Roasting is a tradition in which a guest of honor is "roasted" by jokes that are good-natured but at the expensive of the honored individual. Turning a birthday party into a roast can transform a dull dinner into a fun evening that is enjoyed by everyone, especially, if done properly, the individual whose birthday it is.
Keep it Personal
If you are the speaker at a roast, simply stepping in front of everyone and telling a bunch of jokes unrelated to the guest of honor will not yield the best results. instead, gently poking fun at unique traits of the guest of honor, as well as relating shared experiences with embarrassing moments, allows you to relate jokes that are personal to the guest of honor, making for a proper roasting.
Not Too Personal
The goal of a roast is not to make the guest of honor feel bad, and as such it is important to know what subjects are not okay to joke about for the honoree. Getting too mean-spirited with your jokes will turn a fun night into a hurtful one, casting a negative tone over the whole event.
Know the Room
The crowd in attendance must also factor into your decision as to what jokes are appropriate and what jokes are better left untold. If family members are in attendance who would not want to hear about certain elements of the honoree's life, it is best to use jokes that avoid these topics. Similarly, while adult language is acceptable in roasting, it is important to be sure that the attending guests will not be offended before using any.
At the end of the day a roast is about honoring the roasted individual, and as such all speakers at the roast should not end on a joke. Instead, conclude your time by paying respect to the individual being roasted and expressing your positive feelings for him and the positive effect he's had on your life.
Take Like You Give
In addition to jokes at the expense of the guest of honor, many roasts also feature jokes at the expense of the other speakers, with a brief reading of some jabs at other speakers by each presenter before the honoree jokes. If the roast includes jokes at your expense as a speaker, remember that the spirit of the event is joking in good fun, and take the jokes with the same good nature you would expect of the honoree.