1. Keep the jokes simple & short. Remember judges may be writing comments during your speech. If so, they may not hear everything you say. If this is the case, a long joke may be lost on the judge if they miss part of it while writing a comment. Therefore, if your joke is short, your judge is more likely to hear it.
2. Find out what kind of humor works for your area. Sometimes a particular style is more popular.
3. Making fun of yourself. This is a double-edged sword (hurts you). While you may make the judge laugh, the judge may be laughing at you, not with you. This means, the judge may think less of you because you do not take yourself seriously. So, if you choose to make yourself the butt of your own joke, try to angle to joke so as to make yourself look good rather than an idiot. For example: You speech is about space-alien movies. You try to make a joke about how you were abducted by aliens… could be funny or not depending on what you say. Or, You try to make a joke that more young people today believe in aliens than social security will be around when they retire. This jokes makes fun of you (being a young person), but also sounds intelligent – you know about social security.
4. Avoid jokes that degrade women, minorities and people from other countries. Try intelligent humor. Anyone can do slapstick humor, but finding intelligent, funny ways to say things, places you on a level above the rest.
5. Watch out for categories of jokes that your judge could fit into. Remember, sometimes people have a hard time separating humor from personal attacks. While your jokes may not be intended to offend… you just never know how your audience will react. So be very careful about relating jokes to your audience.