Looking For Funny Speech Topics? Here’s What You Need To Know

I’m fairly sure that the vast majority of people who are searching online for funny speech topics must be students who have been assigned the task of creating and delivering a funny speech as part of a school project.

I say that because from my perspective as a comedian trainer, this notion of trying to find funny speech topics is like one of those prank jokes where a teenager is sent into an automotive parts store by one of their parents to try to buy a bottle of “blinker fluid”.

Why do I say that? I say that because trying to somehow “find” funny speech topics that are funny because of the topic itself is very much like trying to buy a bottle of blinker fluid.

Want to save yourself a ton of time and gain some insight that you can actually use when it comes to that funny speech topic that you are trying to nail down?

If so, let’s get started.

Generating Laughs: The Details

The first thing you need to be aware of is how your sense of humor actually works to get you laughs when you use it.

Note: When it comes to getting laughs from using your sense of humor, the process works EXACTLY the same whether you are talking with a group of friends or delivering s speech to an audience.

Let’s look at the last time you were standing around shooting the breeze with your friends.

You will note that certain topics that made it into the discussion activated your sense of humor. Other things that were discussed did not activate your sense of humor.

You should also note that it wasn’t the topic of discussion itself that was inherently funny. For example, you could have been discussing “dating experiences”, “getting stopped by the police while driving”, “incidents while partying”, “alien abductions” or any other topic.

What you need to grasp immediately is that NONE of those topics that I just listed are funny at all — certainly not from the name of the topic itself.

So here’s the question that you need to answer for yourself:

What is it about any topic that makes it funny when it is talked about?

It’s not the topic itself that’s ever funny — it’s ALWAYS the particular details provided in relation to any “topic” that make any topic funny or not.

And it will always be the details about any particular topic that will either activate a person’s sense of humor and the way they express their sense of humor or they won’t.

When I talk about details I am specifically talking about:

  • Experiences (personal or those had by others)
  • Observations
  • Things that were said and responded to
  • Opinions and speculation
  • Reactions to events and occurrences (real or speculated)
  • Miscommunication
  • What could have transpired or have happened
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And on and on and on. Seriously, just think back to the last couple of times you were standing around talking with friends or family members and everyone was cracking up about what was being discussed.

Was it the topic that was funny or was it the details associated with the topic that was being discussed that generated the laughs? It will always be the details about any topic — not the topic itself — that causes laughter to happen.

If you don’t believe that, simply look to stand-up comedy. Virtually every household name comedian talks about one or more of these topics:

  • Dating experiences
  • Interacting with the spouse
  • Interacting with kids
  • Staying in hotels
  • Flying on airplanes
  • Issues with extended family members

And on and on. Again, what makes these topics funny and unique for any comedian is NOT the topic itself. It is about all the details that are revealed about these topics — specific details that activate a comedian’s sense of humor that make any particular topic funny.

Important Public Speaking Tips

So if it your desire to deliver a funny speech or presentation, here’s what you need to know:

1. Quit looking for out-of-the-box funny speech topics — it’s a waste of time.

2. Any topic can be a funny speech topic provided that the details that you associate with that topic easily activate your sense of humor.

Note: You can’t “force” orĀ  otherwise make something funny that does not activate your sense of humor. Don’t get me wrong — you can certainly try but I promise that you will be sorely disappointed with the results (or the lack of laughs).

3. Always look at the details that you will be associating with any speech or presentation topic (either external and/or personal).

By looking at the details that you can associate with any particular topic, there are only a few things that you can do to develop a funny speech or presentation:

  • If the details about any topic easily activate your sense of humor, you are good to go. If not…
  • You can try to identify different details about a topic that DO activate your sense of humor or…
  • You can look into a different topic that truly does lend itself to details that activate your sense of humor.

Now if you don’t have a choice about the speech or presentation topic you are tasked with turning into a funny speech and none of the details associated with that topic easily activate you sense of humor, then you need to go to Plan B which is…

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Another Tactic

Another approach that you can use if your speech content does not spark your sense of humor is to sprinkle your talk with open source comedy material that can be directly or indirectly associated with your speech topic.

What do I mean by open source comedy material? Specifically, I am talking about:

  • Open source jokes (known as street jokes in stand-up comedy or joke jokes)
  • Funny quotes by celebrities, politicians, or other personalities (credited if used)
  • Select portions of stand-up comedian routines (credited if used)

Let me give you an absurd example of what I am talking about.

Let’s say that you are assigned the topic of “Migration Habits Of Grasshoppers” and told to craft a 10 minute funny speech based on that obviously non-funny topic.

And let’s assume that there are no details about this topic that even remotely trigger your sense of humor. Here is one way I could start a speech using an open source joke:

“When I was assigned the topic of Migration Habits Of Grasshoppers as a funny speech assignment, it immediately reminded me of that story about the grasshopper that walked into a bar, the bartender saw him and said “Hey! Guess what? We have a drink named after you!”

The grasshopper looked at the bartender and replied “You have a drink named Calvin?”

After that, every couple of minutes I would inject additional open source comedy material that was related to the details that you would be presenting at that juncture.

Final Thoughts

It should be apparent that armed with the right information, it’s not difficult to transform any speech or presentation into a funny one.

You simply need the topic details that activate your sense of humor. And obviously, you need to have the confidence to use your sense of humor during a speech or presentation.

Audiences ALWAY appreciate being entertained — especially when the their expectation is that they won’t be.

And last but not least…

I hope that it is blaringly apparent that trying to find funny speech topics by themselves as the foundation for producing a speech or presentation that generates laughs is a colossal waste of time.

Steve Roye is one of the world's foremost experts in the field of spoken word comedy development and delivery for stand-up comedians and public speaking professionals alike. For details about Steve's diverse background and extensive experience, click here.

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