Published on February 16th, 2016 | by Staggered0
How to Write the Perfect Best Man Speech
Writing the perfect best man speech
Being the Best Man is undoubtedly a privilege, but it’s also a huge pressure for one reason only: the speech.
There is no getting around the fact that the only type of best man speech that really works anywhere in the world, is a really funny best man speech, and the pressure to make people laugh is something which plagues professional comedians. So, no wonder you’ve got a sweat on.
However, if you know what to look for and what to avoid, and have enough time to discover your inner comedy writer, then a resounding victory is yours for the taking.
The first thing you need to bear in mind is that you’re there to make people laugh, so forget all the clichéd, uninventive, unfunny cut and paste nonsense you’ve seen on the internet; they’ve all been heard a million times and weren’t that funny in the first place.
Forget mentioning the bridesmaids, because the groom has just toasted them. And if you thank people for coming, or mention the fact that it’s a wonderful day, guests will literally start collapsing in front of you through sheer boredom.
Finding the funny stories for your speech
So, that’s what to avoid, now on with the business of what to focus on, and how to write it. The first thing to remember is you are a best man, not a stand up comedian, so this is a warm, inclusive, but very funny look at the groom.
Nothing less than very funny will do, but if you think that means being edgy then you’re on collision course for disaster.
It’s quite possible to make people of all ages really laugh but at the same time not have anyone cringing; you just have to think about it a bit more.
What can be funny about his job, hobbies, school or where he comes from? There’s comedy gold in there somewhere.
The start can be gentle enough – just a short intro of who you are and how thrilled you are. Then get stuck in. I usually work quite a straight first sentence or two to deliberately contrast against the following much dafter sentences. Then hit them with a well observed take on the Groom’s character relating to either his job/likes/dislikes etc and then begin to tell his story.
So, what do you write about?
Well, avoid the Route 1 approach of stringing together a few stringing a few anecdotes. You need to make as little demand on the guests as possible – they don’t want to have to think, so don’t make them.
Nothing will kill a speech quicker than detail, and if you start recounting ‘hilarious’ stories in real time, nobody will be listening to you. All the time you’re setting the scene nobody is laughing, the longer they don’t laugh, the harder it is to land that punch line. Avoid at all costs.
You need to take the nuggets out of everything he’s done, he stands for, and he’s accomplished and weave it all into one giant comedic observation. It’s not easy but it’s the only way to ensure complete success; you just have to find a theme to hang it all together – maybe finding a career, maybe finding a girlfriend, maybe leaving home.
Finish the speech with some words for the bride, and then some genuinely heartfelt words for the groom, nothing too over the top, and then it’s on with the toast.
You should be looking at around 1300 words and with stoppages for laughter and applause that should take you up to around ten minutes, which is the absolute cut off time.
How to deliver the best man speech
When it comes to delivery have a couple of drinks if that’s your thing, but don’t overcook it – just a gentle couple of beers. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with printing your speech out and reading it from a sheet, but remember to print it nice and large and loads of eye contact and pauses on the day. Also have something to lean on to avoid the shaky hands routine.
Some best men go for a much more brash and abrupt start – this can only ever work if you’re super confident and can pull off a proper front man routine.
And usually it’s these guys who crash and burn thanks to believing their own hype – a more humble, honest and less produced best man is much more believable and easier to like.
If you’re going down the cue card route then you really have to have the speech nailed down – sometimes the difference of a couple of words can knock the comedy out of something. Also always have a large glass of water on hand. Your mouth will dry up so be prepared for it.
The only way to read a wedding speech is slowly, with plenty of well worked pauses, because quite ironically it’s often what you don’t say that’s the funniest.
All Speeches Great and Small creates bespoke speeches and templates for best men all over the world. With 20 years as a professional writer, Adrian Simpson started the company on a one man mission to reinvent, reinvigorate and revitalise the best man speech….by just writing really funny speeches.
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