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Adam Sank on Officiating Funny Weddings, Marriage Equality, & Nudity at the Altar

Published Thursday, Aug. 24th, 2023

Adam and the happy grooms during an amusing outdoor wedding ceremony (Photo courtesy of Adam Sank)

Comic, advocate, wedding officiant: Adam Sank shares the secret to writing a funny wedding speech, his thoughts on Obergefell’s uncertain future, naturist wedding ceremonies, and more 



Comedian Adam Sank is a captivating storyteller. Whether he’s making bawdy jokes, talking politics, or describing his best friend’s wedding, it’s his talent for storytelling — his ability to pull an audience into the action and make them feel like they were there all along – that makes him an incredible comic. 


It’s also what makes him one hell of a wedding officiant. 


At the altar, Adam invites wedding guests to laugh along as he tells the story of the couple's first meeting or first date, describing with a comic’s eye for detail those eager, awkward, and occasionally absurd moments that set the stage for love. Guests head for the reception with the sense of having witnessed firsthand what makes the couple spark, the sweetness and humor at the heart of their love story. 


Adam began performing weddings in 2017 when he was asked to officiate by his oldest friend. At that time, he was already one of the most recognized openly gay comics in the country, with appearances on 'Last Comic Standing,' 'The Today Show,' FOX's 'Laughs,' 'CBS News,' Vh1's 'I Love the 2000s' and 'Best Week Ever,' CNN's '@ThisHour,' CNBC's 'Street Signs,' and his own beloved LGBTQ+ news and pop culture podcast, 'The Adam Sank Show' (aka A.S.S.).


His experiences with standup comedy translated easily to officiating, and he created a lively ceremony that honored the lighthearted energy of his friend’s relationship.  


Since then, he’s continued to hone his ceremony craft. He specializes in same-sex wedding ceremonies, Jewish weddings, and (of course!) comedy-infused weddings that keep couples and their guests laughing from start to first-kiss finish. He’s ordained with American Marriage Ministries and performs weddings in New York City and beyond.



I spoke to Adam last week to ask his secret for writing a funny wedding script, what he thinks about recent attacks on LGBTQ+ rights and marriage equality, whether he’d ever officiate a nude wedding, and much more. 


Here’s what he had to say!


Comedian and licensed NYC wedding officiant Adam Sank officiates a fall wedding for his close friends, the colors are warm and joyful oranges and reds. Adam holds a microphone and looks toward the bride with a smile as she holds hands with the groom

Adam officiated the wedding of his dear friends in Fall 2017.

(Photo courtesy of Adam Sank) 


What does a comedy-themed wedding look like? How do you approach it?


“I start by interviewing both of them separately, and I ask them questions like, ‘describe the first time you met,’ ‘what were your first impressions of each other,’ ‘what was your first date like,’ ‘what’s the thing that you most love about the other?’ 


There’s usually things that immediately pop out as being really funny. And you know, also sweet, and endearing… When you ask someone to describe their first date, there’s almost always humorous elements to it, right?


You know, ‘We had a great time but the food was terrible,’ or… ‘The restaurant had no air conditioning, we were both sweating like pigs’... There’s just things that happen as a matter of life happening, and so, very often, I look for the humor. My training as a standup is, whenever I hear a story I think, ok what’s funny about this? And what can I make out of this?”



Does humor put couples at ease during the wedding ceremony? 


“Very much so. One of the things about being a standup is, we never want to bore anyone. We always want to make everyone in the room happy. And so, that has served me well as an officiant because I know the day is not about me, and I never make it about me. But I do want to put on the best show possible, so to speak. 


I want the bride and groom to feel great, I want everyone else to feel great, and I want the ceremony to be lively, and also to mean something.”



Comedian and licensed NYC wedding officiant Adam Sank leads a same sex wedding ceremony on a rooftop in the city, he and the grooms are wearing casual clothing on a warm, partly sunny day

Adam officiated this sweet rooftop ceremony during the COVID pandemic, when many weddings moved outdoors. (Photo courtesy of Adam Sank) 


What advice would you give to a new officiant who wants to write a funny ceremony? 


“I would say, get to know your couple. Ask questions. Learn about their relationship, and about their personalities, and in doing so, you will find places to write jokes and to be funny. 


But always remember to do it in a respectful and loving way, because this is the most important day of their lives, and it really should be something that makes them smile from beginning to end.”


Related: How to Write Funny Wedding Vows (5 Tips for Bringing Humor Into Your Ceremony)


Do couples know what you’re going to say during the ceremony ahead of time? 


“So, interesting, so far, none of the couples that I’ve married have asked me ahead of time to tell [them] what I was going to say. They’ve all kind of trusted me not to be inappropriate or off color or say something that’s gonna upset anyone. 


They do know from my doing these interviews with them that it’s going to be about them, and about their relationship, but I think they feel pretty ok about that. 


I certainly have had couples make specific requests, like they want me to say this prayer at the end, or ‘we don’t want you to mention anything about God or religion,’ or ‘we do want you to mention one of our mothers who passed away,’ or something like that. So, certainly I work with them, but as far as what I call my ‘opening monologue,’ they don’t know what I’m going to say. So they’re hearing it at their wedding.”



What was your first experience as a wedding officiant? 


“I got ordained specifically so that I could officiate the wedding of my oldest friend, Amy… In addition to being one of my closest friends, she knew, obviously, that I’m a performer. And her husband’s family, they’re very creative, artsy people, they all have a terrific sense of humor.


So they had decided, even though they’re both Jewish, rather than have a Rabbi do it, they would rather have a friend do it, and someone they knew would keep things fun and funny. And so, I got ordained for them, they were my first wedding.”


Comedian and licensed wedding officiant Adam Sank performs a modern Jewish wedding ceremony, standing up front as the bride and groom perform the glass breaking ritual, stomping on the glass

 Mazel Tov! The bride and groom break the glass during a lively Jewish wedding -- Adam's first ceremony as a licensed wedding officiant in Fall 2017. (Photo courtesy of Adam Sank)



Do you have a favorite Jewish wedding tradition? 


“What I love about Jewish weddings, quite honestly, is that they’re usually very short. The emphasis is on the party afterwards, the reception, and the dancing, and the hora, and all that stuff. I mean, typically they tend to be very long, fun receptions. The service itself, most of the weddings I’ve been to have been about ten minutes long… There’s no mass, there’s generally not a lot of liturgy, it’s pretty short and sweet. 


And so, I try to replicate that in both the Jewish and non-Jewish weddings I’ve done, just because, I don’t know, I think that it doesn’t have to be an hour long production… 


It’s really about two people pledging their love to each other, and I feel like my job is to just introduce them to anyone who may not know both of them well, and just let everyone know, ‘here’s what this person is like, here’s what this person’s like, here’s how they met and fell in love, here’s sort of the magic of their relationship,’ and then they pledge their love to each other, and I declare them married… I don’t think it needs to be more than that.”


Related: Jewish & Christian Interfaith Wedding Script with Breaking the Glass Ritual

Browse Jewish Wedding Ceremony Scripts 



Do you have favorite elements to include in queer weddings?


“Same-sex weddings, I would say, you know, they’re all over the map. Some queer couples have very traditional weddings, with a religious ceremony and a religious officiant, a minister, a rabbi, etcetera, and some are extremely modern, and have almost nothing that you would regard as a traditional component of the marriage ceremony… They’re very much, they know exactly what they want, and they’re not afraid to tell me.”



Have you performed a naturist wedding? Would you? 


“Interestingly, I have not, but it’s probably only a matter of time…


In addition to doing a number of naturist events as a comedian, I’ve also just done naked comedy, you know, just for regular audiences that weren’t even naturists. That’s kind of one of my specialties as a comedian, so, I’m surprised that no one’s asked yet. 


And it’s certainly something I would be willing to do, as long as everybody was naked. I would not want to be the only one up there naked. But if the whole wedding party and everyone attending the wedding, if they were all naturists, I would say, let’s do it.


I mean, listen. I’m not a naturist, I always prefer to have my clothes on in public, but like I said, I’m trained to sort of make the audience happy, and if that’s what they want, and that’s what they’re paying me for, that’s what they’re going to get.”


Related: So You Want to Have a Nudist Wedding…



What’s your dream wedding venue as an officiant? 


“Well, I think the most beautiful wedding I ever attended, I was not officiating, was on the beach in San Francisco, in October. And it was just such a beautiful organic setting, you know, you almost don’t need any kind of decor, you just need chairs. And everybody was barefoot, and wearing I think mostly white, and it was just beautiful.” 


“I’ve heard of weddings where people are on top of a ski slope, and then the bride and groom ski down, ski away together after they’ve been declared husband and wife, and that would be amazing. I love to ski… But I’m pretty much game for anything. Skydiving wedding? I would totally be up for!”



Comedian and licensed NYC wedding officiant Adam Sank leads a same sex wedding ceremony in an outdoor tent, he and the grooms are wearing stylish suits and everyone is smiling and laughing

Adam Sank officiates a humorous and heartfelt outdoor wedding ceremony.

(Photo courtesy of Adam Sank) 



There have been rumblings that the Supreme Court might overturn Obergefell in the future. Does this possibility concern you?


“I’m absolutely concerned, I think there’s such an anti-queer backlash happening in this country right now. I think a lot of, frankly, Republican politicians are using fear and hatred and misunderstanding toward LGBTQ people to raise money and win elections. 


And the number of anti-queer, and specifically anti-trans bills, that have passed state houses just in the past year, I mean, it’s terrifying. 


And it’s all based on fears, and lies, and misunderstanding. I thought we were past this. You know? I’m 52 years old. I felt like the homophobia and ignorance that I grew up with, in terms of the culture around me, I thought we had moved past it, and we were in a more enlightened time, and a more progressive time. 


And it feels like we’re right back where we were in the 1950s now. So I do worry, not just about Obergefell, but about basic civil rights. All basic civil rights for LGBTQ people, and I don’t think there are enough allies speaking out, loudly and forcefully, and pushing back against the really hateful rhetoric that’s coming out of red states and out of the mouths of Republican leaders, even on the national level. 


I mean, Ron DeSantis, to me, is a terrifying person. The prospect of him possibly being in the White House, it’s terrifying to me, it should be terrifying to anyone who cares about basic civil rights. And really, none of the other Republicans are much better.” 


Related: The Threat to Same-Sex Marriage in a Post-Roe World



What kind of advocacy work are you most focused on right now? 


“I feel like I’m always raising money for one thing or another. In the past I’ve raised quite a bit of money for AIDS Walk, I’ve raised money for the community food bank of New Jersey… Aside from it being an amazing, important cause, I host their gala every year. They have an annual fundraising gala called The Blue Jean Ball, and I’ve been the host of it for the past five years. So that’s an important organization for me. 


Most recently, at this moment, I’m raising money for a wonderful camp in western Massachusetts called Summer Stars – which is a camp for disadvantaged kids, where they can come and spend a week of their summer, 100% free, and they learn and perform the arts. Music, dance, theater, writing, spoken word… It's just an incredible program. 


A very close friend of the family who just passed this past week, a woman named Lee Dunne, this was a camp that she was very involved with, and passionate about, and so, when she passed, I felt like in her memory, and to honor her, I wanted to raise some money…



I actually went with my parents one summer, and I performed standup for the kids… (laughing) Which did not go over so well because I’m not a children’s comedian and it was very hard for me to be squeaky clean… But then I got to lead a little standup comedy class for them, which was really fun, and it was amazing to see, you know, 12 and 13 and 14 year olds doing standup comedy for the first time.”


“Beyond that, I’m always hosting political stuff, trying to get people to wake up and see that our institutions are under attack, and our democracy’s under attack, and we really have to all get involved – registered to vote if we’re not already registered, show up for every election, even local elections. 


I’m very politically active in that sense, I want everyone I know to raise their voice and cast their vote whenever possible. Because I just think we’re in a really scary place right now as a country.” 


Connect with Adam Sank: 


InstagramThreads • FacebookTikTok • YouTube • 




Donate to Summer Stars

Camp for the Performing Arts


Adam's fundraiser for Camp Summer Stars runs through September 18th, 2023. Make a donation to this incredible nonprofit by clicking the link below: 




You can also make a donation directly to the Summer Stars Foundation at any time and learn more about their program by visiting 



Children perform onstage at Summer Stars Camp for the Performing Arts, photo via Facebook

Photo: Summer Stars on Facebook



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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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