Aug 12

Humorous Speech Contest

Well contest season at Toastmasters is rapidly approaching… again. It only seems five minutes ago that we were approaching the International Speech contest, which was waaaay back in February this year. Yikes. Now we have the Humorous Speech contest.

This is probably going to have to be an occasion where I take a back seat. I’ve recently stepped up to the plate as Vice President Education (essentially second in command) so I’m over-seeing club members progress, organising the contest and running a workshop on humorous speaking. That’s a lot of organisation, I’ll manage to squeeze in some stage time though.

I got to looking at the speech contest rules again and I discovered something very interesting. Well, interesting to me at least. Audience response – i.e. laughter – is quite low down on the Judge’s Guide and is only worth 10 points. I say only because the areas of speech development, effectiveness and speech value all are wortha total of 15 points each.

Laughter a mere 10. This goes some way to hightlighting the distinction between comedians and humorists. A comedian’s message is the laughter, whereas for a humorist laughter is the medium for the message. Which is why speech development is high on the list of the Humorous Speech Contest.

Here’s a link to the contest rules on the Toast of Chicago website.

If you’re taking part in the contest this year have a browse around this site see if there’s anything useful. I’ll point you in the direction of some of my other articles that I’ve written on humour away from this blog.

I’d also recommend a few resources that I’ve found invaluable. There is an emphasis on creating stand-up comedy material, but the creative processes are exactly the same if you’re having to create a humorous speech. Here are the two products that have had a major influence on me creating humorous material:

Steve Roye – Killer Stand-up (includes Comedy Evaluator Pro)
Steve’s other product – Top Comedy Secrets

I have previously reviewed both of this products elsewhere on this blog. Here’s a link to the review of the Killer Stand-up System and here’s the link to the review of Top Comedy Secrets.

You never know, I may take part and end up reciting a few of Andrew Dice Clay jokes. Hmm… maybe not.

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  1. brad montgomery

    Hey Jason…this is awesome. Keep up the good work. Hope we can be a team together for a long time!


  2. Jason Peck

    Hey Brad,

    Thanks for dropping by and for the compliments. Yes, I hope we can be a team together for a long time too.

    I have to make sure that I make the distinction in my forthcoming workshop. A lot of people think that they could never do stand-up, so therefore could never be a funny speaker.



  3. Groom Speech

    Thats interesting because I don’t think many people will have even thought of that distinction between humour and comedy themselves. A lot of people seem intent on looking for funny wedding speeches and speeches without realising it shouldn’t be a stand up comedy performance.
    .-= David@Grooms Speech´s last blog ..Groom Speeches – The Hard Way Or The Easy Way =-.

  4. Jason Peck

    Hey David,

    Thanks for dropping by, your comments are interesting to me. I do agree that funny wedding speeches aren’t necessarily about creating a stand-up comedy performance. There is a difference between a humorous speech and stand-up.

    However, I do think that the mechanics for creating humour, whether in a speech or in a comedy set, are the same.

    We both know that people love to laugh and be entertained. Most of the speakers at a wedding want to be able to get laughs with their speeches, especially the Best Man.

    While the role of the Best Man it is a lot more involved than just giving the speech. I think that, out of all the wedding speeches, it is the closest to stand-up comedy. Much of what the Best Man says is to roast the Groom.

    Although I do think it’s important for the Best Man to make the Groom the hero in his speech and pay an honest, touching tribute as well as cracking wise.


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