What I have encountered is basically horrendous!
I am usually on with two other men, in suits, who get up with a clutch of cards in their hands and launch into 30 minutes of old material which is peppered with gross sexist, racist and unbelievably dull comedy that they either got off the internet or swapped with another speaker or stole from comics on the telly.
It seems to me that the after dinner speakers circuit is alive with misogyny, despite me winning the top award (that was down to the audience in the hall that night – they voted for me – not the men in suits).
The other thing that stuns me is after dinner speakers are usually professional men in a self-employed capacity. They usually own a small company. Surely they know what is offensive, sexist, homophobic and racist in their line of work? They must know that the material that comes out of their mouths is basically a sacking offensive and would have them in court with the equal opportunities people if it was repeated by them in the workplace! But what they don’t get is....this is MY WORK PLACE....how dare you assume you can do that where I WORK!
The majority of after dinner speakers are men who used to be involved in sport and they are usually the worst offenders of the sexist, racist, ancient material.
When I do after dinner speaking, I just do a comedy set and tailor it to the event. Most times I don't swear especially if they ask me not to.
So come on, after dinner speakers, step up to the plate, stop peddling other people's jokes, stop being old school racists, throw down your bullet point cards, loosen your ties, be innovative and create a comedy set worth the two grand you demand from an event company! Be FUNNY!