Famous for Fifteen Minutes

(September 2016)

In many ways, the reluctant public speaker couldn't hope for a kinder, more supportive audience than the guests at a wedding. As rooms full of strangers go, they're generally happy, united in good will for the happy couple, and - more often than not - pretty well-lubricated by the time the speeches roll around.

That said, even among such a friendly crowd, there will be plenty of people who do not share your intimate knowledge of the groom. Half of the guests present will be drawn from the bride's social circle, and there's no reason to believe that they will all have had time to socialise with and get to know their friend's husband to be. Even relatives of the groom may have had limited contact with him growing up. How many of us, after all, have been approached by an elderly aunt at a wedding and treated to a kiss on the cheek with the accopanying greeting "My, haven't you grown!"?

So, when you're writing your Best Man's speech, it's important to balance the in-jokes that will have the groom's close circle rolling in the aisles, with more general gags and observations that the wider crowd can appreciate, too. But how? How do you get the essence of your friend across to a room full of people using a common frame of reference that everyone will understand? The answer, thankfully, lies in our rampant, all-conquering celebrity culture!

Certain stars are on everyone's radar, so by drawing humorous comparisons between the groom and famous sportsmen, actors, TV personalities and musicians, you'll be able to express your personal knowledge of him in a way that's uniquely accessible to all. You can also use celeb references to poke fun at the groom in all sorts of ways.

Here are a few ideas to get your imagination firing…

  1. I think of the bride and groom as the Brad and Angelina of our group. She's intelligent, glamorous, and passionate about good causes. And he's… well… he's bloody lucky he landed her before his looks went.

  1. If Steve reminds me of a famous person, it has to be Professor Stephen Hawking. Not because he's particularly clever, but because you're highly unlikely to see him out of his chair.

  1. I think of the groom as one part Labour's Jeremy Corbyn, one part England's Stuart Downing. In other words, he's strictly left wing. Still, it's nice to see him on a winning team for once in his life tonight.

  1. Paul and Linda are like Posh and Becks. He's Victoria though, because it's his other half that clearly has all the talent.

  1. When I look at the groom, I can't help thinking of Meat Loaf. Partly because he would 'do anything for love', and partly because - let's be honest - on a bad day he looks like 180 pounds of reformed ground-beef.

  1. Some people say Paul is a natural leader, and it's fair to say that he shares many characteristics with former presidents like Reagan, Clinton, and Kennedy. He's got Reagan's charisma, Kennedy's social conscience, and - like Clinton - it's pretty obvious that from now on it's his wife that will have all the power.

  1. When Paul met Linda it was as if he turned into Matt Damon overnight… I remember looking at the soppy grin on his face the morning after he met her and thinking "He's Bourne again"!

  1. All of Paul's exes were like Michael Jackson albums. 'Bad', 'Dangerous' and ultimately, thank goodness, 'History'. Of course, now he's found Linda, I'm sure all of their 'Greatest Hits' are still to come.