Becoming a Better Extemper: Considering Interp (pt.3)

In the third installment in a series of using Interp to build Extemp skills, Akshita Krishnan is back to talk about humor in terms of both of these events.

Now that we’ve cleared up the emotional weight of a speech, and how interp can help you build a nuanced understanding of being able to tell a story, it is important to address one of the most crucial elements of extemp: humor.

At the very start of this series, I outlined the exact reason that you should use interp—to help build ip your personality, but often, the only way to convey that you aren’t just rattling of facts is through humor, a gift that many extempers don’t have (shhh, don’t let the other speech kids hear us). 

Like I’ve stated before, this is exactly where interp comes into play. In doing pieces that incorporate lighter moments—or by going all out and doing a Humorous piece—we teach ourselves to actually get a laugh out of the audience, and build up our ability to confidently think of these jokes in limited amounts of time (especially if you want to avoid canned AGD’s). 

For example, even in a topic that is very serious, it’s often a good idea to start with a lighter AGD. Personally, my voice goes a little higher (to help differentiate between fun and serious tones) when it comes to the punchline of the joke. 

This is a fundamental lesson of interp: allowing for a moment of respite before you dive into a topic that requires serious advocacy. It helps establish your ability to actually speak, not just rattle of facts.. You need to build personality, and since we can’t pop and sing our way through an elaborate performance of Beetlejuice, the easiest way to do it is through strategic use of AGDs.

The consideration here of taking up interp is really making your AGDs of quality. There are moments in which creating 4-5 jokes for a speech can seem impossible, but at a certain point, it becomes a standard, which means that you have to slowly, but surely, build your repertoire of AGDs up. You also have to ensure that the delivery of these jokes are on point because a funny joke that falls flat is a joke that is not funny anymore. Let’s look back at interp… You can choose a piece that is filled with jokes, learn the tone that each joke requires, and understand the backbone of what makes a good joke. These tools will allow you to transcend the stereotypical  dry (unfunny) humor of extemp and improve your AGDs (and speeches as a whole!). 

I’ll sign off here for today, but if you’re still intrigued, or unconvinced as to why you should go memorize an HI, check back tomorrow for the final installment in this series: building body language. 

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