A eulogy is a speech given as a tribute to a loved one who has died. Eulogies are typically delivered by a close friend or family member. They are usually given at funerals and memorial services.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Step 1: Emphasize the Deceased’s Comedic Qualities
- Step 2: Write Notes
- Step 3: Be Specific and Personal
- Step 4: Include a Funny Poem
- Step 5: Practice Makes Perfect
- Step 6: End with Sincerity
- Step 7: Get Feedback
- Funny Eulogy Examples
Because of the setting, it’s easy to assume that all eulogies are somber. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Eulogies are supposed to honor a loved one. Depending on the person, a funny eulogy may actually be appropriate. But this approach can be tricky because a funny eulogy, while it could be thoughtful, can also veer into tasteless territory.
Here are some tips on how to write a eulogy that’s funny but still respectful. We’ll also share some eulogy examples that incorporate humor in an appropriate manner. And, if you want more help with the entire complicated process of loss, check out our post-loss checklist.
Step 1: Emphasize the Deceased’s Comedic Qualities
Most of the time, people who attend a funeral will know the deceased fairly well. However, this isn’t always the case.
Sometimes people attend a funeral to support a friend who was close to the deceased. Sometimes a coworker who didn’t know the deceased outside of the office will show up. Attendees in situations like this may not know that the decedent was known for a sense of humor.
Open the eulogy by talking about your loved one’s sense of humor. You can share the deceased’s fondness for puns or tell a funny story about the first time you met. This helps set the tone for a more humorous eulogy and lets people know what to expect.
Step 2: Write Notes
Even a more lighthearted eulogy can be challenging to get through. You may have crafted a eulogy with the intent to make people laugh, but tears will mix with that laughter.
Some of those tears will come from you. Even a seasoned public speaker can easily become overwhelmed. Keep notes in front of you to keep you on track, even when your emotions are heightened.
Step 3: Be Specific and Personal
Writing a humorous eulogy is very different from crafting a stand-up comedy routine. When you’re performing comedy, you’re looking for universal experiences people can relate to. When you write a funny eulogy, you focus on the life and character of the deceased.
Don’t worry about writing jokes that will make people laugh. Instead, focus on things that are specific to the person you’re eulogizing. The humor in your eulogy will come from the situations you talk about. That, paired with the knowledge mourners have of the deceased, will do the work for you. Nobody expects you to be a comedian; they just expect you to pay tribute to your loved one.
Step 4: Include a Funny Poem
If you’re having a hard time setting the tone for a funny eulogy, you can start by using already-written funny material. Was the deceased a big fan of a particular comedic writer or filmmaker?
You can open your eulogy with a quote from this person. You can also use a funny funeral poem to break the ice.
Step 5: Practice Makes Perfect
A lot of people prefer not to overprepare their speech. While there is a lot to be said for spontaneity, this isn’t the time to wing it.
Once you write your eulogy, you’ll want to practice it several times. First, this will help you feel more comfortable. As we alluded to earlier, eulogies are emotional. Practicing a eulogy will help you feel more at ease with the emotions you express.
People also tend to speak too quickly when they’re nervous. Practicing your speech will help you speak more slowly because you can train yourself from having to rush.
Finally, you can get a good sense of how long your eulogy will be. Practicing ahead of time will help ensure that you’re not talking for too long.
Step 6: End with Sincerity
A humorous eulogy works best when the content is balanced with plenty of heart. Sharing only funny or silly stories about the deceased can come across as tone-deaf. You may seem like you’re not taking your responsibility as a eulogizer seriously.
Or it may seem like you’re poking fun at someone who can’t defend himself. Ending on a heartfelt sentiment can help communicate your true intent. Read our tips on how to end a eulogy for more.
Step 7: Get Feedback
Finding the right balance of humor in a eulogy is tricky. When you write in a vacuum, it’s hard to know how an audience will react.
Ask a few trusted individuals to listen to you practice your eulogy. It helps if one of them knows the deceased personally and the other one doesn’t. This will allow you to gauge the reactions of people with different perspectives. Be sure to pay attention to their reactions and tweak your eulogy accordingly.
Funny Eulogy Examples
Here are some eulogy examples that include humorous moments. Remember that context is crucial. So much of the humor will depend on the personality of the deceased and your relationship.
These will provide you some guidance, but it will be specificity that makes your humorous eulogy truly special.
For a friend
“I met Annie in a Facebook group for first-time moms. We bonded very quickly over how wildly unprepared we both felt for our impending parenthood. Our daughters were born only a few weeks apart, and we muddled through those early days together. We complained to each other about how exhausting breastfeeding was.
"We took our daughters for long walks to get our pre-pregnancy bodies back, then promptly undid our work by stopping early at an ice cream store. We got kicked out of the Facebook book group we met in for getting in people’s faces about the importance of vaccines. Our kids may have grown up together, but Annie and I grew into motherhood side by side as well.”
For a family member
“Anyone who ever spent even a little time with my dad knows what an amazing sense of humor he had. He was obsessed with puns and terrible jokes. He also loved funny movies and TV shows. He raised my siblings and me on a steady diet of ‘The Simpsons’ and Mel Brooks movies.
"People who knew Dad also know about his incredible, adventurous spirit. He was the only person I knew who could travel halfway across the world and meet someone he would end up being friends with for life. He was able to do this because of his gregarious nature. Dad never met a stranger. He’d strike up a conversation with someone in line at the gas station or climbing a remote mountain. Even things like a language barrier never slowed him down. He made new friends with nothing but Google translate and charades as a common language. Some people here started as random encounters who quickly became beloved family friends.
"In order to honor my dad, I urge you all to go out and do something in his honor. You can embarrass your teenager with a terrible dad joke. Snuggle up with your kids and introduce them to ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail.’ Or talk to a stranger and find out what you might have in common with him. Step outside of your comfort zone and experience what it’s like to live as freely as Dad did.”
For a colleague
“One of the best things about Jim was the amazing sense of humor he brought to the office. All of us looked forward to the great pranks he would play. One time, he slowly filled Dwight’s headset with nickels. Then he encased Dwight’s stapler in Jello. He upped the ante on that one when he put everything from Dwight’s desk in the vending machine. And who could forget the time he dressed as Dwight?
"We all still shout ‘Identity theft is not a joke, Jim!’ all the time, even now that he’s gone. In retrospect, Dwight might not have appreciated Jim’s pranks as much as the rest of us did. But their antics made even the dull business of selling paper fun and exciting.”
Pay Tribute to Your Loved One With a Touch of Good Humor
Funerals and memorial services are all about saying goodbye to a loved one who has died. They’re usually sad, but funerals should also honor the way the deceased lived life. You can write a funny obituary or eulogy that’s still appropriate for the occasion. I
f you deliver the eulogy for someone who prioritized humor, you should try and embody his or her lighthearted approach to life. Just remember to make it personal and remain sincere and the rest will follow.