Writing a Retirement Roast Speech

Something can be really fun about writing a retirement roast speech: you have freedom to insult, mock, and tease a friend, colleague, or even superior from work as they leave a company for good. This opportunity comes with a price – the horror of crossing the line too far, of insulting in a distasteful way, or even putting your own job in jeopardy. In truth, it is all fun and games until someone gets hurt – and when it is a roast, someone could definitely get hurt. Keep reading for some advice, tips, and tricks about writing a retirement roast speech.

Disaster Example: Roast Speeches Gone Wrong

Have you ever seen the television show, The Office? The main character, Michael, is the boss of an office who offered to allow his subordinates roast him – and it all went wrong. The jokes were funny, but in the end, Michael took the event very personally, leaving feeling worthless and lonely.

Are you afraid that your roast is going to hurt the person it attacks? Will the person be able to handle a few jokes at their expense, or will they take the roast personally? In one sense, you can never tell. Some people even look forward to being roasted – that is, until the first joke that hits a little too close to home puts them on edge during the roast. See if you can gain an insight to this person’s attitude towards humor, and gather an opinion of how far the roast should really go in your retirement roast speech.

Brainstorming Ideas: Your Own Experiences

Before writing a retirement roast speech, begin to brainstorm a list of information that could be potentially included in the speech. Are there memories, tidbits of information, or thoughts – even rumors – that might be good additions to the roast speech?

Keep this list to yourself for the time being. You do not want to share this information before the roast itself, nor do you want to connect yourself with this information if it is never publicly shared.

Incorporating the Group: Asking Others for Content

Let a few trusted coworkers know (in person, not over email, which can be traced) that you plan on roasting someone at their retirement party. Ask them if they have any content that might be worth including in the speech. If not, you’ve probably got a lot of ideas to work with.

The benefit of including others in the process is that you share the burden of blame, should something cross the line when the speech is delivered. If lots of people are involved in the project, you will have your bases covered and feel that you are not alone in the roasting process.

Writing a Roast Speech

The writing of a retirement roast speech can be fun. Some people like to make index cards with each little fact on one side, and then all possible permutations of a joke about it on the other. That way, you can keep options open and do a lot of editing of your speech before it is actually presented.

Ask yourself: Is this joke in good taste? Do I find it more funny, or more insulting?  Pass some of the jokes by your coworkers. Do they agree about the nature of the content? Will other people understand your jokes? Remember that this really is not the appropriate time for inside jokes, since a roast joke that only one other person finds funny is not a good use of roasting time.

Tips and Tricks to Remember

This is a roast, so everyone is going to want to be involved. Make sure you make a clear outline of your speech, or even type it word by word in a word processor, depending on your style. Allow time for laughter pauses between each joke, but don’t beg for applause either.

For more information about writing a retirement roast speech, don’t take tips from Comedy Central. Instead, consider the audience and the person who is retiring. Concerned about whether to leave in or remove one part of your speech? Tip: If in doubt, don’t put it in your speech.

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