Humorous Speech Contest

2000 Contest Rules

*Note: These rules have been copied from the 2000 Speech Contest Rules (#1171). Clubs need to use that document when planning and conducting speech contests. This page is for information only.

These rules apply to all Humorous Speech Contests, which are conducted in English only. These rules may not be supplanted or modified, and no exceptions may be made.


To provide an opportunity for speakers to improve their speaking abilities and to recognize the best as encouragement to all. Provide an opportunity to learn by observing the more proficient speakers who have benefited from their Toastmasters training.

To recognize the value of humor in speaking.

In those Areas with three Clubs or less, the two highest placed available contestants from each Club may compete in the area contest. In those Divisions with four Areas or less, the two highest placed available contestants from each Area may compete.


All Toastmasters who are members in good standing, in a Club in good standing, are eligible to compete.

The following are ineligible to compete in any contest: incumbent International Officers and Directors; District Officers (Governor, any Lieutenant Governor, Division Governor, Area Governor, Secretary, Treasurer, or Public Relations Officer) whose terms expire June 30; International Officer and Director candidates; Immediate Past District Governors, District Officers or announced candidates for the term beginning the upcoming July 1. The immediate past winner of the Regional Humorous Speech Contest is not eligible to compete at any level in the current year's Humorous Speech Contest.

No contestant can compete in more than one Area Humorous Speech Contest, even if the two Areas are in different divisions or different Districts.


The subject for the humorous speech shall be selected by the contestant. The speaker should avoid potentially objectionable language, anecdotes and material.

Contestants must prepare their own five to seven minute speech, which must be substantially original. Any quoted material must be so identified during the speech presentation.

The speech must be thematic in nature (opening, body, and close) and not be an act or monologue (series of one-liners).


A contest chairman, chief judge, AT LEAST FIVE JUDGES, two counters and two timers are appointed. These appointments will be as far as is practical at Club levels, but required for Area through to District and regional levels of this contest.

Before the contest, contestants are briefed on the rules by the contest chairman. Judges, counters and timers are briefed on their duties by the Chief Judge. Contestants will then draw for their speaking position with the contest chairman.

If a contestant is absent from the briefing, the alternate speaker, if present, may be included in place of the primary contestant. When the contest Toastmaster is introduced, if not present, the primary contestant is disqualified and the alternate officially becomes the contestant. Where the primary contestant arrives and makes this known to the contest chairman and has all required paperwork in good order prior to the introduction, and missed the briefing, disqualification shall not occur and the primary contestant may speak in the drawn order, but waives the opportunity of a briefing.

All contestants will speak from the same platform or area designated by the contest chairman with prior knowledge of all the judges and all the contestants. The contestants may speak from any position within the designated area and are not limited to standing at the lectern/podium.

Introduce each contestant by announcing:

The contestant's name, Speech title, Speech title, the contestant's name.

There will be one minute of silence between contestants, during which the judges will mark their ballots. There may also be one minute of silence before the first contestant.

Contestants may remain throughout the duration of the contest, in the same room.

Announcement of contest winners is final.


Speeches shall be five to seven minutes. Contestants who speak less than four minutes 30 seconds or more than seven minutes 30 seconds will be disqualified.

Time will begin with the first word uttered by the contestant. However, should the contestant engage is definite verbal or nonverbal communication with the audience (including the playing of music or other sound effects, a staged act by another person, etc.) prior to reaching the speaking position and uttering the first word of the speech, the timer shall activate the timing device at that point. If this results in the contestant going overtime the contestant will be disqualified. No audible device, such as a buzzer, shall be used for the overtime period.

Any sightless contestant may request and must be granted a form of warning signal of his or her own choosing, which may be an audible device. The contestant must provide any special device required for such signal.

In the even of technical failure of the signal (only), a speaker is allowed 30 seconds extra overtime before being disqualified.

Disqualification for reason of time may be announced, at the discretion of the contest chairman, although it is not recommended.


Protests will be limited to judges and contestants. Any protest will be lodged with the chief judge and/or contest chairman prior to the announcement of the winner and alternate(s). The contest chairman shall notify the contestant of a disqualification

regarding originality or eligibility prior to that announcement before the meeting at which the contest took place is adjourned.

Before a contestant can be disqualified on the basis of originality, a majority of the judges must concur in the decision. The contest chairman can disqualify a contestant on the basis of eligibility.

All decisions of the judges are final.

This page updated on September 5, 2000