Roast Writing For The Sarcasm Impaired – Persuasive Communication and Life Skills
When you roast a friend, you use a combination of what you know PLUS what you know ain’t so. For example, you can use exaggeration to take familiar things people know about the roastee to the extreme, because exaggeration has humor power.
Lie, Exaggerate, Poke Fun
You can outright lie at a roast, so long as it begins with a truth and/or is really funny.
I can almost hear somebody out there saying, “Me? Lie? I never lie!” Oh, c’mon. I bet you do. Particularly if you exaggerate. Besides, everyone knows if it’s a lie, because it’s a roast and they all know the victim personally. So roasting gives you permission to have fun at the victim’s expense. Where could the harm possibly be in that? If what you say isn’t at all true, it’s still potentially good stuff, as long as it connects to something that is true.
Good material must have some bite to it, it has to touch near a nerve, it has to have some electricity running through it. Connect what you say to a person’s eccentricities, to known traits and peculiarities. All of that kind of stuff is fair game in a roast. And if you can’t say anything nice about the person, the rule of the roast is, “Let’s hear it!” Don’t worry. Nobody will get hurt because the whole subtext of a roast is that it’s a way to tell the victim, er, roastee, that ‘we love you.’
There are people on the East Coast who roast each other all the time. A friend of mine once told me that if you grow up in New York, you grow up with the ridicule of your loved ones. If nobody makes fun of you, nobody cares about you. I don’t know if this is actually true, but if it is, my friend obviously has cared deeply about my happiness and well being! The point? Find someone who’s grown up in a sarcastic culture – they’re everywhere now – and let one help you develop your roasting material. Like if they ridicule you for asking them to help, that’s them helping you with material. But don’t let them come if you’re the one being roasted. They might ruin it for everyone.
Start With Qualities, End With Eccentricities
When you think of your roastee, what qualities come to mind? What eccentricities do they have? Because once you’ve identified those, it’s a matter of finding some a few jokes puns and put downs to poke fun at ’em.
For example, I’ve got my Star Trek and Superman fetishes. If you were roasting me, you could have fun with these fixations of mine. You could actually do your whole roast about me based on that stuff. All my friends know about this quirkiness in me (and now you do too, so you’re officially my friend…that shows you just how exclusive my group of friends is!)
People who know me know these things about me, so anything you say about it will be taken with a grain of salt by me. But why talk about me when we can talk about John! Because the same would be true with John. And if not, who cares? The closer to home you can hit, the funnier it is.
So we start by making a list of things we know about John, like qualities he has, values he lives by, bits of his personal history. Then we just make fun of it. MAKE FUN. OF. IT. And while we’re at it, we can do the same with other people that we know will be attending the roast, so we can poke fun of them too.
For example,one person who was afraid of hurting John’s feelings wrote to me that “I typically do a blessing instead of a roast.” Really? I can make a joke out of him blessing John!
“John likes blessings, and Bill prefers giving blessings to doing a roast. One day John really ticked Bill off. So Bill blessed him. He said, ‘Go forth and multiply.’ Only he used other words.”
Get it? OMG, you don’t get it? ARGH! Subtext: Go frak yourself….now, you get that is a joke, right? Geesh. I don’t know why people say you’re stupid.
This could be hard for you if you’re afraid of offending the roastee. But John knows it’s coming, so pretend like he is a New Yorker! The only reason he’s being roasted is because he is loved.
Talk more about this next time! Be cooked well. Your comments are welcome.
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.