Mr Vice

I’ve recently joined air cadets and have found out that I have a formal dinner coming up.
Apparently as I’m the most junior in the squadron I’m meant to be ‘Mr Vice’ and give some sort of entertainment speech or something. :ohmy:
Has anyone else done this, or even better, have any clue what I could do?
PLEASE HELP ME!!! :worthy:

Don’t panic. I did it at wing dinner very recently. The trick is to remember this.

You are all that stands between everyone sat down and the bar/disco/toilet. They will be thirsty and needing the loo so don’t take too long with them. Make it funny, make it brief.

At my wing dinner I started with the joke. “the way I see it I have two jobs. First I ensure that the bigwigs can get the drinks in without having to queue with the rest of us plebs. Second, by putting me on last the speakers can keep you sat here as long as they like but by the end it’s MY fault.”

(that was after the wing commander gave a 90 minute speech after 25 minutes from the Air Commodore.)

Play a game perhaps? Put on some entertainment, I put the wing warrant officer on trial for humiliating useless junior officers… I organised for several other junior officers to falsify evidence and we had a quick kangaroo court. Another Mr Vice played ‘heads or tails.’ The time is yours, but just don’t take too much of theirs.

You have other duties as well. Such as ensuring everyone finds their seat before the top table enter. And of course calling the Loyal Toast.

At some point the PMC or CMC will stand up and say “Mr Vice, The Queen.” You them stand up and say “The Queen” holding up your glass as you do so. Everyone else says “The Queen” and we all drink.

That’s it. Any questions?

Just as Baldrick says, plus the way I’ve seen it, almost at the end of the dinner, the PMC (that’s the President of the Mess Committee) will stand up, and normally say “Ladies and Gentlemen”. Everyone then stands, including you, and the PMC escorts the Very Important Persons that were seated at the Top Table. As they walk away with the VIPs, the PMC will normally say “Mr Vice”, and you take that as a signal to walk around to the now-empty Top Table and stand in the middle (usually behind the senior seat). You then say “Ladies and Gentlemen, please be seated”, and then sit down yourself.

It’s then courtesy to stand up whilst you speak to them (that is, avoid sitting down when addressing them), and just entertain the rest of the guests that are left sitting in the dining room for about five minutes or so (if you do really well, make it a little bit longer, but if you’re over-running the PMC will stick their head back in the door and whistle/shout/throw a bread-stick to tell you it’s time-up).

Don’t be scared, or embarrassed or shy. Just be a projected confident version of yourself. If you don’t want to sing (which is easier than you might think), have some crib-cards written in your pocket, with some corny jokes. Make it classic, predictable, and clean, but it doesn’t need to be professional. Doing it wrong but getting it almost right is an art in itself. It’s a fun tradition which goes back centuries. I’ve seen people acting as Mr Vice play the guitar, the harmonica, do a magic trick or two, do a balancing act (careful!!) Having it a bit interactive is best, so that people are happy and having a bit of fun. Remember though that you’re not raising a rabble, you’re acting as Vice President of the Mess Committee (aka “Mr Vice”, so named irrespective of if you’re a boy or a girl). And do not panic!!


Being Mr Vice is great fun, don’t worry about it at all; embrace the challenge!

Putting on a short game is a good idea, if you have really long tables you can split the party into two teams and get a nominated person to crawl underneath all the way down the table without touching the floor (the trick is everyone else sits on the floor and the person crawls over the legs)!

Or get them to spin round with their forehead on a broom stick and make them run to the other side of the room and back, maybe hopping over a few obstacles along the way. Very simple but always hilarious.

Good luck, Mr Vice!

A couple of small points ladies and gentlemen, and some may say a bit pedantic, but they do GMG.

Firstly, the individual ‘running’ the dinner should only be referred to as the PMC if he/she actually is the President of that Mess’ Committee. If they are not, and I would suggest few, if any, of our people will be, they should by rights be referred to as the ‘Presiding Officer’. Confusion can happen - I went to an ACO Region Dinner on an RAF stn once and the ‘real’ PMC was invited (and attended) out of courtessy. He pointed out (in a very nice way) that as it was his Mess, he was PMC and our chap was Presiding.

Secondly, I was always told that Mr Vice should not pick up his glass to invite the loyal toast. This is apparently because if you have a band, it is after Mr Vice’s statement of ‘The Queen’ that they would strike up the National Anthem, to whch we should stand to attention and Mr Vice would look a prat doing so with his glass ‘at the carry’. Clearly if there is no band, it doesn’t really matter.

Other than that, enjoy being M Vice. I’ve never actually done it myself, but I’ve seen some good ones and some not so good ones - it’s really difficult to be bad at it - and the good ones do as has been suggested, entertain the remaning diners but very briefly!

Cdt Philpott, have you been Mr Vice yet? Be sure to tell us how it went!!

[quote=“cygnus maximus” post=19314]
Firstly, the individual ‘running’ the dinner should only be referred to as the PMC if he/she actually is the President of that Mess’ Committee. If they are not, and I would suggest few, if any, of our people will be, they should by rights be referred to as the ‘Presiding Officer’.[/quote]

Yes, but in a non-regular Air Force setting (albeit quite some time ago) I’ve also seen the abbreviation PMC being taken as meaning ‘Presiding Master of Ceremonies’, an extension of what you’re indicating here, rather than the mainstream/official definition of “President of the Mess Committee”. I’ve also seen the letters ‘MC’ standing for ‘Messing Convenor’, way back in the dim+distant…this was I think specifically in the context of a mess function being held in another unit’s mess, cuckoos for dinner, so to speak.

(ps Abbreviations have such a frustrating tendency to obtain multiple meanings, often with subtle cross-overs, don’t you think?..)

[quote=“wilf_san” post=19286] I’ve seen people acting as Mr Vice play the guitar, the harmonica…

So could I play the piano or something or would that be a bit much?
Thanks a bunch.

Thanks a lot. :slight_smile:
It’s on Friday so wish me luck!

Piano definitely too much. A few chords on a small concealed guitar, maybe. Have seen that done, for sure. But keep it simple, short and fun.

And lots of luck! You’ll do fine


As always Wilf, you are indeed the Oracle and are of course absolutely correct, thank you. However, at most of the non-Regular (ie ACO) dinners I have attended, the term ‘President of the Mess Committee’ has been used in full on the menu cards and seating plans, hence my ‘irritation’. I have to say that I’ve been to some RAF functions where they’ve got it wrong too!

Cdt Philpott, just have fun and remember that nobody should criticise whatever you do, your cadet friends will just be glad they weren’t ‘volunteered’!

Cygnus, thanks for the oracle compliment :blink: , but, to be honest, I’ve just got high non-regular ‘airframe hours’ in a wide variety of service settings. Every day is still a school-day…



In the end he did play the piano, definitely not too much! Everyone present was impressed, well done!

Well done Philpott!!

Amazing that you managed to smuggle in a keyboard! Good show