‘Humour’ To Avoid
THE OBVIOUS STUFF – Let’s be honest, we all know, recycled jokes aren’t funny. If you watch the same episode of Friends thirty times in a row, it might start off funny but by the thirtieth time Joey eats a whole turkey, you’re no longer laughing.
Now, considering the average adult attends two weddings a year, by the age of 30 most people have sat through a fair few speeches. This means if you think a joke seems vaguely familiar, chances are your guests will too. And once they recognise just one recycled gag they’ll assume the rest are too.
You want people to laugh at your lines, not groan.
THE BAD STUFF – It’s not just the popularity of internet ‘humour’ that’s a problem, it’s the fact the jokes are really BAD. Some of it’s stupidly sexist but most of it is just cringy-comedy; pun-related, dirty, or just a bit pathetic. AVOID.
THE GENERIC STUFF – At Speechy, we have a rule… if a joke could be inserted into another groom’s speech (with just the names changed), then it doesn’t make the cut. It’s simply too generic which makes it meaningless and a waste of everyone’s time.
Jokes like ‘I’d like to thank my new father-in-law for his kind words. Best £20 I ever spent!’ Sure. Fine. Nothing too offensive, but it’s a cheap and a blatant cop-out.
You only have to read an article like ’36 Groom Speech Jokes’ to know the sort of lines to avoid.
Step-by-Step Guide To Humour
STEP 1 – TELL THE TRUTH
As Homer Simpson wisely said ‘It’s funny ’cause it’s true’.
So take a step back from trying to be funny. Instead, ask yourself some hard-hitting questions and hunt down the truth…
- What makes you two unique?
- What are your weird quirks? And what about hers?
- Do you share any guilty pleasures?
- Who is better at what in your relationship?
- What have you taught each other over the years?
- What frustrates you about each other?
You get the idea.
Try to be as specific. ‘Loves dancing to cheesy 80s music’ is not as funny as ‘forces everyone to reenact Micheal Jackson’s Thriller whenever there’s a hint of a house party or a sniff of Cava’.
Or ‘manically tidy’ won’t get as much of a laugh as ‘gives nightly lectures about how to load the dishwasher efficiently… Sometimes with accompanying youtube videos to act as scientific proof of her tidying theories.‘
So have a think about your partner’s passions, hobbies, and eccentricities. Are they far too into Michael Bublé? Able to burp the alphabet? Do they eat burgers with a knife and fork?
Anything which shows their real character will get a much bigger laugh than an impersonal, internet gag.
STEP 2 – GET STORY HUNTING
Conduct a forensic search of your relationship and find your best stories.
To be clear, your best stories NEVER relate to the proposal (unless it went wrong). Your best stories are the ones you tell down the pub and everyone laughs.
So scroll back through your social media, hunt down your old Tinder profile, and retrace your romantic steps.
The time they spilt wine down their t-shirt on your first date. The embarrassing poolside incident in Crete. How you accidentally lost your ring in a public toilet on the proposal day.
After you’ve done this, ask family and friends for anything else you might have forgotten, or never even knew. By the end of this, you’ll have enough material for six speeches (but, please, for the audience’s sake, keep it to one).
STEP 3 – CREATE A COMEDY CHARACTER
Every speech needs a focus for the comedy. Your target could be yourself, your partner or you could set up the notion of a traditional double act (e.g. straight bride vs daft husband).
At straight weddings, some people reckon the bride should never be the comedic focus. They seem to think that as soon as a woman puts on a white dress she can only be told she’s beautiful & wonderful; a Beyonce / Mother Teresa hybrid.
We don’t agree. Just because a woman’s wearing her best knickers and has a ring on her finger doesn’t mean she’s lost her sense of humour.
The key is to keep the humour affectionate and loving. Everyone will love you more for pinpointing the quirks of the bride’s personality.
Of course, you should have a proper heartfelt tribute towards the end of your speech but feel free to have a laugh along the way. It also shows you ‘get her’, which in turn, proves you love her.
Marrying a bloke? Well, he’s fair game for a bit of teasing!
Package Up The Punchlines
Next, it’s time to package up your humour into a proper speech.
Like a good, old-fashioned story, your speech needs to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. It also needs a narrative arc so work out which stories and insights can be threaded together so they don’t seem like a random add-on.
At Speechy, we suggest finding a theme for your speech; a narrative that brings all the anecdotes and observation into a coherent form. This will help you filter out your content. Read our general Groom Speech Advice for a better idea of how it works.
Cut out any stories that take too long to set up and explain. Roughly, you’ll want to be aiming for eight minutes or about 1,300 words, so you don’t have room for waffle.
Once you’ve written the first draft of your speech, the next stage is editing it. As Ernest Hemingway said ‘The first draft of anything is shit’.
Speeches and jokes are better if they’re punchy.
Practise Those Punchlines
Comedians make standing in front of a bunch of people and being funny look easy, don’t they? But in reality, us normal people know… it’s not.But the good news is even the best stand-ups weren’t always as polished and there are ways of making this as pain-free as possible.
STEP 1 – REHEARSE
First of all, it’s more than acceptable to use notes when delivering your speech but it still pays to know your speech really well.
It helps you understand the flow of your speech and know where to leave a pause for laughter or add a suggestive eyebrow raise.
But how do you get your speech stuck in your head?
- Start by reading it out loud to anyone who’ll listen: your mum, your mate, your cat. Experts say vocalising something gives us up to 10% better memory retention.
- So does writing your speech down (old school, in pen).
- And reciting it just before you go to bed. (Though be careful not to let your fiancee hear)
STEP 2 – DELIVER LIKE A PRO
On the big day, the most important thing is to take your time. You know the material. You know the speech is funny. The only thing holding you back is nerves.
So adjust your delivery to slightly slower than normal. This makes you sound naturally more confident and also gives all the jokes room to breathe. By the time you’ve got your first laugh, you’ll naturally relax.
Another quick-win is simply smile. It’s proven to be infectious, so make sure you’re beaming ear to ear before you even stand up. It’s impossible to look someone who’s smiling in the eye without mimicking them. FACT.
From then on it’s all about eye-contact and performing to your crowd. Remember, for the next eight minutes, you’re Jerry Seinfeld, so milk it for all it’s worth. And ENJOY!