Tips & Tricks to Roasting
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating your Roast videos:
- Think about odd habits or quirks. Write down anything the person does that’s a bit crazy or silly. Maybe the person has a habit of only eating food on separate plates or only getting in the elevator if there are fewer than five people on it. These little habits can be great for filling out a roast. For example, if the person you’re roasting loves peanut butter and bologna sandwiches, that’s a little outside of the norm and people may find it funny. However, if the person likes to send mean messages to people, that’s not as fun. It goes against the norm, but it also causes emotional harm to people.
- Recall notable memories. Another good source for a roast is interesting interactions you’ve had with the person. Everyone has days where they’re a little off, and how that person acted on an “off” day could be a source for a roast. Alternatively, if you have any memories where the person did something truly goofy, that could be a great story for a roast. For instance, maybe a person jumped into the pool (fully clothed) at an office party to save a box of donuts. You could use that to tease the person a bit.
- Stretch the truth, but don’t ignore it. Often, the roast jokes that get the most laughs have an element of truth in them, but don’t cross the line into being outright mean. For instance, you might turn a mention of the one pair of pants that Joe wears to work that are just a bit too short into a riff on his Steve Urkel-esque fashion sense. But don’t just attack the person’s sense of style without any context, or berate them for wearing clothes that make them look fat.
- State the obvious. Don’t drive yourself crazy looking for obscure joke topics. Focus first on things that everyone who even barely knows the person being roasted will quickly recognize. Is the person really tall? Do they have a shockingly deep voice? Are they bald? As long as it’s something you know they can laugh about, aim several of your jokes at this kind of easy target. For example, is the person bad with technology?: “Larry is a decent nurse, but terrible with computers. He’s introduced more viruses into the office than the patients have.”
- Use the element of surprise. The element of surprise can often help you create the punchline of the joke. That is, people often expect a story to go one way. If it goes a different way, that can often produce a laugh. Use the person’s quirks to create the element of surprise. Alternatively, use a line of your own to surprise your audience.
- Focus on detail. What will really make your roast funny is putting what you have to say in perspective by using stories to drive the point home. If you just say, “Haha, isn’t Fred a joke? He’s always running late,” that’s not very funny. However, if you put the same point in a story, people will find it more amusing. For example, you could say, “Fred has never been on time for a staff meeting. In fact, when it came time for him to lead one, he thought he was supposed to start it with ‘OK, any questions before we finish?’ And for the ‘continental breakfast’ he brought lukewarm decaf and half an onion bagel for everyone to share.” While providing detail is good, make sure you don’t waste excessive time getting to the point of the joke.
- Figure out where the line is. Whenever you roast someone, you’ll find there’s a line you don’t want to cross. If you cross that line, you could seriously offend the person. The problem is, that line is in a different place for every person, so it can be hard to gauge. Use your own experience with the person to decide which categories are fair game, and which are off limits.
- Get information from other people. If you’re having trouble coming up with enough material on your own, feel free to ask other people if they have anything they’d like to add. You may find they contribute something you’d never have thought of, making the roast that much richer.
- Get the timing right. Part of being funny is pacing yourself. If you rush through a story and the punchline, you’re probably going to leave people in the dust. Instead, include pauses so that your audience can keep up, especially when you’re delivering the punchline.
Lastly, have FUN with it. You have time and technology and isolation on your side. If you’re unhappy with the first go, try again. We just ask that all entries are submitted by November 1st. Thank you again for participating in our first Virtual Boom! Roasted, this event would not be possible without our roasters!