Actually, I couldn’t possibly choose just one. I’ve worked at JLA for over five years and have spent many an evening at awards ceremonies all around the UK, sussing out the wheat from the chaff, so we can make the right suggestions for your event. Selecting a well known name to do justice to your awards ceremony can seem like a bewildering task, but as a speaker bureau, we’re here to help you make sense of it all. On the other hand, how hard can scrubbing up nicely, reading accurately from a script and posing beautifully for 25 winners’ photos be? Well, it’s definitely not as easy as that, and some stars really are a cut above at this job. Everyone has their favourites, but these are the real gems your speaker bureau should be advising you on.
Actually, I lied. If I have to give the crown (or trophy) to anyone for best host, then it’s going to be Steph. The television presenter has brilliant anecdotes from reporting on location for Breakfast TV (often in highly unglamorous situations) and from a famous encounter interviewing a certain US President. She has an authoritative yet reassuring presence and is as funny as any comedian – just check out her recent stint hosting Have I Got News For You. And Steph’s one of the most sociable and down-to-earth hosts, often joining for dinner and chatting to as many people as she can on the night. If in doubt, contact your speaker bureau, book Steph, and thank me later.
I know – another Breakfast TV presenter. But they really do make superb hosts, and the truly lovely Dan had to make the list. One of our clients described him as “hosting genius” and like “your bezzy mate onstage”. Dan’s a master of pacy presenting, always keeping proceedings on track, but without the ceremony ever feeling rushed. My client was so thrilled to recently welcome him back as host for a second year running that she filled his dressing room with Double Decker bars as a show of her appreciation (they’re not on his rider – she just knew he loved them!).
If it’s a comedian you’re after, then Russell takes first place in this category. You can’t help but wonder where he gets his energy from, and he takes his hosting duties seriously. You get the feeling he’s having the time of his life onstage, and he has the essential knack for making your industry feel celebrated, and everyone in the room feel appreciated. Highly commended goes to Katherine Ryan who is a dream to work with onstage and off. Rising star goes to Tom Allen – check out his performance at our 2017 Real Variety Show. As a speaker bureau, we’re often asked who or what the next big thing in comedy is – it’s Tom.
After something a little different? Adam’s got the slickest and most creative awards introduction I’ve seen for years. One of my clients has booked every awards host under the sun, but Adam’s the only person who’s had her rolling in the aisles crying with laughter. Mostly thanks to an edited video clip of a sea urchin singing. Yes, really. He is truly unique.
Lauren’s the perfect mix of cool and credible. She really does her research before each event, crafting an introductory speech which is relevant to the audience in question. It’s always smart, funny and perfectly pitched. She’s also utterly reliable; AV and production teams seem to breathe a sigh of relief when they find out the “lovely Lauren Laverne” is in charge. She’s a speaker bureau’s dream.
It’s difficult to beat the Rev. Those who’ve had a varied or colourful career often make the most interesting storytellers, and Richard’s a natural in front of the lectern. Guests love listening to tales of Richard’s hedonistic lifestyle as one half of The Communards before the Church came calling, or the transition from ‘pop star to parson’ as he likes to call it. When Richard’s at the helm, each guest leaves feeling warm, fuzzy and like a champion, winner or not. Top tip on the night – ask him about the speedboat.
And let’s not forget about the voiceover! If you want to get the best from your host, particularly for larger awards ceremonies, it can really help to have a ‘voice of god’ up top to keep the crowd in check, read out the nominations, and generally give your chosen awards host a bit of a helping hand, without stealing the limelight from them.
As a speaker bureau we work with lots of talented voices, but some of our most recognisable favourites are Voice of the Balls (and Strictly) Alan Dedicoat, and University Challenge’s Roger Tilling. Lynn Bowles is another popular choice, and you’re in safe hands with her onside.
These are just some of the people we work with at JLA. If you would like to know more about any of the names featured, or if you need any further suggestions, please contact us.