"This is Going to be Fun!"

A Roast Retirement Party can be hilarious entertainment. Jokes and comedy should flourish. However, it requires extensive research and preparation to make it exceptional. Here are the keys to make it work.

Before settling in on a "roast", you must ask the retiree if she is willing to be roasted. That is important for two reasons. First, there will be speakers poking fun at her. Second, she must prepare to retaliate in the counter-roast.

Both the guest of honor and the speakers will be the target of some jokes. Their personalities must embrace the humor. They must be able to laugh at themselves. Of course, the comments cannot be malicious or hurtful. It must be playful. More about that later.

A retiree without a sense of humor or easily offended should not be roasted. One who can deal with good-natured insults is a roast candidate. If they can "take it and dish it out", they are perfect.

Roast Research

A roast retirement party is not easy. It will be memorable, but it will require lots of time and effort.

The hostess and the emcee need to interview family, friends and co-workers. The information that they are looking for will be there. They just need to find it.


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What grade school and high school did she attend? Was she a cheerleader or in the band? Did she go to college? What are her hobbies? What was her first job? You get the idea. Just gather information.

While doing the research you will be deciding who would be a good speaker. It is important to have the right mix of speakers and diverse topics.

Don't expect to use all of the information that you acquire. Pick the best material and the best speakers.

Do not skimp on the research. The roasts that we see on television are good because of the preparation. The topics and speakers are carefully selected. In addition, they are often comedians.

One final word on content. Keep the humor dignified and in good taste. Slightly irreverent is okay. Think of it as "put-down humor". If there is any doubt that it could be interpreted as unkind or disrespectful, do not use it.

The "Roast"

Now that the research is done, you need to write a script. By that I mean select your speakers, identify their topic and create the right balance. Balance the topics and the speakers. Look for diversity. Provide help for each speaker.

Give your speakers a time limit. Long-winded speeches can ruin your efforts. A one to two minute story or joke is fine. There will be very good speakers and some that are poor. They will balance out and not ruin the program if they are short.

The emcee needs to explain to the audience that it is an honor to be the "roastee". We roast people that we care about. The humor will be good-natured fun and that the honoree agreed to be roasted.

Typically the emcee will poke fun at herself and each speaker during the introductions. This makes it okay to poke fun at the retiree. It "breaks the ice" and "sets the stage" for more humor.


The emcee should know what every speaker is going to mention. It prevents duplication and provides information for the honoree's response. Props add to the festivities. A song parody about the retiree would be a nice touch.

The guest of honor must be positioned in a chair next to the podium or at a front table so that the audience can enjoy her every response.

At a recent roast retirement party that was a family affair, the grandchildren ten and younger stole the show. One of them said: "Grandpa, you're the oldest person I know."

The larger the audience, the more fun it is. A good sound system is essential so everyone hears the jokes and anecdotes.

The "Counter-Roast"

So far the humor has been in good taste. That must continue. The retiree was provided with each speaker's topic.

She may not know what they were going to say. But, having the topic for each speaker gives her an opportunity to create a retaliatory rebuttal. She may need help with her delivery or script. Provide it.

This retirement party is likely to get more interesting when the guest of honor speaks. If she prepared correctly, there could be lots of "zingers". Hope for surprises. It helps the humor.

The objective of the roast retirement party is the same as it is for any party. Everyone should have a good time.

Other Ideas

A guest could write down a question that the roastee is asked by the emcee to answer. Ask guests to provide a story about the roastee. These questions and stories could be requested on the invitation and sent to the host via an email.

The answers are likely to surprise and entertain the guests.

Rodney Dangerfield and Henny Youngman were the masters of the one-liners. The one-liners that they used in their long careers are perfect for a roast retirement party speech. Comics are known to steal jokes and modify them for their own needs. You can do the same.

Click here for a sample of Dangerfield and Youngman one-liners.


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