Giving a Best Man Speech? Before you get started ask yourself these questions:
How many people will know me at the wedding?
When was the last time I wrote a speech let alone spoke in front a room of 200+ (including drunk, sober, young and old) strangers?
What do I talk about?
Before you freak out and fake an injury at the bachelor party to get out of the speech, relax, because we have you covered. At Laugh Staff, we have a team of comedians who have written for Comedy Central, Saturday Night Live and yes, The Lifetime Network. Let us use our experience of telling jokes for a living (or trying to make one, that is) to help you out. Here are four best man speech tips to get you going in the right direction:
1.Get the audience’s attention: Sounds simple? Most reception halls are not designed for public speaking; instead they are designed for dancing and eating. This means people are often scattered all over the venue. Add an open bar and it will be tough to focus on you.
Typically the best man speech is first. The easiest way to get the attention of the audience is to use this trick: grab the microphone and pause... ... .... allowing everyone to look at you. Next, before you say anything else, say “let’s start out by giving a round of applause to Mr. & Mrs. Blah Blah Blah”. This does two things: 1) the applause will get the attention of everyone in the room. 2) It will give you instant confidence and a moment to relax.
The key is to allow the applause to completely finish and for things to quiet down before you start speaking. Be patient – this is a tried and true method.
Quick tip: Acknowledge the bride and groom’s parents (if present) for raising great kids who turned out to be outstanding adults. The biggest compliment you can pay a parent is telling them they did a great job raising their children, nothing else compares.
If the parents aren’t in the picture because they have passed away or the relationship is shaky find something to congratulate a family member on and win over the bride and her family.
2.Learn how to formally bust someone’s balls: There is an art to making fun of people. Many best man speeches start out on the attack, but this is the absolute worst way to win over an audience.
Let me give you an example: in my stand-up set my best jokes are race jokes, but I don’t open up the show by making fun of black people. First of all, I look white, but I’m a Cuban American who doesn’t speak Spanish who grew up southeast Ohio. Before I make fun of anyone else in the audience I spend 5 minutes making fun of my childhood and all the aspects of having a Cuban father while living in a town where the closest anyone has come to the Spanish culture is Taco Bell and trying to spell immigration. Anyways, once it’s established that I can pick on myself then I’ll make fun of the gringos and other races in the audience.
The same strategy applies in a best man speech. Compliment the Bride first. Then tell a cute story about the groom’s family. Next, MAKE FUN OF YOURSELF, then and only then can you start to bust the balls of the groom. It’s all about the flow.
3.Make a connection: The best comedians are funny because they connect with people. Regardless of the topic, if you can connect with the audience you will win them over. To pull this off we recommend speaking on the following 3 topics:
As mentioned previously, always start by complimenting the Bride! This is very important. First, it gets every one of her guests to instantly warm up to you. Second, it gets her family and friends’ attention. A short story about the bride is also a must. Fifty percent of the audience is there for the Bride so this is an easy way start to your speech. Just remember keep it all positive!
Quick tip: shoot the groom an e-mail beforehand and ask him what is something he sees in the bride that not even her closest friends see? Send the same email to bride. Ask them about the first date and one thing that made the other realize something special was happening.
Childhood memories that include the family: Talking about the family wins over the older generation in the crowd. Even if you didn’t know the groom when he was younger, talk to his parents or siblings to get some ideas.
Quick tip: Use a name of a crazy uncle or aunt at the reception that everyone knows in your speech. It will be an instant hit if you can work someone from the extended family into the speech.
The friends: Before you stop reading – I’m not talking about YOUR friends. Play the numbers game. If you’re the only high school friend from home at the wedding, don’t tell a story about prom. Instead tell a story about when you visited the groom in college with all his college buddies who are at the reception. Same concept as earlier – try to connect with everyone at the reception.
I think you can see what we are trying to accomplish; by complimenting the bride, sharing memories of the groom’s family, and telling a story that will appeal the largest group of friends, you will connect almost everyone in the room at some point during your speech.
4.Practice, Smile, Rinse & Repeat– Do NOT read off a piece of paper. You can have the paper with your entire speech on it, but don't read off of it. Also practice your speech recording yourself on your phone for 3-4 days before the wedding. Doing stand-up for seven years I always tape my set and then listen to it at leisure when I am washing dishes, cutting the grass or working on the computer. The comfort you will get from your own voice will go a long way when the speech actually comes.
And…smile! A smile can diffuse the nervousness of you and those who are nervous FOR YOU in the audience. A lot of best men are under the impression they have to be gut-wrenching hilarious. News Flash, you’re not Chris Rock…and never will be. The key is to come off as likable and comfortable.
So now you’ve got a base of how to prepare, what to say and what content to use. Now what about the humor? Laugh Staff has written hundreds of speeches for guys just like you. We’ve also delivered thousands of jokes to strangers all over the country so we’re qualified to help you nail your speech.
Laugh Staff is here to minimize stress. We know you have a lot on your plate. We don’t want to speak for you; we just want to help you speak for yourself.
We work like this; you fill out our questionnaire giving us the characters, setting, and plot – then we take your stories and turn it into the funniest and most heartfelt best man speech that will leave the audience crying and laughing.
It’s your story; we just want to make it funny.
May the Best Man Win!
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