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Breaking Up The Serious Business

by Jack Levi aka Elliot Goblet

It is an absolute fact that everyone loves to laugh, and laughs are particularly needed when there’s something serious going on. With my vast experience of working at meetings, conferences, product launches or awards events etc, I hear this all the time. Having a laugh is like internal jogging…and that can’t be a bad thing.

Sometimes providers of necessary laughs are used at events but without success. In fact the audience feels cheated by having someone who promised to give comedy relief but failed to deliver.

Unlike the environment of a comedy club where people are there to laugh at a comedian, someone delivering humour at a corporate/business event has to fit into the event. As Barry McLeod from CMA Events says about conferences “Corporate comedy incorporates comedy into a program (unless it is a comedy set), where delegates are primarily there to be informed. They have sacrificed time and spent money to be there, travelled a distance, been up early/had a big night, and so it has got to be relevant. It must fit into “why am I here?”. The best piece of scripted comedy no matter how funny, can bomb if it is not in context or not targeted to the audience.” Well said Barry.

At more social events like lunches/dinners, cocktail parties and Christmas events, humour is also welcomed as long as it is relevant & tasteful. As always the talent needs to be well positioned in the room and there should be no food service to compete with the funny stuff.

A vital decision is whether to use the provider of laughs for a spot or as the master of ceremonies (MC). A great MC will lift the whole event and knows how much humour to inject at any time. And such an MC is particularly popular when there are mainly serious speakers who themselves don’t include some humour in their talks. It’s not just more enjoyable for the audience to have laughs but also they will have better retention of messages as they are saved from mental fatigue.

A great MC will also be adept at spontaneous humour (ad libbing) and this is essential to ensure impact and respect through the event. A great MC will know how to react when something goes wrong. For example if the sound drops out for a short while I will keep the audience entertained with my mime yodelling & mime juggling.

There are many choices of good corporate entertainers or MC’s and with a range of fees to match most budgets. Get hiring in 2017.