Toasting Cleveland’s Nuptials: A Long Overdue Best Man Speech for Our Beloved City and its Love

(Clinking of bottle of Great Lakes Christmas Ale)

Good evening, everyone. For those of who don’t know me or chose to ignore me in the reception line, my name is Laugh Staff and I’m a small joke writing company from Cleveland.

I am honored and privileged to be here tonight at the wedding of Cleveland and the 21st century. It took three decades but we made it. When Cleveland asked me to be his best man I was more than excited. Now I know many of you are probably expecting a drunken, inappropriate, and rambling speech chronicling the glory days, but don’t worry, Zack Reed and Number 19 will be at the bar ALL NIGHT. What up, Bernie!

To see Cleveland marry the 21st Century is really special. I have to give a shout out to Mayor Jackson and thank him for finally introducing you guys. Cleveland, I told you that Sokolowski’s was a great first date place. Authentic polish food always sets up the evening for romance, and that romance is what we’re celebrating tonight. When I see Cleveland and the 21st century walk hand-in-hand down East Fourth, it makes me emotional. Cleveland’s first date with the 21st century was actually on East 104th St.

Cleveland and I first became friends in 1982. We had so much in common: we were both small, resilient and known for a toughness only seen in Rocky training montages. Cleveland actually did a similar move of running up the steps somewhere, but it was just at the courthouse for a probation hearing. 21st Century, I have to say that you look stunning tonight. Your Aloft Hotel, Ernst & Young Building, Medical Mart, Convention Center and Horseshoe Casino are breathtaking. I want to thank your parents Scott Wolstein and Dan Gilbert for throwing this great party tonight. Mr. Wolstein, thanks for the Wolstein Center, that cavernous venue where over-the-hill hip-hop groups still have a chance to perform. Mr. Gilbert, thanks for Anthony Bennett and Nick Gilbert. And… um, for buying things? Cleveland you’re an old soul and a true gentleman, but I have to be honest to the 21st Century. For your engagement ring, Cleveland didn’t go to Jared’s….he bought that ring from the Norton Furniture guy in an abandoned parking lot on St. Clair. If we can raise our glass to Cleveland and the 21st Century, to a life of innovation, sustainability and lakefront development. Well, at least two of those three things. Cheers! For more from the Comedy Issue, click here>>

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