On ‘Roasting’


As the category ‘casual jots and dots’ suggests, this post has to hold an air of casualness along with some hilarity, but for peeps that know me well – most of the jokes that come out of my mouth are self-deprecating (very). Self-roasting is certainly nothing foreign for me – given that I have a sassy demeanor and sarcastic tongue, no one can truly handle the fury I can unleash. It is thus, understandable that I am titled as a ‘savage’ if I ever have the guts to scorn others.

Roasting, to most of you, is no eccentric topic either – ranging from Ryan Higa’s YouTube challenge (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kD2Mhw6Xsis) , to Comedy Central’s very own Roast Battles between internationally acclaimed comics like Jimmy Carr and Sarah Tiana. If you are a stranger to this term, worry not, urban dictionary itself explains it – ‘to humorously mock or humiliate someone with a well-timed joke, diss or comeback.’  (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Roast)

But if we delve into the depths of roasting – what makes roasts ‘funny’ ?  For me personally, I would consider several of these elements as the rudimentary requirements for a mean/sassy roast:

  1. Delivery

As an amateur debater/public speaker, I have a bit of trouble with delivering speeches/jokes in the correct pacing/timing – thus it appeals to me when the joke comes in all the correct hits to maximize its impacts. A good roast is all about the harmless commencement, the inconspicuous drop of hints, and the final delivery of the punchline at the exact moment. Many of the unknown stand-up comics might be giving the popular ones a run for their money for the brainstorming of ideas/making up jokes, but their lack of good pacing, pauses and gestures take out the gist of the fun. For your reference, Moshe Kasher is a pretty decent chap with tons of well- elaborated stories rolling – but this routine was less of what I expected from the usual pokerface, awkward and nerdy Kasher that I liked (this is the clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9lMGjBEJW8&list=PLD7nPL1U-R5qsyLTu7bJsMNX5mbgbWlN8). Meanwhile, the timing and pacing for comics like Frankie Boyle and Kevin Hart are absolutely brilliant at grasping them – giving their jokes much more impact.

2. Gestures

Definitely a big fan of this – I’ve been brought up watching a lot of Fluffy aka Gabriel Iglesias shows. His gestures are phenomenal, which makes the show much more lively – he’s often closing car doors, kicking his chubby legs out and mimicking the sounds of car engines, back-and-forth. At the end of the day, it would be an awesome experience just there watching him (this is imo, one of the best collections of his work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44EPY9Y8V_A)

3. Relatability

Of course anything Hong Kong-related would be perfect – but who could blame a girl for falling for British accents and American food and a lot of other cultures when she was brought up in an environment where everything fuses together. Naturally, I understood local slangs in foreign areas (many thanks to urban dictionary and YouTube gangsters), which could be a tad awkward when Mexicans call you their ‘puta’ in a friendly manner and you take it the wrong way. Anyways, for roasts – don’t dig something up to personal to an extent that others have no idea who the ‘Jennifer’ is in the story. Not only is it ruining the fun, it’s also making the comic like an imbecile who laughs at jokes that aren’t funny at all. As many of my mentors for public speaking and debating have said, the content matters a lot – and gimmicks don’t make jokes last long.

As far as I can rant on this, I will say the aforementioned are the most crucial for the construction of a thoughtful and quirky piece that could make others laugh. Not a true critic of comics, nor am I an unprofessional comic, just my two cents on the matter.


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