back), and he relentlessly attacked all of it. All of what? All of the things they knew and thought they knew and speculated on about who I am and why I do what I do. Between my fits of laughter, I kept looking around the room as he ranted on. It appeared to me that no one wanted him to stop. The group was watching me as I watched them, I guess to see how I would react to the relentless name calling and insults he was hurtling my way. Some of them would occasionally punctuate Joe’s comments by pointing at me and nodding as if to say, “GOTCHA!” And all I can say is, I’ve never felt so much love in my life. So I don’t know why people say Joe is stupid.
And now it’s almost your turn to show people that you’re not stupid when it comes to roasting your friends. I do this for you, my faithful and fickle blog readers (and by that, I’m including you, yes you! even if you’re a little on the slow side)
Stay tuned for the next few posts and I’ll give you a few keys that you can use to give a friend of yours the fun-ride of his or her life. People will call YOU for help. They’ll write your number down, “For a good time, call xxx-xxxx.” Won’t that be exciting?
Next time, I’ll give you the logistics of setting up a successful roast. Following that, I will help you to prepare your roast material. And I’ll conclude this series by sharing some material I’ve used to roast a friend.
Meanwhile, I’d love to hear your comments. No matter how stupid, trivial, trite or tacky. I won’t judge you. I’ll understand that you’re doing the best you can with the limited resources you have on board. KIDDING! (Not!)
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.