Published on Feb 8, 2018
If you have been to a wedding and watched the groom’s best friend trying desperately to be funny – but completely missing the mark each time – you will know how awkward it can be. The silence in the room as guests inwardly cringe while the best man stumbles his way through his joke-packed speech can be painful.
Being given the role of best man is a huge honour. However, writing your best man speech, let alone delivering it, can be daunting – the groom will only have one speech from his best man after all – you want it to be one that he remembers fondly.
So, to make sure you don’t embarrass yourself – or the groom – here are a few best man speech tips to help you incorporate jokes, to ensure the guests are laughing with you and not at you.
Make sure you read your speech to someone before the wedding day so they can give you feedback and let you know whether it is actually funny or if you just think it is. You might well find that it just needs a few tweaks – and your ‘test audience’ might be able to help you to find these. Fine tuning this through trial runs could be the key to transforming it into the best best man speech ever.
Top Tip: ideally you should run your speech past a man and a woman to get different perspectives.
There is an expectation that the best man will be funny – which is why there is so much pressure on this part of the speech. So, get a joke in early and you will be off to a strong start and ‘break the ice’ (especially if you come after more serious speeches). So, when you are writing your best man speech, consider inserting a great one-liner early on to get everyone’s attention and set the mood.
Top Tip: do not joke about previous partners – this will not go down well and avoid making negative comments about marriage to try to get a laugh – this is a bit old hat.
There are likely to be children and grandparents at the wedding so, before making a joke, you need to consider whether it is appropriate and whether the groom would want his grandma or nephew to hear it. Avoid ‘in-jokes’ and perhaps find a funny characteristic or quirk you can playfully ridicule so that everyone can relate to what you’re saying.
Top Tip: when writing your best man one-liners avoid ‘adult’ humour and remove any swear words – you don’t want to offend anyone.
Think of the funniest stories you can share – without embarrassing him too much or getting him in any trouble. Consider whether it is a ‘need to be there’ story. Are you and him the only ones who will find it funny? Anecdotes from your youth will always be funny (maybe accompanied by youthful pictures) but definitely do not make jokes about the bride.
Without trying to be a stand-up comedian and focusing too much on yourself, self-deprecation can be effective, so perhaps tell a story at your own expense.
Top Tip: you might fancy a drink beforehand to calm your nerves but do not get drunk – those stories you didn’t intend to tell might just start slipping out.
Would you be able to bring the story to life with images? Do you have a classic video clip you could dust off? They are a great way to illustrate what you are talking about without having to explain the whole story – which could quickly get boring for those not involved. Likewise, raps have become a popular way to deliver the speech and – if you get this right – it offers the perfect opportunity for you to be funny.
Top Tip: check with the venue in advance to ensure any photos or video you use can be easily displayed.
When writing your speech, don’t disregard jokes for fear of not getting a laugh – just make sure that you use them in the right way.
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