Jan McInnis – The Work Lady®

Preparing the Comedian

Before any comedy show or humor keynote,

I always have a conference call with the client. It helps me learn about the group and the event and it gives the client some level of comfort that I’m going to prepare an appropriate comedy show for their event.

Here’s some things you can do to prepare the comedian

so that they are a huge hit:

Tell them about the latest happenings at your company.

You don’t have to try to direct them towards the jokes. . .they’ll find the humor if it resonates with them. Just tell them what’s going on that they can joke with. Does the copier always break down? are they installing new computer system? Is there construction going on? If there’s some big thing going on that’s on everyone’s mind, then the comedian can sometimes have fun with that. I once had a group who forbid me to do my joke about “stealing the copier.” I couldn’t understand why. . . until they finally told me that a bunch of people just got laid off and some of them stole company supplies. While I know my joke would have rocked, I realize that it would have been wayyyy tooo sensitive for upper management. . . you know, the ones writing the check.

Let ‘em know whose in the audience and what do they do at the company.

I’ve spoken at healthcare events and found out there’s a lot of lawyers in the group – the comedian can’t just go by the group’s name, we need to know who is there because people in different jobs have different experiences. And as such, some things are just funnier than others. This also means let the comedian know if there are spouses attending. Spouses might not find jokes get the “inside” company jokes.

What are their biggest headaches and challenges these people face –

not just the copier breaking, but for example do they work in customer service and they always get the same 3 complaints. Or is there a different “challenge” facing their particular job.

Who is the competition?

I recently performed a comedy show for Bridgestone tires. I opened with “I wanted to wish you all a Good Year, but I don’t think that’s appropriate.” Knowing who the competitor is doesn’t necessarily mean the comedian will make fun of them.. . .unless you give permission. But it might spark a nice joke like that one.

Click here to go to part 2 of the article “Preparing the Comedian”

Preparing the Comedian – part 2