Hints for Doing a Roast About a Person

Roasts are a way to laugh at another's expense.
Roasts are a way to laugh at another's expense. (Image: brunette laugh image by Andrey Kiselev from Fotolia.com)

You may be familiar with those celebrity roasts where the guest of honor is mercilessly and hilariously insulted by a panel of "friends." A roast is also a fun way to celebrate a special event like a birthday or retirement party. All it takes is a roomful of friends and relatives and some funny, personal material, and you can enjoy an evening full of laughs that is sure to be remembered.

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Pick the Right Candidate

Be sure that the person you're roasting has a good sense of humor as well as a thick skin. It's probably a good idea to discuss the idea with the "roastee" beforehand to be sure they're on board with the idea. You might even test out a few of your jokes on the candidate to see if they're too far out of line. Save your best material for the actual event.

Choose the Right People

Choose the right people to do the roasting, such as friends, family or business associates. Try to avoid inviting anyone who's had a recent falling out with the candidate to avoid a possible confrontation. There is no set number of roasters that works best, but as a general rule, the more roasters there are, the more lively and hilarious the event is likely to be. Also, choose someone who knows the candidate well and is a good public speaker to serve as roastmaster.

Dig for Material

Use all available resources for material. Look through old scrapbooks or yearbooks for embarrassing photos, and if possible, have a truly "geeky" photo enlarged and placed at the center of the roasting table. Hold a brainstorming session with some of the roasters who know the candidate best to come up with more ideas and possible jokes.

Acquire Professional Material

If you're having trouble coming up with material or want to supplement what you have, borrow tried-and-true roast jokes that are sure to hit the mark. Websites such as Halife.com contain a wealth of material that you can tailor to fit your candidate, or that will stimulate the thought process to help you come up with jokes of your own.

Have a Heart

While you and the other roasters should be as insulting and funny as possible, don't forget to throw in a kind word here and there. The person you're roasting is probably loved and cherished by just about everyone in the room, so take the time to say something about what the person means to you. Remember: the shoe may be on the other foot someday, and your roastee will enjoy seeking revenge.

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