To be 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 that plagues professional comedians. So, it’s 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. Follow this guide to deliver the ultimate best man speech.
To start, you need to remember that it’s your job to make people laugh, so forget the cliched, uninventive, unfunny nonsense you’ve seen on the internet - they’ve all been heard a million times before. If you do need some classic gags to start off with though, check out these several thousand wedding jokes.
Avoid Talking About Yourself
Forget about talking about being the best man – you’re there to talk about the groom not waste time talking about the role of being best man... yawn. Also, there’s no need to mention the bridesmaids, the groom will have 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.
What To Include
You are a best man, not a stand up comedian, so this should be a warm, inclusive and funny look at the groom. No need to be rude or edgy - it’s possible to make people of all ages really laugh at the same time without having anyone cringing. Think about his job, hobbies, schoolday 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 to be there. Then get stuck in. It’s a good idea to have a few sentences at the top that are pretty straight to contrast with the following daft lines. Then hit them with a well observed take on the Groom’s character relating to either his jobs/likes/dislikes etc. and then begin to tell his story.
We’d suggest avoiding the approach of just stringing together a few anecdotes. Instead, you need to make as little demand on the guests as possible. Nothing will kill a speech quicker than detail, and if you start recounting ‘hilarious’ stories in real time, nobody will be listening to you. The longer it takes to set the scene, the longer that nobody is laughing… Instead, group together a mix of events.
The Comedic Observation
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.
Finishing The Best Man Speech
Finish with some words for the bridge, and then some genuinely heartfelt words for the groom, nothing too over the top, and then it’s on with the toast. All together, you should be looking at around 1,300 words and with stoppages for laughter and applause, that should take you up to around 10 minutes’, which is the absolute cut off.
When it comes to delivery, have a couple of drinks if that’s your thing, but don’t overcook it. There’s nothing wrong with printing your speech out and reading from a sheet, but remember to print it out in large font and make loads of eye contact on the day. Also, have something to lean on to avoid the shaky hands routine. For more tips on delivery, check out these 7 delivery tips.