Standing Up to Bad Wedding Toasts

Giving a wedding toast is the closest opportunity many people will have to performing stand-up comedy. The microphone is clutched tightly in their clammy hands, the heart rate picks up and you’ve got a couple hundred people who genuinely want you to do well. Then the public speaking train flies off the track.

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Don’t let this be you.

Why does this happen? People study for college finals and job interviews so the lack of effort and preparation to adequately pay tribute to the bride and groom is puzzling.

Enter Laugh Staff.

Laugh Staff is the late night writing team who isn’t writing for late night. They write for the wedding night. Comedians like Curtis Cook out of Portland and Kyle Ayers out of Brooklyn aren’t household names…yet. But they are two of the writers on Laugh Staff who help nervous toast goers across the country. The President of the Unites States has a speechwriter, so why not a best man or maid of honor?

The comedians at Laugh Staff work off a detailed questionnaire sent to the future toaster that asks for any and everything related to the bride and groom.  The comedian gets an inside look at the maid of honor’s relationship to the bride or the best man’s bromance towards the groom. Laugh Staff finds out how the engagement went down, what the courtship was like and what the bride and groom love and absolutely can’t stand about one another.

The comedian writes out the ‘set’ and the best man or maid of honor then has a blueprint of how to tackle the speech. The comedian will even jump on the phone and help coach the client through the little things that go a long way (who to look at for certain parts of the speech, when to hit an over exaggerated eye roll, when to pause before delivering that perfect punch line, etc.).

Why is a service like this important?

Number one, wedding toasts need to be stepped up. The problem is the average young professional hasn’t developed this skill (one class freshman year in interpersonal communications doesn’t count). Our eyes are buried over our phones or at our screens…not looking at living, breathing people.  Who talks in front of living people all the time and actually excels at it? Comedians like Bri Pruett out of Portland or Toby Davis out of San Diego (both are part of the Laugh Staff team).

Number two, comedians now get an opportunity to earn income during the daylight that uses their creativity and doesn’t interfere with their gigs at night. The question is: How do you utilize stand-ups in areas besides stand-up? Speechwriting is a start.

The result has been over 300 speeches in three years for people confident enough in themselves to ask for help and smart enough to know comedians aren’t just valuable at telling dick jokes to strangers.

Comedy is subjective and people interpret funny in different ways. It’s a unique skill set and if you don’t believe so, just listen to those crickets.


Josh Womack is the co-founder of Laugh Staff and resides in Cleveland, OH. He is also a copywriter with Progressive Insurance.  He tried becoming a pro wrestler in his late 20s, but decided writing was a safer route.