If you’re interested in learning how to provide a funny presentation, or even your own best man speech, then this post will provide you with a useful analysis of a humorous speech in action. I got asked to have a look at a video clip of former GB & Ireland Toastmasters Speaking Champ Simon Bucknall’s Best Man’s speech. Check out the clip here…
When you do funny best man speeches, or with any kind of social speech or presentation, you have to have an equal balance of humour as well as making any point or message that you want to convey. It’s definitely worth remembering this for your best man speech.
How to Give a Funny Presentation – Laughs Per Minute
From a humorous speech perspective you should aim for an overall Positive Audience Response (PAR) of 45 for every 5 minutes. This means that 15% of each minute should be filled with laughter, which is approximately 9 seconds.
This should give you an indication of what you should be shooting for when it comes to using humour when you do a best man speech or give a presentation. To learn more about PAR scores check out this post on how to learn stand-up comedy.
With regards to this clip, Simon managed to achieve a PAR of 48 which means, technically speaking, he “rocked the sh*t”.
During the first minute he manages to achieve a whopping 29 seconds of laughter, which any headline comedy club comedian would be proud of. It’s obvious from the clip that the audience connection was very strong.
How did he manage to achieve this?
Clearly he knows the Groom very well which you can tell by the nature of the speech as a whole. I would also suspect that he has done his homework and gained an understanding of who is in his audience.
Researching your audience is a damned sight easier in a wedding environment than it is in, say, a comedy club environment. You can find out the age range, the ethnicity, who they are and how well they know the aspects of the Groom that you need to draw attention to.
Simon had already set up that the Groom’s behaviour was similar to that of a child, so the obvious step was to then point out that the Bride worked with children. This would’ve worked even if it was a lie, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as funny. This shows the importance of uncovering the humour latent within a speech.
From that point on he manages to attain between 14-16 seconds of laughter a minute, so comfortably achieving an above average PAR score. This is a good level if you have to do a best man speech.
How to Provide a Funny Presentation – Crisis Management
Something very interesting happens at nearly 6 minutes – Simon’s microphone dies. (Dramatic chord) Dun, dun, durrrrrrrrrrrn.
Now, ordinarily, this would have thrown the average speaker, but Simon isn’t your average speaker. He downs the mic and carries on speaking, using vocal projection. This is something that I would’ve done as well and an option that you need to consider in similar circumstances. As a speaker you have to be adaptable to your circumstances.
If your equipment fails you, what’s your back-up plan? What would you do for your best man speech?
In Simon’s case it may seem fairly obvious to you now that I’ve pointed it out. But what would you do if your laptop dies, or your PowerPoint presentation crashes? Would you end the session early? Or would you be confident and well versed in your material enough to carry on? What’s your “get out of jail free card”?
There was also indication of a letter from an old school teacher. We get teased by its existence when Simon reveals that it’s in his inside jacket pocket, only to be put away again. Personally, I wanted him to bring the letter out and read it to us.
If you make reference to a prop and then don’t fulfil your promise your audience could feel cheated. Like those comedians who say “I’m going to go now” and then proceed to stay for another 5 minutes.
If you have a prop that may assist your presentation and you’ve already made reference to it, bring it out. Even if it’s a fake, like the letter could have been. What would you do if you had to do a best man speech?
It’s not the length of the barrel… it’s the shot of the gun
My other small quibble with this speech is that I feel that it’s a little on the long side. From the research that I’ve done and the wedding speeches I’ve seen speeches in this context work better if they are on the shorter side; somewhere between 3 and 5 minutes. This speech borders 10 minutes and clearly has a little edit towards the end so that it would fits YouTube’s 10 minute limit.
If you’re giving a social speech of this nature, or any presentation for that matter I would lean more towards finishing early. Audience’s love it if they can go to their coffee or lunch break that little bit sooner.
How long is your best man speech or presentation? Is there a way for you to trim it?
Given the nature of funny Best Man speeches the focus, generally, is on ridiculing the Groom. As a result we often don’t get to learn what the Best Man genuinely thinks of his comedy target. I felt that perhaps, in this case, there could have been a little more of an honest opinion about the Groom, more so than just what we gain from Simon’s conclusion.
What’s the ending of your presentation or your best man speech like? Do you adequately summarise or your points and end with a bang? Or do you fade away into mumbles and hope that you don’t get asked any questions?
Laughter, in a speech of this nature, has come to be expected at weddings in Western society, so it is still important that they are there.
A useful point for us all to remember though, is that while we want to get big laughs during a speech we have to make sure that we are still able to get out point across. Humour is the means by which we deliver our message; it’s not the message in itself. You can certainly see that in this clip.
To learn more about Simon and the workshops that he offers in the U.K., check out his website The Art of Connection.
Wanna discover more about PAR scores and the lessons we, as speakers, can take from stand-up comedy? Wanna add humour to your best man speech? Check out my post that reviews a crucial product learn stand-up comedy.