Many people think they know and understand best man speeches. In the UK, there’s an old fashioned understanding that it’s an opportunity to publicly humiliate the groom, and in the US, it’s much more of a heartfelt celebration. However, both types of speech are usually executed in the same way – an introduction and then a list of stories.
This provides a huge problem, in that very often you have to have been there to find the stories funny, and the really funny ones you can’t use, because they’re completely inappropriate. Nothing will kill the vibe of your speech quicker than taking the guests through a story, getting to the punchline and then it sinking like a stone. If that happens, you’re looking at the longest 7 minutes of your life. In my experience, there are 2 types of groom: those that are so sensible there’s nothing you can write about, and those that are so naughty, there’s nothing you can write about. If you decide to throw caution to the wind and air some of the edgier stories, you’re taking a huge risk, if you decide to tell some of the more ones, the risk is even greater,
That’s why I never rely on stories for a best man speech. Most of the time the stories aren’t strong enough anyway, so I like to focus on the more seemingly mundane aspects of his life and find the humour there instead. If you think about his job, what he was like at school, his hobbies, what he doesn’t like and his character traits, you’ll find some real comedy gold; it’s just a question of framing it in the right way. Sitting through a series of stories is a really hard way to get laughs, and more often than not, it’s the best man who’s at the centre of them. I would only use bits of the stories , maybe even just the punchline if it’s strong enough, and find the magic elsewhere.