You may be asked to participate in or even help organize a “barbecue” at some point in your life. The roast maybe from a person you know well, or maybe someone you don’t know at all. A barbecue is like a long speech or toast about a person, using harsh, curt, insulting humor to “skewer” or “mock” said person. They can be very fun and playful and actually serve to increase a sense of calm and social bonding between friends or associates.
The first important step in participating or organizing a barbecue is to have an accurate idea of the sensitivity of the person and the crowd. Are they more conservative or more liberal in terms of language, ideas, private life, etc.? Are they especially profane, with an anything-goes mentality or are they very devoutly religious and refrain from using even light profanity? Keeping barbecue jokes within the correct limits for the taste and sensibility of the crowd will help ensure an effective barbecue that will help everyone involved feel comfortable and appreciate the great light-hearted humor of the event.
Where does one begin to find specific topics on which to roast the honoree? What about your appearance, clothing, personal style, job, habits, weaknesses, likes and dislikes, extreme habits, relationships, employment history, speaking style, favorite phrases or sayings, eating habits, etc.? Make sure no specific topic is overly sensitive to the roast and/or her immediate family, so much so that it’s truly “off limits.” As long as you steer clear of terribly embarrassing or deadly serious topics, things that might come across as overly harsh or insulting at a business meeting, casual gathering, or cocktail party will likely be excellent fodder for your barbecue. Remember, the idea behind a barbecue is a shame-free, consequence-free environment in which to shower the honoree with attention and gift them with memories and impressions, albeit through the prism of teasing and jabs. If done correctly, the warm attention and honor that the person receives, sitting in the famous “hot seat”, more than compensates for the good jokes he receives at the hands of his friends, family or colleagues.