Best Man speech.
I met Bob fifteen years ago. I remember our first meeting vividly because he was dressed like a parakeet.
Bob was dressed like a parakeet because he was a struggling actor in those days, and he was so keen to land a part in a Cap’n Crunch commercial my agency was producing, he showed up in full costume.
Bob’s an intense guy. When he gets into something, he really gets into it. He was into method acting then, and insisted on staying in character no matter what role he was playing. Since he also moonlighted as a children’s entertainer, if you invited him out for a drink, it was never Bob who showed up. It was Cowboy Bob, or Harry the Hornet or Luigi the Lion—a character he once confessed he’d based on Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather.
Those of you who only know Bob as an entertainment lawyer will no doubt be surprised to learn of his résumé. But I want to assure you that no matter how quickly he has ascended in the legal world, Bob has never lost touch with his humbler self. In particular, he has never lost touch with Harry the Hornet.
It has been said that all good actors must draw on their own life experience to bring a character to life, and no character that Bob played was more his alter ego than Harry. Picture, if you will, a hornet who wore fedoras, Italian jackets and shopped at Barney’s. A hornet whose role model was Dean Martin in his Rat Pack days. A hornet who was so charmingly neurotic, even his mother told him to just go with it.
The thing about Harry though, was that in spite of all his peccadilloes, he was a hornet who had your back. He showed up when you needed him to show up. He made you laugh when you needed him to make you laugh. And he always insisted on picking up the tab.
Bob’s fetishistic love of food is well known to his friends, for to be a friend of Bob’s is to be forced to listen to him do twenty minutes on the merits of goji berries. Still, listening to him expound on matters epicurean is a little like listening to Pavarotti sing an aria. You may not understand every word, but you know you’re in the presence of greatness.
But listening to Bob wax lyrical about food is not nearly as satisfying as sitting down to one of his magnificently cooked meals. If you haven’t eaten a Bob meal, I suggest that you ingratiate yourself with him immediately.
On the other hand, dining out with Bob requires a certain intestinal fortitude, if not danger pay, for he is so notoriously finicky about how his food is prepared, I am convinced that his picture is posted in restaurant kitchens all over town. As far as anyone, including his mother, can tell, Bob has always been this way. I once heard it said that he sent back his strained peas as a baby because they were too acidic.
And yet, as much of a Renaissance man as Bob is, there is one area in which he completely lacks interest, and that’s camping. I know this because I was among a group of guys who went on a canoe trip with him several years ago, and who vowed never to repeat the experience. Bob’s idea of canoe tripping was to dip his paddle in the water occasionally and say, ‘Are we there yet?’
Julie, if you have any expectations in this area, I strongly advise you to abandon them now. You have fallen in love with an extraordinarily funny, sweet and loyal man, but the only way you are going to get him into the great outdoors is to promise him there’s an Armani Outlet nearby.
At this point in the speech, I know it is customary to make affectionate jokes about the groom’s checkered dating history, and it is true that Bob’s history has been colourful. But in my opinion, the far more interesting story here is not Bob’s dating past; it’s what he said to me the day after he met Julie.
“Ken,” he said. I met a girl.”
“No kidding,” I said. What’s she like?”
And then he delivered a line I’ve always believed should have been written for Jimmy Stewart:
“Like the kind of girl I’ve been waiting for my whole life."
That’s when I knew I’d better get my tux cleaned.
So Julie—if you love this guy even half as much as he loves you, you’re home free. The way I see it, there will be enough love between you to keep the two of you airborne for a long time to come.
Ladies and gentlemen, will you please stand and join with me in toasting my friend Bob— a true friend, and a true original.