Should Public Speakers Use Blue Humor In Their Next Speech?

Sometimes the most difficult way to get your audience to laugh is the best
Sometimes the most difficult way to get your audience to laugh is the best
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So you’ve decided that you want to maximize the importance of public speaking for your next audience and in order to move your speaking to the next level, you are going to have to find ways to work more humor into your next speech. Well congratulations, that takes a great deal of courage to do. Now you’re going to have to answer the ultimate question: should you go blue?

The Power Of Blue Humor

Humor, at its core, is all about getting your audience to look at their world differently. In order to make this happen, there are a number of ways to accomplish it. One of the easiest is to use so-called “blue humor”.

Blue humor refers to the use of adult humor techniques: references to or use of words that are considered to be sexual, racist, scatological, etc. Although somewhat shocking, this type of humor does work. We’ve got a number of very popular comedians who have proven this: Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor being some of the most famous.

As powerful as blue humor is, there are some drawbacks to using it in a speech. The first is that yes, you’ll get laughs, but the reason that you’ll get the laughs is because you shocked your audience – their laughter is a reaction to the words that you used, not necessarily the point that you were making. The second drawback is that blue humor is not very memorable. Your audience will remember that they laughed, but they won’t remember why.

A Different Path To Get Laughs

In order to add humor to your next speech, there are a number of different ways to go about making this happen. It is possible to be funny without resorting to the use of “blue humor”.

If you decide to stay away from using blue humor, then what’s left for you to use? More often than not speakers who want to be funny without being blue focus on using physical comedy, cultural riffs, and creating characters onstage that their audience can identify with.

If you invest the time in creating “clean” comedy that you can add to your next speech, then you’ll have created a speech that will end up having a broader appeal. You’ll be able to deliver your speech to a mixed audience of different ages, genders, and racial backgrounds without having to worry about offending anyone.

What All Of This Means For You

Adding humor to a speech is one of the benefits of public speaking and can be a powerful way to boost the impact of your next speech. However, exactly how you are going to go about doing this is where things can get a bit dicey.

You have a major decision to make: should you use so called “blue” humor material in your speech. Blue material will certainly get a reaction out of your audience. However, the reaction is just a reaction to the words that you use and the images that you create – it won’t necessarily be memorable. Creating humor that stays away from using blue material is much harder; however, the results are more long lasting.

When it comes to speaking, humor is a tricky tool to use. If used poorly or badly, it can quickly turn on you and end up taking away from the speech that you are giving. Take the time to use non-blue material to add humor to your next speech and you just might be amazed at the positive reaction that you’ll get from your audience.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that it is possible to go “a little blue” without crossing over some unseen line?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time


So why are you planning on going to the effort of delivering your next speech? I mean it sure seems like a lot of effort to create the speech, practice it, and then go through the stress of actually giving it. If you want to create a message that is going to impact your audience – perhaps change them in some way, then you’re going to need to create a communication strategy that you can use when you’re building your next speech. Got one of those?