Many funny speech topics are available, but these are generally based on personal experiences and do not require research. Look for other topics that require research in order to support the title or main idea. Sometimes the humour is in the material itself, but other times the material becomes funny because of the presenter's facial expressions, vocal quality and hand gestures. Students should realise that it is the research combined with the delivery that results in an effectively funny speech.
Research topics for funny speeches by looking at how words are used. Accumulate the names of popular items as a possible topic. Include Hotpoint as the name of a cold refrigerator, Smuckers for jam and jellies, Crazy glue which isn't insane or Choc Full O'Nuts for coffee that doesn't contain nuts. Analyse these and other funny titles and illustrate the contradictions of these names.
Malapropisms from Sheridan's 1775 play, "The Rivals", show how misusing words can be laughable. These are good for a research topic. Hilarious results occur when incorrect words that sound similar are substituted for correct ones. An example is "I resemble that statement."
Research misplaced modifiers and develop a speech by putting them together. This gramatical error results in funny speeches. For example,"Give Sarah money to eat" or "A baseball player leaps for the ball. His head hits the wall and it's rolling back to second base." Discuss the meaning of these and other researched errors for a funny speech.
Children's names can often be funny. Research unusual names given to children and use these for your funny speech. Also, research material where "Children say the Darndest things." Look in books as well as on TV shows or the Internet for children's funny expressions or thoughts.
Comparing items can be funny. University of Chicago as well as other universities hold a yearly debate on the anniversary of the Jewish holiday Purim each March. Students talk about the comparison between the latke which is a form of potato pancake used on Chanuka and the Hamantash which is a form of cake for Purim. Research on this topic leads to hilarious material that can be incorporated into a speech.
As a variation, research a comparison between going to Burger King or to McDonald's. Include the hats given to attract young children to the establishment or funny names of food dishes to get people to order them.
Research funny school situations and develop them into a speech. Sam Levenson, a former math teacher in the New York City School System, is the author of a book that describes many of these. Interview teachers or students about their classroom experiences and use these for your speech. An example of this is when one identical twin, John, gave a speech for his twin brother, Jack. Not realising the switch, the class and teacher marvelled at the tremendous improvement the speaker showed in a short time. They laughed out loud when they discovered that John was not Jack.
Use sports bloopers as a topic for a funny research speech. Also, consider oddest sports for a topic. These work well for delivering a speech before a meeting of athletes or for a dinner for coaches.
Other Possible Research Topics
Other possible funny research topics are advertisements in American society or humour on billboard signs that line American highways. Add to these humorous sayings on T-shirts. Consult the "Guiness Book of Records" for oddities or unusual inventions. Put together a series of jokes that fit under a theme. An example would be a funny speech on lawyer jokes for an audience of lawyers or a series of business jokes for a business dinner. Try a twist of a topic such as why junk food is good for you or embarassing speech blunders of famous people. Organise this material into a cohesive speech and it will go over well.
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