One of my best friends is getting hitched, and he asked me to be his best man. Iâm mighty chuffed, and a little daunted, because amid the unpaid broadcasting, the retailing, the freelance (unfortunately too much âfreeâ and not nearly enough âlanceâ) writing and the reviewing, I want to set aside a decent amount of time to do a decent job. The groom is hip to my not-quite-coping strategies and well-developed modes of procrastination, and sent me a lovely little note advising a way forward. The punchlineâs a doozy!
As discussed, the trick in terms of the Best Manâs speech is making it about, or making it appeal to, the Bride as much as the Groom. Itâs this that will disarm and delight the audience. I know thatâs hard, as youâve only met my fiancÃ©e a limited amount of times, but you don't have to make the speech literally about her, rather make the content (whatever it is) as relevant to her as it is to me. And if you're uncertain as to where to begin - begin there. Talk about your uncertainty as to what you should say, talk about how most best manâs speeches are usually a dreaded and crappy part of the day... own it all from the get go. Trust me â youâll immediately put your audience at ease, and free yourself up to do something original.
Also, bare in mind that this is not a big wedding, and it wont be a big crowd youâll have to wow or win over. You wont have to get up like Lou Canova in front of a packed Las Vegas dinner crowd. Youâll essentially be talking to a loungeroom full of 40 or so people, half of whom will be my Uncles, Aunts and cousins - all extremely whitebread, suburban, ordinary folk - as well as a smattering of my fiancÃ©eâs sober, French family.
And I guarantee theyâll love you.
Honestly, I donât care whether you speak for 16 minutes or 16 seconds. I really donât. I donât care if you talk about me, about my fiancee, about us both, about yourself, or about none of us in particular. I donât care if you demo new stand-up material or spin a few exaggerated old tales. I donât care if you dive headlong into a sea of taboos. I donât care if you do a 5 minute comedy routine about marriage in general and follow it up with a toast. I donât care if you recite a tastefully chosen poem and weep copious tears. I donât care if you give a 7 minute lecture on the grand unified field theory of comedy. I donât care if you do a 9-and-a-half minute mime performance piece or act out a short puppet show of your own composition. I donât care if youâre philosophical, whimsical, shameless, rude, cheeky or sneaky. Ultimately, we both asked you to speak because we think you're flat out fantastic and could not imagine a better person to provide a focus for the reception, channel the collective energy and say a few words to mark the occasion on behalf of everyone there.
Ideally, I donât want you to give the speech you think you should - but rather the speech you, and only you, can. It doesnât have to be big. It doesnât have to be the product of immense sweat and toil. It doesnât have to be indulgently self serving or annoyingly arse-kissing. You donât have to impress, out-do, outshine, or out-whine anyone. Whatever you do, just do it your way, go with your instincts and speak from the heart. Thatâs ultimately all we could ask for.
But if itâs not funny, we will cut your balls off.
Now I have to fight the temptation of just reading this out on the day!