Funny About That
Funny speeches and monologues

Written and designed by JAMES TARIS





James Taris
Funny speeches and monologues

This book (ebook) is an hilarious collection of funny speeches and monologues written as manual speeches for Toastmasters, to advance through the CTM (Competent Toastmaster) and ATM (Able Toastmaster) speech manuals. They were written over a 7-year period (1997-2003) and during this period, James Taris reached the level of ATM Silver.

Toastmasters provided the perfect training course for James, who used his newly acquired skills and confidence to launch him into an international career as a public speaker and writer. In fact, between 2002 and 2004, he travelled to 19 countries on 5 continents, fulfilling speaking engagements and a dream of world travel that he'd harboured for decades.

James realised very early in his Toastmasters club training that the best way to capture and retain an audience's attention was with the use of humour. So making his audience laugh became James' specialty.

These speeches are his favourites. Making his audience laugh is still the greatest 'high' that James gets from speaking.

"When you say something funny, and your audience laughs, you know that it's a genuine response and you've got through to them", James says.

Actually, you'll find that James uses many of his funny speeches to deliver some very important messages to his audience.

"It's incredibly hard to get an audience's attention when talking about a serious subject", James continues, "But by using humour, you capture their attention and they listen more carefully so they don't miss out on your next joke or funny line. That's the perfect time to hit them with something important ... something profound. You can then rest assured that your next message will be heard loud and clear. Then it's back to more humour. You can't afford to let them doze off for a minute!"

Public speaking is quite an art, and James Taris has Toastmasters to thank for teaching him the skills, but more importantly, giving him the confidence to speak in front of an audience.

These speeches and monologues are for your entertainment. And if your goal is to build confidence as a public speaker, they are also a testament to the value of Toastmasters as an excellent way to go.

Finally, if you have a speech to give, using these speeches to get ideas is probably about the smartest thing you can do!


"These were all written as speeches for my Toastmasters club. I realised very quickly that an audience has to be entertained, otherwise you run the risk of losing their attention. This book has lots of material to keep you laughing." ... James

What people are saying

My! You are a very impressive man with a very impressive vision ... Reading your speeches turned out to be so hilarious I coudn't help myself cracking up every now and then to the surprise (delight or annoyance) of the people around here... I like most of your latest works (speeches), Pericles, The Wandering Knight, Why The Boss Gets Paid More, and the factual, superb and insipirational LIVE FOR THE JOURNEY, (NOT THE DESTINATION)... Dorie (Guam)

You certainly have an interesting twist on the story of the three little pigs (The Kind-Hearted Wolf). I like it ! There are always two sides to any story. Scarlet (USA)

I had a look at your website. You certainly seem very talented and you obviously have a good sense of humour. Maggie (Australia)

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Speech 1

by James Taris
931 words (about 5-6 minutes)


[For information about the highlighted names, see the descriptions at the end of the speech.]


Guests and fellow Toastmasters ...

One day, when you're old and grey, and you look back at your life, I'm sure the memories that will stick most firmly in your mind will be those of the characters you have met.

The world has always welcomed characters.

Who can forget Cliff Young who went from Colac potato farmer to marathon legend, when he won the Westfield Sydney to Melbourne Marathon at age 61. Cliff was a character.

And Joe Dolce, who reached to the No.1 spot of the Top 40 Charts in 15 countries, with the universally acknowledged "worst song of all time" … Shuddup Your Face. Dolce was also a character.

And then there was Mark 'Jacko' Jackson, who went from playing full forward for Geelong, to playing in The Highwayman TV series in Hollywood. Jacko was certainly a character.

But for me, Kostas Poligamenos will always be remembered as a character.

Not exactly in the same sense as those I've just mentioned, because he wasn't a sportsman or an entertainer. He was simply an accountant ... my accountant way back in the 80's when I had my photo studio.

So, what was it that made Kostas such a character?

First of all, Kostas was a DORK.

He wasn't a boring guy. He just got excited over boring things.

When I first met him, he was 35 and single. He could never impress the ladies.

He had money … he always had money. But he didn't have personality. In fact, if he had more charisma he would've made a good undertaker.

And the bumper sticker didn't help either. In a desperate bid to add a touch of humour to his personality, on the back of his BMW he had …

'Accountants do it without losing their balance'.

And he'd underlined the words 'do it' just so people didn't miss out on the main point of the bumper sticker.

And Kostas had a UNIQUE NAME.

But Kostas wasn't always known as Kostas. When Greeks migrate to an English-speaking country, it's common practise to anglicize their names. Panagiotis becomes Peter, Giorgos becomes George, Dimitrios - which is my name - translates to Jim, or James.

So Kostas used to be called Con when he was at school. But as his accounting business began to thrive, enhanced by his 'creative' accounting practises, he went back to using Kostas, because being known as a 'con', was just too close to the truth.

Yes, Kostas was CREATIVE.

In fact, he was such a creative tax accountant they named a loophole after him.

He was such a creative accountant, if you asked him what 2 + 2 was, he'd lean over and whisper, "How much would you like it to be?"

He was such a creative accountant that time and time again he'd impress me with his finesse ... always solving problems for me I didn't know I had, in a way I didn't understand.

And he hated those government printed Tax Packs. "The government gets your money when you fill out those forms," he'd say. "These CPA income tax forms are much, much better". But that was only because then he would get my money!

But everything he did, he did by the book. I know this because when I asked him what the difference was between tax avoidance and tax evasion, he just said, "Jail."

Yet, Kostas was TRIVIAL.

One time I nearly drove him insane when I handed back his road map, all folded up the wrong way.

And his timing was impeccable. One day we had the misfortune of being in a bank when armed robbers burst in. Yes, armed robbers! And while some of the robbers took money from the tellers, others lined the customers, including us, up against the wall, and started taking our wallets, watches, etc.

While this was going on, Kostas slipped something into my hand. And without daring to look, I whispered, "What's that?"

And he said, "That's the 50 bucks I owe you."

But then one day, Kostas became a LEGEND.

We took a train trip with a couple of salesmen to a conference in Ballarat. Kostas was always trying to impress me with his sharp wit, so he bet our 2 companions, $20 each, that he could travel on the train without buying a ticket. This intrigued them, so they agreed.

So we all boarded the train with a ticket, except for Kostas. The salesmen took their seats but Kostas grabbed me and headed straight for the toilets. Soon after the train departed, the conductor came around collecting tickets. He knocked on the toilet door and said, "Ticket, please."

Kostas grabbed my ticket, and opened the door just wide enough to stick his arm out with the ticket in hand. The conductor took the ticket and left. The associates saw this and agreed that Kostas had deservingly won the bet, which made him $40 richer.

So after the conference, the salesmen decided to copy us on the return trip. So they bought a single ticket between them.

But Kostas wasn't done yet. This time he bet our companions, $100 each, that both he and I could travel without a ticket. Now this was definitely a wager too hard to resist, so once more the salesmen agreed.

We all boarded the train, and our 2 friends quickly headed for the toilets. Kostas and I did the same and crammed into the buy replica hublot toilet immediately opposite theirs. But soon after the train departed, Kostas snuck out and walked up to the toilet opposite. Then he knocked on the door and said, "Ticket, please."


[If you're not Australian, then some of the humour will be lost because you most likely don't know some of the names I'm referring to in my speech. So here's a list that will help clarify some things for you ...]

Cliff Young ... 61-year-old farmer who won the first Westfield Sydney to Melbourne Marathon (875 kilometers) in 1983.

Colac ... rural town near Melbourne, Australia (population 10,000).

Westfield Sydney to Melbourne Marathon ... longest marathon in Australia at a distance of 875 kilometres. First run in 1983.
Westfield Shopping Centres - one of the largest shopping complexes in Australia.
Sydney: Australia's largest city (population 3.9 million)
Melbourne: Australia's second-larget city (population 3.5 million)

Joe Dolce ... Australian singer/song writer originally from Italy.

Shuddup Your Face ... Number One song in Australia in 1981, then repeated its success around the world! Afterwards voted as the "all-time worst song in recorded history".

Mark 'Jacko' Jackson ... probably the ugliest Australian Rules footballer of all time. As well as being a thug (he was reported many times), he was also renowned for clowning around on the football field to entertain the spectators ... both habits being excellent qualifications for a quick move to Hollywood and onto the TV screen.

The Highwayman ... short-running American science-fiction TV series (9 episodes; Sep 1987 - May 1988), starring Mark 'Jacko' Jackson and a big high-tech 18-wheeler truck.



© . J A M E S . T A R I S . 2 0 0 5

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Hard and soft cover books: Are all hand made and, on request, can be signed and dedicated to a name of your choice, by the author.

Pub Date: 11/2005
67 pages
Hard cover size:

... 15.5cm x 21cm
... 6" x 8-1/4"

... 268g ... (9.5oz)
Soft cover size:
... 14cm x 20cm
... 5-1/2" x 8"

... 101g ... (3.6oz)
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Copyright © 2005 James Taris - All rights reserved