How to write a best man/woman speech

Head of Comedy Kate Smurthwaite gives us her top tips for writing a delivering a best man or woman speech to remember.

Not everyone who does a comedy course is aiming for Live At The Apollo (although I have taught people who have gone on to be on that show). One of the most common reasons for taking a comedy course is actually an upcoming best man or woman speech.

These speeches, in the UK, tend to rely heavily on being funny. I emphasise “in the UK” and this is really important. In the US and many other places, best man or woman speeches are usually serious emotional monologues about how great the bride and groom are. They usually end with comments about how they met and are perfect for each other.

If you give a wedding speech in Mississippi and open with a story about the groom drinking too much and being sick on a trip to Ibiza, people will be genuinely offended and horrified. As in any sort of comedy situation, it’s important to know your audience.

The other key thing to remember is that the truth is funnier than fiction. New comedians are often tempted to retell a funny story they have heard elsewhere. But it’s never as funny in the retelling.

Imagine you are with a friend in the pub. Would you rather they told you the plot from a sitcom they watched recently or the story of their own most embarrassing moment?

If your speech is about the groom, do your research. Ask friends and family for their memories and anecdotes. They’ll enjoy sharing and be thrilled if you use a piece of information they gave you as part of your speech. Especially if you’ve worked a punchline onto it with some newly developed comedy skills.

Truth is funnier than fiction...

And then…and then…there is Spencer Loveridge. Spencer told me on day one of my course that he was there to learn some skills for his upcoming best man speech. I could tell each week he was scanning the course content for ideas he could use.

In week five we talked about performance skills and all the different ways you can deliver a line to give it maximum impact. Voice tone, accents, actions…even singing or rapping the words.

A few months later this happened...

We are all SO very proud!