Taking inspiration from CBC’s The Debaters, our Comedy Debate style is intended to entertain audiences with a combination of “fact and funny” while simultaneously training debaters to combine arguments with clever turns of phrase – delivered with impeccable timing.
This debating style was introduced to our lineup in 2010 as a method to inject more humour into all of our debates.
“Dying is easy… comedy is hard.”
The challenge of delivering a humorous and persuasive presentation while concurrently jousting with the opposition’s arguments and comical observations proves to yield one of our most demanding and entertaining evenings of the year.
Fundamentally, this presentation will still be a debate rather than simply four funny speeches in succession. The expectation for this debate is that comedy should suffuse the complete debate; i.e. the arguments, content, et cetera (all of the connecting pieces) should be put together with a comedic slant.
Debaters would be well advised to learn from previous successful comedic debaters (see videos).
The topic is known ahead of time. Debaters are encouraged to sign up very early for this debate as the task of generating material for “stand-up” style comedy can be time-consuming and difficult.
The format of a Comedy Debate is largely identical to the format of a regular debate. However, in the spirit of fun, many of our formal rules are expected to be bent or broken – within moderation. The Speaker remains the ultimate symbol of authority for the debate and any rulings for debaters to exercise restraint must be respected.
Normally, Style and Rhetoric is only valued as a small portion of the overall grade. In the Comedy Debate, the relative weightings of the five evaluation criterion are adjusted to place a much heavier emphasis on style:
- Argument changes from 30% to 20%
- Content changes from 20% to 10%
- Rebuttal and Refutation changes from 20% to 10%
- Teamwork changes from 20% to 10%
- Style and Rhetoric changes from 10% to 50%
Aside: The member with the distinct privilege of adjudicating our first Comedy debate introduced his critique by stating in jest, “well I have to definitely rate this debate on comedy because factually there was pretty much nothing here, folks.”
Debaters would be well advised to learn from previous successful comedic debaters.
- Watch our comedy debates online. (YouTube)