The mother-in-law joke….

By - 1 Sep 2011The mother-in-law joke was once a standard in many best man speeches. The stereotype was that the mother-in-law was a monster-in-law who would make the groom miserable until the day he died.

Most women hate these jokes – including most brides – as most women will be mothers-in-law at some stage in the future.  And to see your mother mocked (even if it is 'jokingly') in front of all your family and friends is not something you want to see on your wedding day.  So if you're a best man, steer clear of these tired old jokes.

If mother-in-law jokes are a bad look for a best man speech, they're death for a groom.  A cruel joke at the expense of your bride's mother is not a great way to start a relationship that you will have for the rest of your life.  So stay gracious.

Once in a while a mother-in-law joke emerges which works.  A recent best man speech we heard referenced the old man's tale that before you propose you should meet your girlfriend's mother to get an idea of how your love will age.  This was a sensible idea, the best man said, as he looked towards the bride, Jessica.

"When I look at Jess today, and I look at her mom, I can see where her beauty comes from," he said.

We all sat forward, waiting for him to say how beautiful Jess's mother was looking.  The best man continued.

"It is clear to me, as I am sure it is to everyone who has met Jess's mom, that Jess gets her looks from her father…."

There was a shocked pause, then everyone roared with laughter in the way you do when someone says something – really – uncomfortable.   The best man held up his hand.

"Wait," he said.  "Let me finish.   It is clear to me that Jess got her looks from her father – because her mother has kept all hers…"

We all laughed again – without the guilt this time – including Jess's mom.


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