There are some occasions which demand speeches filled with humor and wit concurring with the vibe of the event. Whether it is a best man speech or a maid of honor speech, humor ensures that your speech entertains the audience, creating a jovial atmosphere. There have been orators who have impressed us with their entertainment speeches and people simply loved to hear them talk. Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain were two legendary figures who are known as much for their contribution to literature as for their impromptu speeches. Delivering a good entertainment speech takes some effort from your side and the first and the foremost thing that you need to do is a thorough analysis of the entertainment speech topic.
A great opening plays an important part in establishing you as an able orator, so it is imperative that you spend considerable time to write a witty, humorous opening. Most of the distinguished speakers always analyze their audience as it helps in knowing the level of sophistication that the speech should have. It also helps in deciding which elements would be a part of the speech. Before writing an entertainment speech, it can be beneficial if you gather some information on who is on the invitee list. You may not be able to precisely gauge their likes and dislikes but, it will certainly help you in deciding the undertone of your speech. Let us take a look at the famous speech of Mark Twain, titled “Our Fellow Savages of the Sandwich Islands”.
Ladies and Gentlemen: The next lecture in this course will be delivered this evening, by Samuel L Clemens, a gentleman whose high character and unimpeachable integrity are only equaled by his comeliness of person and grace of manner.
And I am the man!
I was obliged to excuse the chairman from introducing me, because he never compliments anybody and I knew I could do it just as well.
The next thing that you need to focus on is the body of the speech. It is necessary that your speech has a central theme around which the whole speech would revolve. The body of the speech is the central part of the speech and generally, it is observed that the attention of the audience starts drifting away at this stage. To ensure that you keep your audience interested, try keeping this part concise and make it lively by remembering some anecdotes. Look how beautifully Mark Twain has filled the speech with humorous epigrams to keep it lively and entertaining. This excerpt has been taken from Mark Twain’s address at gathering of Americans in London, July 4, 1872, titled “Americans and The English”.
This is an age of progress, and ours is a progressive land. A great and glorious land, too-a land which has developed a Washington, a Franklin, a Wm. M. Tweed, a Longfellow, a Motley, a Jay Gould, a Samuel C. Pomeroy, a recent Congress which has never had its equal (in some respects), and a United States Army which conquered sixty Indians in eight months by tiring them out-which is much better than uncivilized slaughter, God knows. We have a criminal jury system which is superior to any in the world and its efficiency is only marred by the difficulty of finding twelve men every day who don’t know anything and can’t read. And I may observe that we have an insanity plea that would have saved Cain. I think I can say, and say with pride, that we have some legislatures that bring higher prices than any in the world.
The conclusion of the speech should be written in such a way that it should drive the central idea of your speech and make it a memorable experience for the audience. You can use words such as, “Before I wrap up” or “Let me end this by saying” to signal to the audience that you have reached the closure of the speech. Audience will more likely remember the closing part of your speech so you might as well give something nice to remember. Something that will leave the audience in splits and allow a fitting end to your speech. You can take a look at the below example which highlights the use of humor while concluding a speech. This was an address by Woody Allen, titled “My Speech to the Graduates” and it first appeared in the New York Times in 1979.
Summing up, it is clear the future holds great opportunities. It also holds pitfalls. The trick will be to avoid the pitfalls, seize the opportunities, and get back home by six o’clock.
Some things that you have to remember are that entertainment speeches are just another form of speech and are not be confused with a stand-up comedy act. When you get down to write your entertainment speech, remember that you aren’t writing a script for a comic caper. Many people shy away when it comes to entertainment speeches, because they feel that they are not capable enough to make people laugh. You have to remember that humor is subjective, and while one person may laugh his head off, other may completely miss the joke!
Writing an entertainment speech is only half the job done as it is very crucial that you are able to deliver it well in front of an audience. You can rehearse in front of a mirror or a group of friends who can give you feedback on where you need to improve. You need to bring out the required emotions and ensure that you get your timing right. You don’t really need to get too worked up as the idea behind an entertainment speech is to ‘entertain’, so it will be great if you too enjoy your speech. It will make you appear natural and take care of any nerves.