Listening to a bunch of speeches hardly sounds like fun, unless it's at a Humorous Speech Contest going on Thursday in Gilbert.
Short, entertaining and free, the event pits three to four speakers from Gilbert Toastmasters Club against each other in a contest to give the funniest five- to seven-minute speech. The winner moves on to the next level of competition.
"They're pretty funny," says Barbara Harrington, a club member who's helping with the event. "I've been to three contests, and you never know what the speeches will be about. Last year a lady did one on raising goats in northern Arizona, and it was hilarious. Apparently, goats don't naturally expel gas, so you have to de-gas them."
But don't expect a stand-up comedy routine, she says. The speeches are different from a comedian's act in a couple of ways. First, they're structured with a beginning, middle and end - or introduction, body and conclusion, if you remember your high school speech class lingo. Second, the humor all relates back to a single topic.
"They're not just telling jokes," Harrington says.
Toastmasters International is a nonprofit organization that aims to help members improve their public speaking and leadership skills. It has more than 12,500 clubs in 106 countries. The Gilbert Club was established in 1978 and has about 50 members.
The contest is free and open to the public.