Funny Business – Writing Comedy
Last year I received something truly horrific in my inbox. It wasn’t a threat to enlarge my penis, nor was it the Lagos Mafia asking if I wouldn’t mind a share of few million quid. No, it was much worse than that – it was a really shit speech. You might be thinking that there’s nothing too unusual about that in my business, after all I receive speeches from blokes all over the world every single week and at least some of them look like a cross between a ransom note and a memo from the IRA. However, I have the utmost respect for the guys who send me those speeches because they are not seasoned writers, they are not comedy thinkers and they are way out of their comfort zone. But they try their hardest and for that I love them.
The speech I received, however, was much worse than that. It was cripplingly unfunny, extremely poorly written and all had the finesse and poise of a Wehrmacht 88 Anti Aircraft gun. It was awful. But what made it so spine tinglingly shit? Well, that would be the fact that somebody had actually paid for it. Yep, it was written by a ‘professional wedding speech writer’ who had clearly knocked it out for cash before re-injecting himself with floor cleaner and collapsing into a heap of mental waste where he thinks ‘funny’ is fake telegrams from Thai strip clubs.
I don’t know where to begin with how crap this was, and to think that somebody had actually paid money for it, really made my blood boil. The guy who had written it was clearly completely incapable of constructing genuinely funny conceits and one liners, and instead resorted to using the same old hackneyed rubbish that you can get for free on the internet. And the trouble is only a really funny best man speech will do, and so the guy who paid for it was going to experience the double whammy of standing up and delivering a speech that nobody laughs at whilst at the same time getting financially rinsed.
So, I got to thinking: how can you be a speech writer when you clearly know nothing and care little for being funny? I love what I do, I love trying to make people laugh and it’s something that every single day I try very hard to make work – because that’s what people pay me for and that’s what gives me a thrill. I’d like to think from my reviews that at least some of that genuine passion is working, but I’m not going to stop there. I’m going to see if I can take what I can do on to the stage. I’m going to enter a stand up comedy competition in a throw down to all UK based wedding speech writers to join me and see what we’re made of.
I have a feeling it may not last long, I have a feeling the other writers may not join me, but I once made Rhona Cameron laugh out loud, so that’s good enough for me. The worst thing is, another rival accidentally sent me one of their speeches last year which was so bad on the Circle Line of comedy it actually went all the way around and came back to Victoria station as funny…it was the Honky rap he’d inserted into a white middle class wedding with absolutely no regard for the demographic which instantly broke all of my ribs. Shit, but funny for all the wrong reasons.