Turning 21 is a milestone birthday, and one that gathers together friends and family to celebrate their loved one. The most memorable part of the birthday party is often the speeches. Anecdotal and humorous, they should share and reflect upon the delightful and distinctive characteristics of the birthday boy or girl. The speeches should start when all the guests are assembled, relaxed and fed, with a libation in hand for toasts.
A 21st birthday speech should be engaging and make the audience laugh. Include some humorous anecdotes about things the birthday person did as a child and share some embarrassing -- but not mean -- stories from his school years. The audience will relax and warm to you and the guest of honor will likely take the ribbing in stride. Don't include overtly crude or inappropriate stories that the birthday person has told you in confidence, no matter how funny they are. Keep your humor gentle and good natured.
Video of the Day
Reflect on the birthday person's accomplishments. Select a few achievements that she is proud of and worked hard for. A 21-year-old is likely to have met some educational or career goals, and these are great topics to mention. Also, praise her qualities and personality traits that you find most endearing. If you've spent a minute making fun of the person, spend at least a minute building her up again and sharing what she means to you personally.
Pictures and Videos
If you can obtain an appropriate projector, show some photos of the birthday person. You can use them in your speech for comedic effect by synchronizing your speech to a slideshow or contrasting your words of praise with pictures exemplifying the opposite. Or show clips of funny home videos of childhood scenes to offer glimpses into the birthday person's history that few people would have seen. Don't let videos run for too long. Get help from a pro to edit the clips into a brief show, perhaps with a comedic title for each vignette.
Keep It Short
Twenty-first birthday speeches should be short and sweet. Party attendees won't appreciate a speech that's too long. Don't test the audience's patience by talking for more than a few minutes, especially if multiple speakers will take the floor. Prepare and practice your speech beforehand so you know how long it takes to deliver. Write it out word for word or have some notes to keep you on track. A funny, short speech is much better than one that overstays its welcome.