How to Write a Funny Speech
There are many ways to engage audiences of all kinds with humor.
When writing any speech, prepare an outline that includes all of the pertinent aspects you wish to cover. Make a list of funny anecdotes that people could relate to. A good opening at a business event might be "You'll have to forgive me if I seem a little scattered. I was in such a hurry to get here that I deleted the file with my speech in it. So I'm using an old draft. Kinda like the dog ate my homework, except that this time it was the legal department's fault. If you've ever gotten a call from senior counsel at 5:55, you know what I mean. If you haven't, consider yourself very, very lucky!"
Speeches that include funny stories are almost always popular. Short stories that relate to your topic, you and your audience may be added throughout the speech. The news is full of great material. For example, "A headline in the paper said that miners refuse to work after death. I thought, if miners have the capability to work after death, we really need to figure out a way to recruit those guys - or at least figure out how they train their people!"
Business people who travel or get together socially often have a history that is rife with good material. Frequent travel usually includes some form of funny event that will easily translate. Another tactic is to incorporate funny props or mementos to illustrate a story.
Plan to direct comments to people in the audience with specific memorable situations, or take comments that you've heard and build upon them. For example, if a partner is known for going through a lot of assistants, you could say something like "Hey, Joe - HR called and asked me if I had any recommendations for your next assistant. I told them 'Yeah, don't take the job!' They said 'No, we meant can you recommend someone? I said 'No one I really like. And people I don't like would know where I work!" You could also use references to "Generation X" or "Baby Boomers" so that the audience can relate to what is being said.
Using famous quotes and adding your own spin can be particularly humorous. Try taking some motivational sayings and add a touch of reality. For example, "As legendary Chinese Taoist philosopher Lao Tsu said, 'There is no greater happiness than freedom from worry, and there is no greater wealth than contentment,' Yeah, as long as you didn't lose your retirement fund in the last recession!"
Susan S. Davis is a writer and small business consultant. She regularly contributes to many web and print magazines and websites. She also writes comedy material, sketches and scrpts when she is not working on her novel. www.MediaDragon9.com