Many people out there in Normal People-ville (it's a nice town, good parks, great place to buy real estate!) are naturally a bit amusing, with an easy, humorous way about them. Often, this describes our clients and they smash the roast & speech scripts we write for them out of the park with their ability to deliver the words with some verve and a sense of fun. Occasionally we come across someone who has an innate ability to nail down a funny line on paper- be it a joke with a strong reference or a witty cutting remark. Much more often than not, however, when we see a "lay person" attempt to write a funny speech or roast, the lines fall flat because the jokes are unspecific, the punchlines tentative, the exagerrations timid, the references limited, the area targeted too obvious, not honest enough or just cliched. Overall, the writing lacks insight and revelation. Believe it or not, well written jokes accomplish the qualities described by all of those pretenious words.
Have you ever been to a wedding where multiple people on both sides (Bride's & Groom's) got up to speak, and it was pretty much a cavalcade of:
"Oh my God, well.... Karen is, like... totally a character! I mean, everyone who knows her knows that she is, like, crazy! Like, you should see her shopping at Macy's. I think she might have a little problem with shopping. Cause her closet is like... big as a whale!"
"Brad was always an out-of-control mess with a heart of gold. We thought for sure the dude would just keep dating random chicks who wouldn't dig our fantasy football league and our Sunday keg runs to New Hampshire, but then he met Karen and she is totally cool, she's just awesome." ???
These speakers may get a slight smattering of polite, over-eager laughs from close family members and friends who've had several flutes of sparkling duck. But what they're hearing is a sad and unfortunate waste of valuable minutes in which the hundreds assembled could've been hearing crackling, fresh, totally unpredictable and HILARIOUS comments, shedding profound insights on true human nature to everyone in attendance, and causing people to belly laugh uproariously and literally fall out of their seats. When the difference between boring, mundane mediocrity and unexpected, razor-sharp brilliance costs less than the appetizer, think about what people are going to remember and really take away from the event.
That kind of flat, diluted speech writing is exactly what we DON'T do. We do the OPPOSITE. We research the interesting, offbeat specifics of the person BEFORE we even start writing. And then we craft jokes using the tools of effective professional comedy- exaggeration, analogy, comparison, sudden-left-turn and so forth. The level of jokes you expect to see on a Comedy Central Roast (except generally a LOT cleaner) or on a late night TV talk show standup set.
On occasion we have gotten look at material written by alleged "professional comedy speech writers" and found it to be just a bit better than the aforementioned lay person material. What these other "professional comedy speech writers" do really isn't our business. But the difference is huge to YOU, when you or someone you know is delivering an important speech or roast at an event which will carry significance in people's lives for a long time, if not forever.
We have heard, on occasion, a person say "comedy is subjective", usually when trying to argue why that person should just go with the unfunny, flat, meandering writing of the lay person over the drastically different, very high quality comedy writing of proven professionals such as Funny Biz Writers. On occasion we have been forced to puncture this rhetorical bubble and explain that actually, no, comedy is not always purely subjective. If you deliver the aforementioned amateur roast speech to a group of 100 people who speak English, you will get some light, nervous smatterings of laughs, and a lot of shiftless playing with silverware and gulping of whatever drink is at hand. If you deliver a high-quality roast speech with real JOKES to the same 100 people, you will get concussive, rolling laughs on 90+% of the jokes, and people running up to the presenter afterward, aggressively patting him or her on the back, saying how "awesome" it was and asking "HOW'D you get to be so funny?!"
This is not written to be mean or arrogant. We've met so many FANTASTIC people through this work, many of whom have truly great personalities and are like pro comedians when delivering our speeches and destroying their audience. We just think it's very important for people to understand the difference between mildly amusing pleasantries and undeniable strong jokes. We wouldn't try to do our own taxes, cut our own hair or fix our own cars. We hire highly accomplished and trained professionals for that. We suggest that if you want to blow away the audience when speaking at your next work or private event, and transform your social standing, your reputation and your job level, hire some real joke scientists, writers who have spent years crafting jokes hat hit hard, precisely and unexpected. Like, for instance, the professionals at Funny Biz Speech Writers. The difference is so worth it!