Laughter is the Best Medicine

Toastmasters’ Humorous Speech Contest: Picking a Topic

If you want to pick a topic to help you in
the Toastmasters’ Humorous Speech Contest, what do you pick? The answer to that is coming
right up. Stay tuned. Hi, I’m Rick Olson, founder of If you’re wanting to win Toastmasters’ Humorous Speaking Contest, what’s
a good topic? If you look at the definition of comedy, one definition is comedy equals
truth and pain. A couple of episodes ago I shared that the
two primary reasons why people laugh, surprise and superiority. Comedy equals truth and pain
can be amplified and narrowed down to superiority, making the audience feel superior to me the
speaker, and therefore causing a laugh. For example, Mel Brooks says tragedy is when
I get a paper cut, but comedy is when you fall in a manhole and die. That’s, unfortunately,
the reality of comedy. If you want to pick a topic to help you win the Humorous Speaking
Contest, pick one where you encounter struggle, your obstacles, conflict. Think of it as you
trying to get from point A to point B and encountering obstacles.
I’ve seen current winners this year talk about the struggles with trying to get their kids
to bed, struggles with learning how to dance and struggles with being short.
Now some of the cute topics that didn’t win were a guy and his life with his two dogs.
The key element that was missing was conflict. It was a cute story and he got some laughs
but he didn’t even place. Think about your life.
Think about an area where you wanted to achieve something but you encountered obstacles.
The other kind of story that is very similar is considered a fish out of water story. That’s
where you’re in a position that’s uncomfortable and foreign to you. Think of it as obstacles.
Think of Marty McFly in Back to the Future. When he went back in time, he was a fish out
of water. Think of a time when struggled in an environment that wasn’t natural to you.
Recently I took up yoga. As a big guy, let me tell you, I am a fish out of water and
I flop around on that mat a lot. Those are my two recommendations for you. Think of a
time when you wanted to get from point A to point B and encountered obstacles.
The other is think of a time when you were out of your natural environment and you struggled
because of that. That will help you set up a story and set up a speech that is primed
for a lot of laughs. That will position you to win the Toastmasters’
Humorous Speaking Contest. If you want to know more, jump over to I
have the Public Speakers Guide to Humor there. You can read that. I also have some other
recommendations on how to create laughs. I look forward to to helping you cut through
the fluff, general, vague information, and help you become a funnier you.
See you next time.

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