Earlier this month, a British man named Thom stood in front of a marquee full of wedding guests, with a Manchester City scarf around his neck, and began his best man speech.
He likely didn’t expect that in a matter of weeks, the walls of that small room would burst open – welcoming an audience of more than 300,000 people all over the world, courtesy of YouTube.
The four-minute speech begins with Thom ‘characterising’ his best friend Danny: “Anyone that’s lived with Danny knows what he’s like on a full load, and when he travels with work.”
You can hear a woman in the background mutter, “Uh oh”.
You can watch the video in full here…
A few seconds later, he says, “So I called PornHub”. For anyone who isn’t familiar with the site, it’s the biggest pornographic distributor on the planet.
A different woman – perhaps an aunt or grandmother – says loudly, “What the f*ck is going on?”
He then directs the audience to a video, where a woman named Aria wearing a PornHub t-shirt says, “Danny, your stamina and loyalty is very much appreciated”.
“All the girls are gutted to hear that you’re getting married,” she says, sharing images of popular porn stars.
Embarrassing photographs of Danny are plastered throughout the video, with words like ‘Creampie’ superimposed over the top. Aria then presents a map, sharing with guests all the places Danny has accessed the website across the world.
Generally, people do not stand and announce “I’m horrified!” Rather, they think it in private, wondering why anyone thought this man was worthy of a microphone.
But Thom’s speech does speak to a much larger trend, and one that is gaining momentum.
Why have speeches, at weddings, at 21st’s, or at 50th’s, become an excuse for a public roasting? Who wants to listen to someone, who has no qualifications as a stand-up comic, reveal the darkest and most humiliating secrets of the person we’re meant to be honouring?
At 18th birthdays, we hear stories of how Laura stole alcohol from her grandmother’s liquor cabinet last year, while her grandmother’s face drops.
We hear at Sophie’s 21st, about how she’s a ‘groupie’ and has slept with the whole NRL Roosters team, while her poor father passes around the spring rolls.
We watch Jonathan's two best friends present a slideshow featuring every girl he's ever kissed, including a drunken video of him recounting a debaucherous night. His girlfriend stands next to him, mortified.
We listen to a maid of honour tell 200 people about how the bride used to have a penchant for party drugs, while a great aunty turns to the person next to her and asks what an 'ekky' is.
Is it really that funny? Is it funny enough to potentially offend the people who paid for the food, covered the bar tab, and erected the marquee?
It's interesting to retell adolescent stories, maybe of embarrassing crushes or an awkward fight you had in Year Nine.
But speeches shouldn't be the part of the night where everyone holds their breath, terrified of what will be exposed, while somebody's mother pops a Valium.
Maybe everyone in the room with Thom took it well, and Danny will never forget that beautiful video message from PornHub.
But perhaps it's time we got a little more creative, and left the brutal roastings to Comedy Central.