How to Effectively Roast People (Without ACTUALLY Hurting Them)

How to roast someone

A roast is when we purposely make fun of someone without hurting them. To know how to roast people, we have to first find roast-worthy content, which is where the main work goes in. We also have to make sure the audience can understand us and be prepared to deal with a failed roasting. Lastly, we need to avoid topics that can cause harm.

We will first consider the definition and then move on to the main part of how to roast people. We will also consider a few other important topics along these lines, where we will talk about hurtful roasts, a few examples of savage roasts, and what to do when someone roasts you.

What does roasting someone mean?

It means to purposefully make fun of someone for the purpose of humor rather than hurting the individual. 

How to roast someone?

It essentially comes down to finding roast-worthy content, making it understandable, being prepared to manage a failed roast, and avoiding topics that can lead to triggers.

Find roast-worthy content

  • Some qualities they lack, e.g., you don’t get to speak- you have 0 fashion sense. Next thing I know, you would be seen wearing shorts and blazers.
  • Some obvious physical features, like height, age, etc, e.g., Joe- amazing guy. Loving family, lots of money, and a balded head that he uses to blind his enemies. 
  • Strange things they do, e.g., he always avoids taking up a room on an even number floor because intuition tells him it’s unlucky.
  • Strange things that they did in the past regardless of whether this is something they typically do, e.g., he needed a loaf of bread- that’s all. But there was a discount of $2, so he made his cart value above $20 and ordered a bunch of them and let them go to waste. 
  • Exaggerate things but do not make them up entirely, e.g., if a person often wears sleeveless, you can make it sound like it’s something they do all the time to intimidate people with their large muscles.
  • Purposely misunderstand them, e.g., if a restaurant asks for your number, be like, “sorry, I have a boyfriend.” [try at your own risk]

Don’t feel like you’re getting many ideas? That’s okay. Roasting can be unfamiliar territory to many of us. Take inspiration from others when you see it in person or through media. It’s there on movies, tv channels, and youtube videos. For an example:

Make sure your audience can understand you.

Speaking too fast can make it difficult. Speak at an even pace with pauses. If its 1-1, there is not much to worry about, but with a large group, it also needs to be sufficiently audible and well-paced.

Related: did you know that roasts are often a part of wedding toasts? If you’re interested to know more, check out this article on hilarious wedding toasts.

Be prepared to manage a failed roasting.

You can acknowledge when someone roasts you back very well, “Ooooh, that’s a good one.” It shows immense confidence and security in yourself. 

If the person has had no reaction, you can roast that as well, e.g., “Mate, are you getting so old that you do not even have the energy to laugh at my fantastic jokes?”

Roasting someone as well as dealing with a failed one, by all means, requires confidence. Here is an article on how to improve your confidence.

Avoid topics you know won’t be perceived as good humor.

Some topics, like death, religion, and appearance insecurities, are known to be quite sensitive ones for people to handle. It’s safer to steer clear of those unless you’re 100% it won’t offend the person. 

Keep in mind that no matter how much you try, you can still offend someone. So be prepared to take responsibility and apologize to that person. It doesn’t have to be about the joke, it’s about the life experience the joke touched for that person to get offended, and it’s our responsibility to make sure there is no harm as a result.

How to Roast Someone Professionally

While a light-hearted roast in professional settings could get you some chuckles, keep in mind that roasting at work can lead you to HR very quickly. Hence, caution is advisable.

A few occasions where it is okay to roast someone is between friends and partners, during farewell toasts and wedding toasts, etc.

If you do still choose to roast in a professional setting, be sure to keep it moderate. Do not be too insulting- keep it lighthearted. E.g., “I would allocate the task to John but he’s only going to be able to turn it in 365 days later so I will give it to Adam instead.” If you keep it lighthearted, even if there is some room for misinterpretation, people would not take much offense.

Roasts that do hurt

Roasts that do hurt

While it tends to be considered playful, some boundaries must be considered when roasting people, depending on the situation, closeness, and how you expect the person to react. For instance, when done one-sidedly, it can quickly turn out to be perceived as bullying, even if that is not the intention. There should be a mutual understanding when choosing to roast someone.

Being straight-up mean is different from roasting. Apart from steering clear of the topics we discussed earlier, also make sure to notice if someone shows any signs of discomfort. If they’re anxious or offended, it can show in their voice (shaky or aggressive), body language (tensed up), and eye contact (looking away or glaring).

Related: article on appropriate eye contact.

Think how you would have felt in their position. If you have a planned roasting, it’s not a bad idea to ask someone’s opinion before going ahead. 

5 Most Savage Roasts

Here are some more examples of roasts. 

  • “Jim is cooking? You should have told me earlier! I would have bought firefighters and paramedics.”
  • “You’re hot, but the only thing you’re turning on is a microwave.”
  • “It’s 2023, maybe they can Photoshop personalities; you should try it.”
  • “I would slap you, but I am afraid I might catch fungi.”
  • “You’re exceptional, I will give you that. Everything except doing anything useful at all.”

What do you do when someone roasts you?

Roast them back, of course. It’s supposed to be reciprocal in the first place. E.g., someone insults you and calls you stupid. In response, “I could do worse. I could be you.” Most of the roasting back involves turning the attention back on the person who said it. E.g., “Why don’t you look at a mirror.” “I’m hearing a lot of yapping; not sure where the off button is.”

You could alternatively be so calm and unamused that their joke fails entirely. You could even play the self-deprecating card and later mix it with a roast on them. E.g., “Really? You think that was stupid? Perhaps. I can do worse, in fact. I can do you.” It’s all a matter of preference, but if you ask me, roasting back is the most fun and entertaining thing.


We considered the definition of roasting. Then we delved in-depth on the topic of how to roast people and especially how to find on what basis to roast them. We discussed various other considerations throughout the article when roasting someone and also presented a bunch of examples for you to refer to.

Roasting can involve public speaking too. Want to get better at it? Check out public speaking coaching.

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