Me tell joke funny one day
June 11, 2015 11:32 AM   Subscribe

Is this joke funny? Should I tell it in a wedding speech? Does it need tweaking? If it's not funny, can you help me make it funny?

A friend told me a marriage joke that she thought could be told in my speech at an upcoming wedding. I think it's pretty cute, but I had to adapt it because the original made fun of Khazakh people (told from a Ukrainian perspective). If you know this joke and especially know a Western version please let me know. It's not reflective of the bride and groom and I'll note that in the speech if you all think I can use this. Thanks!


Here is the joke.

A husband and wife have the following exchange the day after their wedding:

Husband: Now that we're married, it's time I told you how I like certain things done. When I leave for work and you see me carrying my jacket on my left arm, it means I want meatloaf for dinner. If you see me carrying it on my right arm, that means I want chicken.
Wife: Really? Well when you see me standing like this [puts hand on hips] that means you'll get whatever I decide to cook!
posted by kitcat to Grab Bag (73 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't think it's funny enough to include in the wedding speech of a bride and groom it's not reflective of.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:35 AM on June 11, 2015 [30 favorites]


It's got some pretty sexist assumptions underlying it. Were you planning to make some ironic twist on that in your speech, since the joke doesn't reflect the situation of the bride and groom?

I think to make it funny you'd have to 'tweak' it so much that it would in no way resemble its current form. Finding a better joke or anecdote for your speech would probably be easier.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 11:38 AM on June 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


I'd give an uncomfortable laugh, just like when a comedian tells a joke thats out of touch with the audience.

I'd heard of one like this in indian/pakistani weddings.

"Both partners in a marriage should always be willing to compromise. Sometimes I tell my wife that we should have bread and vegetables for dinner. And then my wife tells me she wants rice and lentils. So we end up compromising and have rice and lentils."

same kinda of those "wah-wah" jokes. even if you do it, without astounding success...rest assured that its not THAT offensive.

good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:39 AM on June 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


It sort of feels like it's only half finished. It's also kind of predictable and promotes man/woman stereotypes.

It could maybe work if you adapted it and turned it into a story about the bride and groom, as if it were something you witnessed.

You'll get laughs, but only the "oh, that was a joke... we should laugh now" kind. You don't want that kind of laugh.
posted by bondcliff at 11:40 AM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's only really funny enough for a public toast or speech if the people involved are still practicing really traditional domestic gender roles and power dynamics. If it's an expectation that the husband has a dominant role and tells the wife what to do, and that the wife always cooks for the husband and defers to him, then the joke is mildly rebellious and titillating. If not, not.
posted by third rail at 11:40 AM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah it's mostly just "men are from mars women are from venus" insulting crap. It it were reflective of the bride and groom it would be mean, and since it's not it's just a random "lol stereotypes amirite?". Leave it out.
posted by brainmouse at 11:40 AM on June 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


I'd agree it's not funnny enough. Leave it out.
posted by dowcrag at 11:40 AM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is the kind of joke that my dad would hear at work and then come home and tell us and expect at least a begrudging chuckle but we'd roll our eyes at him and my mom would probably follow it up with something like, "yeah, you pull something like that with me and you're not going to have any arms left to signal with."


Here's a classic alternative:
Now, what is a wedding? Well, Webster's Dictionary describes a wedding as "the process of removing weeds from one's garden."
With compliments to Homer Simpson.
posted by phunniemee at 11:41 AM on June 11, 2015 [28 favorites]


Not that funny, especially if it has nothing to do with the couple. I think a good wedding toast is personal (otherwise why are you being asked to give one??)
posted by rainbowbrite at 11:42 AM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Response by poster: You'll get laughs, but only the "oh, that was a joke... we should laugh now" kind. You don't want that kind of laugh.

Are you sure? Almost all wedding jokes are that kind of joke - not really funny but people appreciate the effort nevertheless? I've got nothing better. Is no joke better?
posted by kitcat at 11:42 AM on June 11, 2015


This seems like a really anachronistic joke, and not very funny as far as those go.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:42 AM on June 11, 2015 [12 favorites]


I might laugh, but it'd be a pity laugh. It reminds me of one of my relative's jokes -- "My wife wanted to name our son Brendan, and I wanted to name our son Bryson. So we compromised on Brendan." Uh, OK, dude, the fact that you find humor in thinking that you're henpecked makes me uncomfortable, but whatever.
posted by pie ninja at 11:43 AM on June 11, 2015 [20 favorites]


but people appreciate the effort nevertheless?

People are captive and polite.
posted by phunniemee at 11:44 AM on June 11, 2015 [16 favorites]


Is no joke better?

Yes.

If you want a wedding joke, there are certainly countless others that are funny without the baggage (and unfunniness) of that one.
posted by The Deej at 11:44 AM on June 11, 2015 [13 favorites]


In my opinion, no joke is way better than an insulting sexist joke.
posted by brainmouse at 11:44 AM on June 11, 2015 [95 favorites]


Almost all wedding jokes are that kind of joke - not really funny but people appreciate the effort nevertheless?

That's not by design - it's simply because most people aren't all that funny, but they think they have a duty to be, so they throw in a lame joke.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:45 AM on June 11, 2015 [18 favorites]


Another vote for "not funny". I don't even think I'd give it a pity laugh. Its more of an awkward dry cough joke.

And in regards to "all wedding jokes are that kind of jokes", I beg to differ. I had people speak at my wedding and be properly hilarious. I can't recall specifically what they were (unhelpful, I know) but it can be done.

Personally I am pretty anti-jokes in speeches if they are forced or don't flow with the rest of the speech, and therefore I feel like forced jokes like this are a bad idea. If you aren't naturally the funny joke telling kind then you will be MUCH better served just speaking about the bride and groom, maybe recounting a funny but audience appropriate (ie. no drugs, sex, drunk references) story that happened between them or when you were with them. Something funny you all experienced. And if there isn't anything that fits, then just speak about how happy you are for them, how you can see how perfect they are for each other, how you've never seen either of them happier than when they are together, and how you wish them all the luck in the world (not that they need it).
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 11:45 AM on June 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


As an audience member, I'd much prefer a funny or not funny but touching story about the bride and groom that you could share than a tired joke. I think most of the best wedding speeches are more personalized in that way.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 11:46 AM on June 11, 2015 [32 favorites]


Not funny and wouldn't get a pity laugh from me. Would probably color my opinion of you and sour my enjoyment of the evening somewhat, to be honest. And I'm someone who loves cooking and often cooks dinner for my husband.
posted by melissasaurus at 11:46 AM on June 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


TBH, it's sort of irrelevant whether it would be perceived as sexist or not. It's just not funny. I don't think I could make myself laugh if I heard it.
Edit: Correct--no joke would be better.
posted by pdq at 11:47 AM on June 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


I've got nothing better. Is no joke better?

If it's a choice between THIS joke (or type of joke) and NO joke, I vote no joke.

More importantly, and separately from the issue of whether this is/should be funny: the whole point of the wedding is that the bride and groom's community is coming together to recognize them and their marriage. Why would you waste time telling something that isn't reflective of them? (Similarly, I don't get the people whose toasts are stories about the toastmaker and in which the bride and groom are bit players.)
posted by pie ninja at 11:48 AM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


In my (loudmouth, sarcastic) family, you'd only get away with that kind of joke if you were a beloved uncle or wacky great-aunt. And, even then, it would be a go-to inside joke about that person for about twenty-five years.

I'd go with more personalized material. Presumably, you're close to either one of the couple or both of them if you're giving a speech, so go with your gut and don't be afraid to be schmaltzy.
posted by Merinda at 11:49 AM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


No joke is better, though the wedding/weeding joke is funnier.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:49 AM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


So, I see why you want to include it if it's traditional, but when you're putting a wedding speech together, it's not just about saying some random words that hit various beats from a 'typical wedding speech.' You are telling a story. So, where does this joke fit into the story you are telling? It doesn't reflect the couple, doesn't resemble their marriage, isn't a hopeful message for the future of their marriage. It simply doesn't fit.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:50 AM on June 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


If you really can't come up with a better joke than that, then I would vote better to include no joke. At our wedding we had a few different speeches -- one had no jokes at all (very touching/personal speech with lots of tears, very sweet), and the other two were funny but not in a "I'm telling a joke now" way -- they just involved funny stories or comments about the couple. The best advice I can give about good wedding speeches is to really think about your connection to the couple -- is it a joking-around-light-hearted relationship? If so, include some of that in your speech and it will be funny. Is it a more serious relationship? If so, then I think it's completely fine to have a more serious, not-funny speech. There's no reason to include cliches or jokes just because other people do (believe me, no one in the audience particularly wants to hear it...)
posted by rainbowbrite at 11:51 AM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


In addition to the outdated stereotypes that the joke relies on, it implies a relationship dynamic that is likely absent in the couple getting married. Do you think the bride and groom would find it either funny or true? If you have any doubt, don't include it.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:52 AM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


This joke is awful. It's not funny, and it uses bad and outdated stereotypes. Whatever you do, leave it out. There is no saving this joke. If I heard this at a wedding (and I've heard quite a few similar jokes at weddings) the awfulness of this joke would overshadow the rest of what you had to say.

Almost all wedding jokes are that kind of joke - not really funny but people appreciate the effort nevertheless?

This is why most wedding speeches suck. Really, they do. Why? Because people who aren't that funny use dumb jokes to try to be funny, and everyone is forced to chuckle even though they hate it and wish you would just talk about the couple.

I've got nothing better. Is no joke better?

Yes, oh god yes no joke is much better. A wedding speech should primarily be heartfelt and about the couple. If there are funny anecdotes to share, that's nice, but it's not the focus. And a wedding speech is definitely not about the speaker, and by trying to be funny with a joke that has nothing to do with the couple you are making it about yourself. Don't be that person.

By including this joke you are making your speech worse. Possibly much worse. So even if you have no other jokes, leave this out.
posted by Tehhund at 11:53 AM on June 11, 2015 [19 favorites]


Are you sure? Almost all wedding jokes are that kind of joke - not really funny but people appreciate the effort nevertheless? I've got nothing better. Is no joke better?

No, I have heard some truly funny jokes at weddings. They were way better than that one though.

I mean, I'm not saying you can't use that joke. You'll get laughs (don't worry about ruining people's evenings, you're not gonna actually do that) and you obviously know the bride and groom better than we do. But you're asking Metafilter if that joke is funny and Metafilter doesn't think the joke is funny. You asked.
posted by bondcliff at 11:54 AM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


You know what would actually be funnier? To give a serious speech and then at the end say something like
"I'd like to finish my speech with a non-funny joke, as per the tradition of telling terrible non-funny cliche marriage jokes in wedding speeches that has no connection to the bride and groom at all." and THEN tell your not funny joke. Own how not funny it is. Be sure to remain totally deadpan and unemotive. Maybe even very deliberately read it awkwardly from a card. Absolutely RUIN the already awful joke. At least then you'd be fulfilling the "tradition" while also acknowledging that it is a crappy stupid joke.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 11:54 AM on June 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


The director of the Bulgarian women's choir I used to sing with always told a very similar joke, which she said was making fun of the blockheadedness of people in the Shop region of Bulgaria:

him: When I come home, check which side I have my hat on. If it's on the left, come and run and kiss me, but if it's on the right, stay out of my way.

her: When you come home, check which way I have my arms. If my hands are on my hips, think about which way you're going to put your hat.
posted by nonane at 11:55 AM on June 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


Good Lord, no. That joke is terrible. It reads like something you'd find in a 1952 Readers Digest or maybe in a really bad borscht belt comedy routine of the same era. It's not just that it seems slightly sexist, it calls back to outdated and really corny stereotypes. It is not funny. Don't fight us on this.

I'm kind of surprised you're fixated on this one lame joke. I would expect to.find a dozen funnier ones in the first Google result for "wedding toast jokes."
posted by jayder at 11:57 AM on June 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


If I were the bride I would give serious side-eye to anyone who told a joke like that at my wedding. There were lots of jokes at mine, though. My BIL, who married us, made references to the way we met, what brought us together, and our specific interests that were very funny. For example, he included this quote from The Odyssey: “There is nothing more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.” I studied Classics in college so I thought that was awesome.

I am not saying you should use this same joke! I am saying, think of what these specific people care about. Reference those things in your speech. It doesn't have to be funny. My other BIL gave a great toast that was not at all funny, in which he just said some heartfelt things about how he saw our relationship.
posted by chaiminda at 11:57 AM on June 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


No joke is better. I'm sure all of us have politely fake laughed and clapped after terrible wedding speeches filled with inappropriate and unfunny jokes. The people who tend to get real laughs are naturally funny and clever and aren't necessarily telling jokes. They're just hilarious and make people laugh. If you're not one of those people, leave the joke out and give a heartfelt (and short) speech.
posted by quince at 11:57 AM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Whoa. No, not funny. As in, totally, really, stunningly no. Based on really outdated gender roles, and really, no, not even slightly funny. Nope. It's basically an "old ball and chain" kid of joke, which is just bad on a few levels. If it's between that and no joke, there's really not even any contest -- go with no joke.
posted by holborne at 11:59 AM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


There are ways to be funny without telling 'jokes'.

Leave out the joke and tell a humorous story about the couple but make sure it's tasteful.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 12:00 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


I never find these "wives and husbands can't get along because of their defined roles"-type jokes funny. My wife and I get along really well and never have these gender role pantomime issues, so the joke is hard to relate to I guess.

The only way I can think to make them worse would be to tell it at a wedding.
posted by humboldt32 at 12:00 PM on June 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


Or you could tell a cat joke. Something totally unrelated to relationships or marriage or weddings.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 12:03 PM on June 11, 2015


I have told a lot of wedding speeches (three sisters married now, one of them twice, as well as several friends). I would never tell a joke like this one. And certainly not this one (as people have sad, it's sexist).

In fact, I would never tell "a joke" in a wedding speech (meaning a joke that you can look up on the internet). I always try to get a couple of laughs, but I do so by making funny references to the couple, and their relationship. Or by gently poking fun at their friends or relatives if you know the person will take it well.

Wedding guests are a very soft audience. You can say almost anything, pause like you expect a laugh, and get one. There's no need to reach for "jokes," least of all ones that might annoy the couple.
posted by 256 at 12:04 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Response by poster: Oh dear. Ok, I promise not to tell the joke! I thought I could manage the delivery, which I can't do for most jokes. I'm a very poor judge of what's funny in cliche humor, which is the only humor that I've ever heard at weddings even though it admittedly sucks. I could never make up my own funny joke. I'm going to be awkward and nervous, and I thought I could cut the tension a bit this way. If you have other suggestions, I'd love that and I'll step out of the thread now.
posted by kitcat at 12:05 PM on June 11, 2015


I was just at a wedding where both the best man and maid of honor gave actually funny speeches. The best man did a running riff on how he never admitted he was wrong, but he would just this one time, because he told the groom not to get involved with the bride and had obviously changed his mind. It worked even though it was a little overplayed, because everyone who knew him knew that he was only partly kidding about this personal trait of his, and because it set him up to tell us about how the bride and groom met and why it worked. It wasn't a classic setup-punchline joke, but it was a totally successful and inoffensive bit of self-deprecating humor.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:09 PM on June 11, 2015


Cut the tension by starting with "I was going to start with a marriage joke but was told by every person I tried it out on that it wasn't funny. Thank God I gave it a test run, eh? Yeah, so I'll spare you having to pretend to laugh and just get into what I actually want to say about the Bride and Groom..." and then go into it. I'm all about honesty, and it can be quite charming and endearing.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 12:09 PM on June 11, 2015 [41 favorites]


One possible way to make this joke work is to pair it with a dozen or so equally unfunny old-fashioned jokes and stammer awkwardly during the pity laughter for each one. Johnny Carson made a pretty successful career for himself this way. Just a thought.
posted by jimmereeno at 12:09 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm going to be awkward and nervous, and I thought I could cut the tension a bit this way. If you have other suggestions, I'd love that and I'll step out of the thread now.

Well, one little comedy trope that I like a lot really plays up the awkward and nervous aspect.

The setup is that you have your speech written out on notecards, which you're fumbling around with. It's clear that you're not a natural public speaker.

Then you start your speech and you say something like, "let's all take a moment to congratulate Linda and..." [pause, switch cards, make a confused face, switch cards again] "...Bob on their vows."

It works best if the name you have to look to the cue card for is the member of the couple you're the closest with.
posted by phunniemee at 12:11 PM on June 11, 2015 [19 favorites]


Could you provide a list of like, five things about your friends? Bride owns pitbulls, groom likes Doritos, parents of bride run hot air balloon business, groom's brother is huge fan of Hootie and the Blowfish, honeymoon destination is Alaska? That kind of thing?

Good wedding jokes are a way to make the audience feel like they a) love the bride and groom, and b) know things about them because they love them, with a little gentle ribbing.

Who are your friends? Jokes come from there.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 12:11 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Leave out the joke and tell a humorous story about the couple but make sure it's tasteful.

Listen to Klaxon Aoooogah, not only because Klaxon Aoooogah is correct, but because Klaxon Aoooogah clearly knows what is funny, because goddamn, Klaxon Aoooogah is one of the funniest names on MetaFilter, if not the entire Internet.

"Jokes" are things you clearly read in a joke book. They are so rarely funny that virtually no good comedians use them (we still you miss you, Mitch), instead opting for "humorous stories", especially ones that are personal. If you know the bride and/or groom well enough to be giving a speech at the wedding, you must have a humorous story that is actually about her or him or them (best option).
posted by Etrigan at 12:11 PM on June 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


Could you provide a list of like, five things about your friends? Bride owns pitbulls, groom likes Doritos, parents of bride run hot air balloon business, groom's brother is huge fan of Hootie and the Blowfish, honeymoon destination is Alaska? That kind of thing?

I know you said this to try to give us topics for jokes, but I legit was like "That would be a super funny way to start the speech! Just listing off 5 super mundane commonly known things about the bride and the groom".
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 12:13 PM on June 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


I legit was like "That would be a super funny way to start the speech! Just listing off 5 super mundane commonly known things about the bride and the groom".

That works too!
posted by a fiendish thingy at 12:17 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you have other suggestions, I'd love that and I'll step out of the thread now.

The thing is, we don't know the bride and groom (I'm assuming it's a bride and groom) or the crowd at the wedding. It's entirely possible this joke would be the funniest joke any of them have ever heard. In fact, if you told this joke at my dad's wedding two years ago they'd STILL be talking about how funny the joke is. Because, well, because they're sexist unsophisticated nincompoops.

But Metafilter isn't the crowd at this wedding, I'm assuming. Metafilter people tend to be more educated, more well-read, more liberal and thus a bit more up on what's racist/sexist/etc than the general population. And Metafilter isn't laughing.

There might be a very funny generic joke out there that someone can suggest, but probably not. Your best bet is to tell a funny story about the first time you saw the couple together, or something funny that happened that made you think "These people are meant to be together."
posted by bondcliff at 12:18 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


The best sort of wedding humor is where you tell an amusing (but harmless! no drugs! no sex! no car theft!) story about the bride that puts the bride in a flattering light and makes you the butt of the joke (assuming your primary relationship is to the bride; otherwise, tell your story about the groom). So, like, harmless high-school hijinks that everyone laughs at, where you end up making a mistake and she saves the day, and you segue that into praising the bride, because her taking the blame when you got caught cutting your younger brother's hair shows her loyalty and generosity, and that's why you love her so much are are so glad she met someone like Joe, who's equally generous ... .

Jokes in public should always flatter your subject (perhaps with a little gentle ribbing) and render yourself the butt. Unless you're a comedian, always stick with jokes where you look like the dope of the story. It prevents you from crossing the line where humor becomes awkward or mean or inappropriate for public consumption, and if you're joking about yourself people enjoy laughing with you.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:24 PM on June 11, 2015 [14 favorites]


The core of most humor is someone being made to look bad, which is not a great thing to be doing at weddings.

I thought I could manage the delivery, which I can't do for most jokes.

Even great jokes can be very sensitive to delivery. If you're not a natural jokester, don't try to force yourself to be. At best, most tolerable wedding jokes tend to get a few polite laughs but don't add anything to the event. Is there a really funny thing that happened with yourself and the bride/groom? Tell a real story about them that's entertaining - that's far better than riffing on cliches about marriage.
posted by Candleman at 12:28 PM on June 11, 2015


I could never make up my own funny joke.

It's a mistake to think of 'a joke' as the fundamental unit of humor. There's a huge range of ideas about what humor is, but all of them are centered around peoples' reactions to things. Maybe things that are incongruous, or that make us uncomfortable, or are absurd - but those things needn't be packaged as a joke, necessarily.

I'm actually writing a wedding speech right now, and I plan to say something along the lines of "I remember the night they finally got together - and anyone who wants to hear the rest of that story can buy me a drink at the bar later." Kind of funny, not a joke, says something about the couple that is cheeky but not unflattering to either or disrespectful of their partnership.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:34 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


If the couple has been together for a long time: "I remember when A told me that she and B were getting married. I think you're supposed to say 'congratulations,' but all I could think of was: It's about friggin time."

If the couple has only been together a short time: "Wise men say only fools rush in, but I can't help... wondering how many of these so-called wise men die alone and unloved." (You would need to follow this one up with a heartfelt statement about how obviously perfect the couple are for each other)

Neither of these is very funny, but I guarantee that either of them will get a big laugh. That's how easy a wedding crowd is. Note that a vital component of these "jokes" is that they reference some aspect of the relationship.

Also, I really like phunniemee's note card gag.
posted by 256 at 12:44 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's not reflective of the bride and groom and I'll note that in the speech if you all think I can use this.

Actually, this could work. Start with "An old joke goes..." or "I'm sure you've all heard the joke about..." Tell it, roll your eyes along with everyone else as you do. And then, if you can make it personal and endearing, explain why it doesn't apply in this particular case. Make sure the explanation is longer than the joketelling.

Another tactic: Ask whichever one you know better when they knew they were in love with the other person, or why they decided to get married. If you get a crowdpleaser-type response, share that story.
posted by gnomeloaf at 12:44 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


But really, stick to your strengths. If you don't think you're funny, any attempt to be funny will just make it harder for YOU to get through the speech.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:50 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Pro wedding DJ here, having heard several hundred speeches and toasts over my career. This is a lame joke - the previous replies have established that. Nearly all toast givers are nervous, few are truly funny, so you are not alone. You can still do a great job if you focus on the following:

-Speak from the heart about something you appreciate about your closer friend of the couple getting married. Share an anecdote, talk about a character trait - establish one of the reasons why you love them. For example: "I met Charlie in college, we often went on camping trips together. His sense of adventure was remarkable..."

-Explain how when this friend's relationship with their partner began, you saw those traits reflected/magnified/complimented by their partner, and just how well suited this makes them.

-Close out by wishing them well in their relationship.

It's a simple formula, but when done well you may find strangers like myself tearing up. Good luck!
posted by stachemaster at 12:51 PM on June 11, 2015 [36 favorites]


My sagest advice for giving a toast is that it really matters very little what comes before, the most important thing is to end with an actual toast. Meaning, hold up your glass and say the couple names. You'd be surprised at how often that is forgotten. Much can be forgiven if you end with the collective good thoughts of well wishers coordinated by the toast giver. (Oh and lose that joke, it's terrible)
posted by blackjack514 at 1:00 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


For the 10% of the wedding attendees who will pay attention to your speech: your audience is on your side, and wants your speech to be a success. I looooove wedding speeches of all types, so I'm always that person who is paying close attention, shushing other people, taking pictures of the speaker, etc. You tell a good joke, and I will LAUGH and CLAP. You tell a bad joke that doesn't land quite right, and I will say HA HA HA. You mumble something I can't quite hear, and I will smile and nod and say AHHHMM. Seriously, everyone that is listening really wants your speech to work, so whatever you say will likely be well received.

And the remaining 90% of the attendees won't be listening, so, no big deal there.
posted by samthemander at 1:08 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Look, if you're not funny, just don't try to be. It's really not required. Sappy is much more important than funny. Stachemaster has it. Keep it specific to the couple, what's so great about them, why they're so lovely together, back it up with your own observations and anecdotes about them (people will like this), and wish them even more happiness for the future.
posted by sesquipedalian at 1:31 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Cut the tension by starting with "I was going to start with a marriage joke but was told by every person I tried it out on that it wasn't funny.

I think this is good. I think it would also be funny if you then reached into your pocket, pulled out some note cards, and started reading aloud some the the harshest (appropriate) comments.

As for the original joke, when I read it I immediately pictured The Lockhorns saying it.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:31 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


It depends on your family. I think your joke would get a big laugh among my relatives. With them I've found that clever stuff dies, whereas old fashioned jokes, especially simple ones, go down big. We Mefites are desperate snobs intellectually and don't really understand or approve of popular humour; don't take us as a guide.
posted by Segundus at 1:43 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I would not mention even the idea of the joke. Everybody will want to know what the joke is, and you will spend the wedding having to tell it, and you will mostly tell it to people who will then feel awkward for having heard it. It is a very, very bad joke, but not even the kind of joke that is funny because it is bad. It's sexist, and not funny. It is a joke with no possibility for redemption.
posted by kmennie at 1:46 PM on June 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


Nthing lose that particular joke...

If you still think your toast needs an element of humour, there's no reason not to go looking for something else. If you're worried about delivery, I would reccomend having a look at puns, which have the benefit of being short, snappy and more often than not clean and non-personal.

A very quick web search tipped up "it's been an emotional wedding; even the cake's in tiers" which is just one example of many that are inoffensive and suitably groan-worthy.
posted by protorp at 1:57 PM on June 11, 2015


In the USA, there is something of a tradition of making fun of colleges the person went to. I suppose you could work the joke into Groom, who went to X fancy college, learned the following codes he expects his wife to follow.... while wife, who went to Y fancy college, has common sense and is not going to put up with this.



Also, I'm not known for telling good jokes, so...
posted by Jacen at 2:08 PM on June 11, 2015


I nearly collapsed laughing at my own wedding when our best man gave his speech... because he told personal and funny stories about his friendship with me and my husband. If he'd made a sexist joke like this I would've actually felt pretty sad, because it doesn't at all represent our relationship and I would think he knew us better than that. You don't have to be funny. As a wedding guest, I'd much rather hear a sweet, non-funny wedding speech that is personal to you and the bride and groom, than one filled with jokes that basically has nothing to do with the people actually getting married.
posted by augustimagination at 2:29 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Next week I'll give a toast (maybe not a full speech) at the wedding of an older couple, and will build it off one of the quotes I collect in a 200+ chapbook document on my desktop, as I come across quotes I love. Here's the quote/toast I'll use:
"Since this is a literary crowd, I offer you one of my favorite thoughts from Tom Stoppard, who has one of his characters say that 'it takes wit and courage to make our way while our way is making us, with no consolation to count on but art and the summer lightning of personal happiness.' A and B, you have each made your way through life with great wit and true courage, and now that your paths have come together, I wish you lots of summer lightning."
I may expand on this slightly, but short and to the point, yet with food for thought (as opposed to chuckles), is what I'm trying for.
posted by mmiddle at 2:42 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


You could make it a modern household kind of joke where the husband cooks the dinner and the wife goes out carrying a jacket and making demands.
On the other hand, I agree, the joke is mostly stale, so perhaps not.
posted by Namlit at 3:56 PM on June 11, 2015


Don't try to make it funny if it doesn't come naturally to you. That's just uncomfortable for everyone. Make it sweet and heartfelt, and, above all, short. You can never go wrong with short.
posted by Mavri at 7:23 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, if you're not naturally funny, don't worry about trying to be. Skip that altogether and it will lower your stress considerably A wedding is a lovefest, just be sweet & heartfelt, say really nice things about them both and how happy you know they'll be together and everyone will go awwwwwww (it's lovely hearing lovely things about people you love!) and smile and get a bit teary and then do the toast.

And yes, short is good! Not like, 2 seconds short and do actually get their names in there but do not feel the need to go on and on. People are a lot more generous of mind when someone is awkward and brief than awkward and long winded!
posted by kitten magic at 7:55 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


The only wedding I've given a speech in, I was a groomsman (and the only wedding party member who could claim to be friends with both parts of the couple) and a very good friend of mine was a bridesmatron. And her speech was right before mine. So we took a bit of time from each of ours, and secretly distributed (ahead of time) re-written lyric sheets to a song everyone knows. As she finished up her speech, the rest of the wedding party swung out to the guests' tables. DJ had a karaoke version of the song cued up. And we led the crowd in singing the whole thing, and since the song has a bunch of musical interludes, did a couple different styles of pre-choreographed dance routines.

And then I had my speech. Which I was able to open up with something like "[Groom] is a much less flamboyent and long-winded guy than I am, [a quick one-liner about him being fine with no amenities] and there were a lot of speeches to happen, so he needed to keep them short. I think the exact words he used was 'I don't want a big song and dance routine'...."

That got laughs. As everyone above is saying: it puts me (if anyone) down, it makes him look considerate of the whole crowd, and it's personal to the people involved. If it's not personal to the people, it has no place at the wedding.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:25 AM on June 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


I find that joke completely stupid and offensive, depending on the audience you may get polite chuckles or cold silence. Why not try for a joke that was written after 1952?
posted by Toddles at 8:15 AM on June 12, 2015


This could by funny if the relationship was a bit strange, like say if the groom was "the cook", and the audience knew this. It'd be an interesting twist at any rate.
posted by vixsomnis at 8:14 PM on June 13, 2015


My grandfather gave me some solid wedding speech advice:

"Stand up to be seen, speak up to be heard, and shut up to be appreciated."

It's served me well.
posted by Admira at 12:15 AM on June 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Another thought about "is this joke funny?" You need to be very good and fairly experienced to make any prepared joke funny.
Also there's no rule that one has to re-tell some matrimony-themed jokes at a wedding speech. I've heard plenty of hilarious, moving, thoughtful etc. wedding speeches without that particular ingredient. Perhaps go after your own intuition; worry less about not disappointing one friend than about boring a whole crowd.
posted by Namlit at 8:39 AM on June 15, 2015


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