Roasted Groom With All The Trimmings

(January 2017)

As everyone knows, a good best man's speech sits somewhere between the raw emotion of an Oscar acceptance, and the razor sharp take-down of a comedy roast. We've covered the pitfalls of baring your heart on the big day in other articles. This is the fun part. Let's roast that turkey!

Before we get started, a few golden rules…

1. This is not Comedy Central. You are at a wedding. So funny is good, but cruel is bad. Don't tell a joke that will make your target feel genuinely uncomfortable. You will taint their day, and your own reputation, in one fell swoop.

2. If your joke pushes the envelope, consider not only the feelings of the groom, but the reaction of the audience. Your friendship might mean that any level of off-colour humour would be taken with good grace. But Auntie Ethel at the back of the room might not understand that. And you really don't want to get on the wrong side of Auntie Ethel when she's a bottle and half into the free Cava.

3. Pepper your speech with a few self-deprecating jokes to ensure that the audience knows you can take as good as you give.

4. Don't target the bride. "But…" Shut up! There are no buts. We can talk about the fluidity of 21st century gender roles all day if you like. For the time being, though, your average, traditional, bride-in-white wedding day rules state very clearly that this is her day. That means you do not target the bride in any joke that could be construed as even mildly critical. You just don't. Ever. You really don't.

5. You really, really don't (target the bride).

Okay, with that out of the way, and the bride's immunity well established, let's get down to tearing a strip off her monkey-suited soul mate. Today's task is roasting 101. We're going back to the playground, to pick on his looks… the big / little, skinny / chubby, hairy / bald, doofus!

If the groom is bald...
  1. "I don't usually talk about my charity work in public, but just under ten years ago I answered an advertisement in the newspaper, calling for donations to help combat the life-destroying indignity that is… male pattern baldness. For just £20 per month, I could sponsor a victim of hair loss, and would receive letters and photographs to chart their progress. Well… little did I think, as I read his painful monthly letters - each accompanied by a poignant lock of his recently shed hair - that I would end up standing here as the best man at his wedding!"

  1. "One thing about Steve; he doesn't have to worry about marriage turning his hair grey."

  1. "The problem with being bald and being married, is that everyone will be able to see the thumb print."

If YOU are bald...
  1. "'Just dazzle them,' said Steve when I asked him what kind of speech he wanted from me. So here we go… (dip your bald head as if dazzling the crowd with reflected light) Is it catching the light?"

  1. "I've been so worried about this speech. In fact, I've been tearing my hair out. (Point to a bald relative in the room.) And Uncle Dave's!"

If the groom is short...
  1. "Now, I saw a few disapproving glares in the room when Steve was giving his speech. So for all of you who are angry that he seemingly decided to break with protocol and deliver his speech sitting down, I'd like to assure you that he was, in fact, standing up. Weren't you, little fella? Where's he gone...?"

  1. "Fortunately, when Steve needed a wedding suit, he was able to borrow one that was a perfect fit, from the little chap standing on top of the wedding cake."

If YOU are short...
  1. "Be short and try to get a laugh. That's the secret of a good wedding speech, apparently... I've got the first bit covered, anyway."

  1. "The groom and I were both worried about having to give speeches. We read everything we could on the subject, and the secret key message, it seems, is 'short and simple'... which put us both at ease, because I'm short and he's simple."

  1. "The brief the bride gave me for this speech was just to be yourself. What? Short?"

If the groom is scruffy...
  1. "I've heard Steve referred to as the Brad Pitt of his home town… Sorry, I do beg your pardon. It's my notes… That should have been armpit."

  1. "How do you like Steve's wedding suit? It was made to measure, you know… not for him unfortunately, but you can't have everything. Not on a budget."

If YOU are scruffy...
  1. "Ladies and gentlemen, before I begin, the official outfitters for today's beautiful wedding, who have made our bride and groom look so very stunning, would like me to make it perfectly clear that they had no part, either professional or advisory, in the choice or manufacture of my own outfit today… I'd like to add that it's amazing what you can put together between Oxfam and Asda."

If the groom has facial hair...
  1. "I didn't think Darren would make it here, to be honest. Some joker on the stag night put velcro on the walls of our hotel corridor. He was hanging there for three days!"

If YOU have facial hair...
  1. "In case you were wondering, if you touch my beard I will NOT be responsible for the sudden loss of your panties."

If the groom is skinny...
  1. "There's a scandalous rumour circulating that Steve is now so skinny that he made the journey up here today by fax! As his loyal best man, I'd like to refute that claim, along with Jacqui's frankly rather disloyal assertion that he has to run around in the shower in order to get wet… and that he once he even fell off the side of the bed, even though it was against the wall."

If YOU are skinny...
  1. "Can you see me at the back? I should be alright from the front. When I turn sideways, I disappear!"

If the groom wears an earring...
  1. "You've probably noticed that Steve wears an earring. It's a good omen for a marriage, I think. Men with earrings have two vital, highly relevant experiences… They've already had ear ache, and they know how to buy jewellery."

If the groom is a big guy...
  1. "You know, some people let themselves go after they get married. But not Steve. He's way ahead of the curve."

  1. "I never imagined Steve would be one of those types that give up booze, rich foods and join a gym to get in the best shape of their lives for their wedding day. And I was right."

If YOU are a big guy...
  1. "Me and the groom have been friends since childhood. We even tried to run away once, like Huck and Finn. We didn't get far mind you… Him in his PJs and slippers… Me with the fridge on my back..."