Whether you’re at a wedding, kicking it at a bar, or sharing another lonely night with a sixer and a room full of stuffed animals, delivering a show-stopping toast is a skill that can carry you through life. And while some smartypants might comb through libraries of literature for the perfect words for hoisting a glass, the lazier among us need look no further than movies and TV.
Just follow these pop-culture cues -- all delivered while drinking beer -- and soon you’ll be the poet laureate of bar wisdom.
Make it unique
With the exceptions of hosting a political rally, driving a cab, or executing an elaborate bank robbery, there’s no other time in adult life when you’re guaranteed the complete, undivided attention of friends and family than when you’re toasting. The crew of Good Neighbor -- now SNL stars/writers Kyle Mooney, Beck Bennett, and Nick Rutherford -- show you how to make a (hilariously long and obnoxious) show of it, complete with feral animals and choreography. There's also a bank-robbery section of the toast, just to make sure attention is undivided.
Throw in some confusing insults
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
It’s as true today as it was...um, whenever the hell Lord of the Rings takes place. People (and hobbitses and elves) like to comb through lines of dialogue to find hidden meaning -- especially if that meaning is applied to them. So throw some cryptic (possibly nonsensical) shade into your speech. Bilbo uses his beer-fueled 111th birthday as an excuse to straight-up ghost on everybody he knows: "I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve,” he babbles before slipping on his magic ring and disappearing. That’s the Middle Earth equivalent of tossing out a little trash-talk before announcing you’re going to the bathroom, and then jumping in a cab. Shots fired. Mic dropped. Memories made. Legend cemented.
It takes a while to drink a big-ass mug of beer, and that time can be spent bonding wordlessly. Lock eyes, tilt that head back, and realize that sometimes a toast needs no words to create camaraderie between a superpower Norse space god and an astrophysicist. Or, you know, you and your buddy.
Be prepared to save the day
It happens to the best of us: Your buddy is asked to stand up at a friend’s wedding, but after getting into the beers a little early, is suddenly ranting to a crowd about the time he came home to discover that his significant other has been hosting orgies when he's away on business. And that’s when you can become a hero, seizing the microphone with the fluid efficiency of the anchor on a relay team, quickly transitioning your friend’s sad orgy-babble about blindfolds into a metaphor for relationships, all while holding your beer high. Whether it’s an unwanted political rant, the profession of unrequited love for the bride, or an Amway pitch at the reception, a true toastmaster can pivot a wayward toaster’s words into something beautiful.
Spout some pseudo-philosophical BS
Sure, Tyler Durden’s penchant for vague, catch-phrasey pseudo-philosophy isn’t technically as grand as, say, a “Here’s looking’ at you, kid.” But it’s prime speechifying nonetheless, especially in the advanced “I get the reference, man,” drinking culture. If you don’t believe it, take a look at every college dudebro’s dorm room’s wall of posters as evidence of the power of Durdenism and drinking. And if you still need convincing, just crack open a Lone Star and throw on some True Detective (the first season--not the terrible one).
Keep it simple
Ok, so the Charles Bukowski character here isn’t drinking beer during his toast -- but he probably was earlier in the day. And the day before that. And that’s because it works. Raise a glass and drink “to all my friends.” Suddenly, everybody’s your friend! Or at least everybody realizes they haven’t had a sip in a couple seconds, and will appreciate the friendly reminder. Friendship is magic! Also, don’t behave like Mickey Rourke. Or Chuck Bukowski.
Let the beer speak for itself
An elaborate, verbose, laudatory toast can bring the house down and become the stuff of fond memories for a lifetime. But sometimes, you just want a beer. And then another one. No, Cliff doesn’t say anything epic in this clip -- but then again, he doesn’t have to. The ribbon on the frosty mug of beer he presents his friend is the barfly’s version of an ancient Gaelic tome. Such is the power of beer that, when presented effectively, it serves as a toast unto itself.
When in doubt, channel Ron Swanson
Parks and Recreation
No commentary needed.