What Type of Best Man Are You?

(July 2019)

Despite our best efforts to dissuade you all from turning your wedding speech into a stand-up set, we realise that everyone transforms into comedian mode the minute they step up on stage. When you see you've got the attention of a room full of people, you can't help but picture yourself cracking wise in front of an audience of thousands at the London Palladium.

But if you're going to go all-in and try to work an audience of wedding guests like a pro, you'll first need to figure out exactly what type of stand-up you actually are. It's no use writing a speech chock full of sentimental anecdotes if you're known for cutting remarks. And likewise, if your demeanor tends to be somewhat sloth-like, a routine which relies on flitting between one one-liner to the next is simply not going to work. So if you were a professional stand-up comedian, make sure you figure out what kind you'd be.

The Edgelord

Of all the comedic archetypes, this is the most difficult to pull off at a wedding without some major surgery to your personality. Yes, those harsh comments about missing children and terror attacks may go down well at the pub, but you'll need to reign yourself in for a wedding speech, even if there aren't any kids present. That doesn't mean you can't have some fun with it though, as while the audience may be expecting some irreverent nastiness, this expectation can be used to your advantage.

  1. "I'm just glad there weren't any children here today. If there were, that priest would've made them all hot, bothered and soreā€¦ from laughing. Wasn't he hilarious?"

The Observer

Have you ever noticed how some comedians never seem to notice that they notice far too many things? The observational comedian can be quite tiring if their structure and delivery are too basic and repetitive, so make sure you switch things up if this style of comedy suits you. That being said, observational material is pretty standard fare for a wedding speech, because if you're not referencing things you've noticed about the bride and groom, what the hell are you even talking about?

  1. "Sarah and Tyler have been inseparable ever since they met and the thing I admire most about them is that they always come together in time of need - something which bodes well for the wedding night."

The Desert

The Desert is, as you might expect, as dry as they come. This kind of comic rarely gets excited, they never laugh at their own jokes, and even the most hackneyed one-liner seems like an epic poem in their hands. If this style fits your personality and you're skilled enough to pull it off then great, because you can write about half as many lines as a regular speech-giver. Droll, monotone and emotionless is the order of the day with this stand-up type, and for the biggest effect, make sure your jokes are shorter than a newborn Danny DeVito.

  1. "They wanted to get married in Muppet costumes. But Mark wasn't ready to Kermit."

  1. "To celebrate their engagement Susan asked Mark to book one of those restaurants where they make the food right in front of you. They went to Subway."

The Self-Hater

I'm going to be blunt here; if you're a little short, overweight or weird looking, self-deprecating comedy can work like a treat. Conversely, if you're a bit of a looker, this style of humour is harder to pull off. An awareness of your own flaws and foibles is important too, as is the ability to twist your self-observations into a commentary on the happy couple - don't make this too much about yourself.

  1. "I was honoured to be chosen for this role, but if I'm honest, I didn't think I could pull it off. I managed it in the end, and in doing so I realised best men have to be really versatile. Just this morning I've had to change a lightbulb, cross a road, walk into a bar and meet a Vicar. I thought, this wedding's become a bit of a joke!"

The Surrealist

Surreal comics are like having paint for breakfast - they're never on time and your legs are louder than marmalade. What? Exactly. Bizarre and unusual humour isn't to everyone's tastes, but if you are known as a bit of an odd-ball, don't be afraid of playing to type, so long as you've toned down the goofiness so that the audience at least leaves with some semblance of understanding at the end of the night.

  1. "Been a tough day today. As well as carrying the responsibility of being best man my obese parrot died... the only good to come out of this is it's a huge weight off my shoulders!"

The Crowd-Pleaser

The final comedic type we're going to look at is the crowd-pleaser, also commonly known as the guy who forgot to write his speech until five minutes before the desserts were served. Known in common parlance as 'wicked bantz', the ability to work a crowd is a rare one indeed, but don't let this convince you into winging it on the day. The best crowd-pleasers know they need a foundation of carefully honed material, as this gives them a base from which they can dart off on tangents, knowing that if it all goes tits up, there are some well-written bits to fall back on.

  1. "To avoid offending any millennials in the audience, I've tried to make this speech as woke as possible. Grandad, wake up you lazy bastard. There you go, that's that sorted. In all seriousness though, Pete and Lizzie are in the front row and they're my angels. I love them to bits. How are you? Are you both well? They're only 29 and I'd never want to offend them. So please, could everyone in the audience take my lead and avoid telling these two how much of your mortgage you'd paid off at their age, that'd be grand. 20 grand in my case. That was half a house back then."