Unfortunately some of the most memorable speeches are for all the wrong reasons. One of the worst best men speeches of all times comes from one of my favorite movies The Wedding Singer. Steve Buscemi’s character says, “I’ve always been the screwed-up one, right, dad? ‘Why can’t you be more like your brother? Harold would never beat up his landlord!’ But, little news flash, Harold ain’t so perfect. Remember that time in Puerto Rico when we picked up those two … well, I guess they were prostitutes, but I don’t remember paying!” You could just feel the cringes on the audience’s faces, right?
But bad speeches aren’t just the stuff of Hollywood fiction. A quick Google search will turn up hundreds of flops lovingly preserved on YouTube for the world to see. It seems like the more terrible the speech the more people remember it. I wanted to get some real-life examples of my own so I reached out to friends and colleagues to hear more about their worst speech nightmares. Do any of these scenarios sound familiar to you?
The Drunk and Rambling Speech
“I went to a Bar Mitzvah and the father gave a speech and was totally drunk. It was awful. His son was mortified and the guests were all sitting there thinking someone needs to get him off the stage. Now!”
“I attended a wedding where the best man (the grooms' brother), made a toast. He's a warm, engaging and funny guy, but he had a few too many beers. He rambled quite a bit. He made a joke about the wedding night and how the bride would be disappointed, presumably about size and how long the groom would last. There was a lot of eye rolling and looks of discomfort among the crowd.”
You’ve Exceeded Your Time Limit!
“I planned a wedding where the groomsman went on for 36 minutes! It's a record! It set back the kitchen and the band had less than hour to play.”
“At a family wedding, there were a series of toasts - 6 in total, about 10 minutes each and each lasting 9 minutes too long. The servers were on the sidelines patiently holding trays of food. They speeches were never-ending and the food was barely warm.”
The Inside Joke Fest
“At a wedding, the maid of honor shared so many anecdotes that were relevant to a select few. The inside jokes, jabs and references were lost on 95%+ of us.”
“At a family wedding, the best man gave a Letterman-style top 10 list of his favorite moments with the groom. They were not funny and had so many inside jokes that we didn’t even follow what he was talking about.”
All About Me
“At a friend’s wedding, the maid of honor talked more about herself than she did the bride. She barely mentioned the groom, talking more about her relationship with her boyfriend. It was in poor taste.”
“At one Bat Mitzvah, the Dad got up and said ‘You know, I have always wanted to be a stand up comic and because we have people of all ages here, I think this is a great time to try out some of my material.’ He then proceeded to share material that had nothing to do with Bat Mitzvahs or his daughter.”
The Insults Are Flying
“During my cousin's wedding (they are now divorced), the groom's sister gave the most braggadocios speech I have ever heard! She said, ‘Rachel (the bride), you are so lucky. Lucas is a great catch!’ Everyone on my side of the family was mildly offended. We thought, Lucas should be lucky, because Rachel was the catch.”
“At my brother’s wedding, his future sister-in-law totally insulted him by talking about how unimpressed she was with his profession. It came off really bad. I don’t think he ever really forgave her.”
Luckily, it’s a New Year—time to start fresh. If you have a speech coming up in the near future, make sure that you’re not on the above list. Do your homework upfront and do your best to make it a speech to remember…for all the right reasons.
Do you have a good or bad speech moment you want to share? Send me your examples at email@example.com.