Funny Best Man Speech #2
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, for those who of you I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting yet, my name is Chris and I am officially Paul’s second best man…second best ladies and gentlemen…nobody likes to be second best do they? Well, Paul, the once great Thespian should know better than most…anyway where were we?
Over the next few minutes I will be guiding you though what amounts to one great big cry for help: Paul’s life. The inglorious acting career, the ridiculous hair, owning a ridiculous car, the persistent alcoholic over indulgence and drunken profane outbursts – he was quite simply South West London’s answer to David Hasselhof…just not as successful.
But like ‘the Hof’ these were all simply the signs of a tormented soul trying to escape from his reality. And that reality was – he couldn’t act. To sum it up: the highlight of his career was a production of Oliver where he appeared as the Artful Dodger. Such was his affinity with the character that it really only required him to wear slightly scruffier clothes than normal and walk around with his thumbs tucked into his armpits. Paul eventually knew the game was up and decided to plough himself into the second big love of his life – industrial catering for large scale outdoor events.
To properly understand the complete mess his life was in we need to go back to 1998 when I first met Paul. Ladies and gentlemen, with the exception of Middle America and a place called Germany, shaggy perms haven’t been socially acceptable for nearly thirty years; however, Paul thought he’d make some sort of postmodern ironic statement by sporting one. My first mistake was going to stay in the shared house in London where he lived. My second was to comment on the hair. As a glass bowl of pot pourri went sailing past my head and smashed behind me giving off a wonderful burst of sandalwood fragrance, I was given enough time to realize that this was a troubled, sensitive character who didn’t take criticism that well. Perfect friend material.
Now I have said that Paul’s acting somehow just didn’t work out, but he is brilliant at ‘pretending’ and there’s a subtle and very important difference: one pays you truck loads of money, the other just makes you look like a bit of an idiot. Paul would have loved a decent car but unfortunately having your hand appear in the same scene as Anna Friel doesn’t add up to a Ferrari. So, he had to make do with an ageing Vauxhall Astra. Nothing wrong with that but unable to accept it wasn’t quite the lady magnet he thought he deserved, he then pretended it was slightly jazzier than it was by hand painting every single air vent yellow and planting a bass bin in the boot. Ladies and gentlemen, every journey in this thing was nothing short of excruciatingly embarrassing. All of Paul’s friends from that time suffer from progressive tinnitus and a fear of people laughing at them.
There is also a very good reason for Paul’s hair. He once read about a far away country called Australia, a place where real men could happily parade around with a hair-do their mum would be proud of and T shirts with no sleeves. This immediately sounded like Paul’s kind of place and from that moment onwards decided he actually was Australian. Paul unleashed the Aussie barnet on an unsuspecting London and set about learning all his acting skills from seminal TV series Home and Away. For some reason neither really worked out but Paul has kept up the pretence to this day, even taking up its national sport of Australian Rules football, for which he’s made it on to the Great Britain team…he’s just waiting for another 17 people to join him.
And there was the time that Paul decided to pretend he was a lot more generous than he actually is. The most profitable of Paul’s acting jobs was a Scandinavian mobile phone commercial and having returned from the shoot much richer than he had ever been before, Paul decided to celebrate and with friends and quite a lot of alcohol. Overcome with a sense of camaraderie and also the sense of having drunk too much, he offered to pay for the entire food and drinks bill at Planet Hollywood. We tried to stop him but Paul was hell bent on it. Ladies and gentlemen I do not exaggerate when I say that Paul actually cried when the bill came. Inside he was hurting…but as luck would have it he was soon hurting on the outside too, after drowning his sorrows he became such a liability that we locked him in the boot of the car and drove home over every speed bump we could find.
But Paul’s life isn’t just about acting and pretence, there’s some real stories of utter stupidity as well. Acting is a cutthroat business and one where you have to be at the top of your game all the time to make it through the auditions. Paul’s dedication to his craft was admirable, well…most of the time. You never know when the next gig is going to come along so every opportunity has to be grabbed. Once, Paul’s idea of grabbing a Monday audition was to drink heavily all day Sunday, lose his voice, wake up with a career ending hangover and have to cancel.
And Paul may have grown up nowadays but there have been many many times when under the influence of alcohol, unable to make it home, he’s decided to fall asleep in someone’s bush. On one particular occasion the owner was absolutely devastated.
However, the older Paul gets, the more mature, sensible and grown up he has become. It has literally been weeks since anyone has asked him for his ID and whilst he still likes to have fun, most of his holidays now don’t involve writing off golf buggies and most attempts to cross the road don’t involve drinking all day and negotiating 6 lanes of traffic.
Paul you have always been a good friend and great fun to be around. Maybe the best way to sum up the qualities you bring to life is that – you can turn an ordinary trip to the pub into an extraordinary one, and long may that continue. The bond we have shared of sport, travel and beer, has taken us many places around the world and led us into many adventures, from Barbados to a stranger’s bush…and all of them are great memories.
With a normal hairstyle, a normal car and a normal job, Paul is now your responsibility Jo and I sincerely hope that you both enjoy a long and happy life together.
Ladies and gentlemen, the bride and groom.