(Close Window)
Topic: What do Corporate audiences find funny?
Message: Posted by: wizardofsorts (Feb 19, 2007 09:54PM)
I've never worked in an office, I've never worked for a corporation, I've actually never had a job besides show business since college, I'm only 28, so I know very little about the corporate market but I think that's where its at. So, what do corporate audiences find funny?

Edd
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Feb 19, 2007 11:46PM)
They're just people.
They find humorous stuff funny.

I've done a lot of corporate shows and from these experiences I found that they enjoy especially humorous stuff, especially funny.
Message: Posted by: Comedy Writer (Feb 20, 2007 12:18PM)
And comedy. They find comedy material funny.
Message: Posted by: Rupert Bair (Feb 20, 2007 12:32PM)
We can agree they are tougher, though?

M:C
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Feb 20, 2007 01:19PM)
No, we can't.

People are people.
Message: Posted by: gadfly3d (Feb 20, 2007 02:40PM)
I find corporate audiences to be the easiest to work, but I have done a lot of them over many years. Despite what some people say, they like audience participation and some good natured poking fun.

Gil Scott
Message: Posted by: Mediocre the Great (Feb 20, 2007 04:25PM)
I think Corporate clients can be harder because they have high, professional expecations and usually pay accordingly compared to the private parties I've done. Yes, people are people, but corporate work is not for the beginner.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Feb 21, 2007 01:35AM)
The only thing that is for the beginner are things like cub scout meetings, nursing homes, birthday parties for friends, and things like that where you have real people and you can get some gigs under your belt.

I think it's already a given that a corporate event is not for a beginner.
Message: Posted by: God-glorified (Feb 21, 2007 04:17PM)
Whats better (safer or not, just better): Totally clean or a little edgy?
(This is a personal question, I haven't worked for corporations yet)
Message: Posted by: derrick (Feb 21, 2007 11:37PM)
Just ask the orginizer who hired you for the event to tell you how she would like to rate the show: G, PG, PG13, R. It will give you a good idea about the type of matearial they want to see - kid show to comedy club material.
Message: Posted by: Tony Brent (Feb 22, 2007 01:46AM)
Mike Meyers said in his interview on Inside the Actors Studio on A&E that "funny is simply funny". It's true. Corp. audiences find the same things to be funny as anyone else. If anything, they are starved for entertainment due to the nature of their businesses. I've found them to be easier to entertain than most other groups.

Tony Brent
Outta Control Magic Show
Orlando
Message: Posted by: Flec (Feb 22, 2007 05:49AM)
[quote]
On 2007-02-20 14:19, Dannydoyle wrote:
No we can't.
People are people.
[/quote]
True, but the setting of your performance does make a difference. I perform for people at weddings when they've had a few to drink, and in the party spirit, and they're fun people to be with. Then the same people book you for their product launch, and now they've got to behave because they're in front of their boss and CEO.

Think about what setting you're in, and there will be different boundaries. Will it be at a trade show, where you may use comedy to your advantage to stop the crowds? Or at an awards ceremony where everyone is on their best behavior? Or in a boardroom where people are still at work?

On the flip side of it, some people look at it in the way that the 'corporate' audience is at work a lot. So the chance to witness magic/comedy/whatever is a get away from the day-to-day routine.
Message: Posted by: Scott O. (Feb 22, 2007 10:18AM)
[quote]On the flip side of it, some people look at it in the way that the 'corporate' audience are at work a lot. So the chance to witness magic/comedy/whatever is a get away from the day to day routine.[/quote]

I worked one Christmas party this year where the President got up after dinner to talk for "a few minutes." After 45 minutes of droning on about the financial state of the the company -- complete with PowerPoint slides, everyone had been sitting for more than an hour and a half. Then I was introduced. Wow, these folks needed to have some fun. The whole party atmosphere had turned into a business meeting.

That was a tough crowd.
Message: Posted by: wizardofsorts (Feb 22, 2007 02:58PM)
I guess what I'm looking for our comedy strategies to use to springboard my work. Things such as re-incorporation/recall, unexpected events, comedy in threes, etc. Do you know what I mean? Are there some dos and don'ts of corporate comedy?

Edd
Message: Posted by: Doug Arden (Feb 22, 2007 08:09PM)
Edd:

Pretty much all I do is adult corporate shows and what seems to work very well for me, among other things, is the "magician in trouble" routines. They seem to find it very entertaining when I "lead them down the garden path and turn the hose on them" so to speak. A lot of people comment favorably about this after my shows.

Doug
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Feb 23, 2007 01:54PM)
I still say people are people.

Why is that tough? What makes people laugh makes them laugh. People by their very nature by and large want to have fun.

If your not getting laughs from a given audience, it is not the audiences fault.
Message: Posted by: wizardofsorts (Feb 24, 2007 11:20PM)
I've never blamed my audience. I'm not working in this market much yet. I'm working on material. So, maybe I should just ask, what do people (above the age of 18) find funny?

Edd
Message: Posted by: nathanallen (Feb 25, 2007 12:22PM)
Just don't take yourself too seriously. Have fun with the group. I agree with previous posters - funny is funny, whether they be execs or chicken-pluckers. People are people. If you're just getting started in this market, I would sell your act as squeaky-clean, then it wouldn't be too far of a jump from what it sounds like you're doing now. Then you can get a few corporates under your belt, get a feel for the venues, audiences, and pacing of the events, without the added stress of trying out an hour's worth of brand-new material. Good luck!
Message: Posted by: harris (Feb 26, 2007 01:45PM)
Corporation work can be divided into several type of events.
Some are sales meetings, some for the entire staff, some for staff and families.

Depending on their needs I adapt the type of effects. The comedy is usually based on my "everyman persona" and foibles of every day life. The sales meetings are more about product introduction, motivation or reinforcement for work well done.

These days I work fairly clean...though my straitjacket routine sometimes brings out double entendres from the volunteer helpers.

Finding the right volunteers is very important in these and other type venues.

Re: Cub Scouts...Blue and Gold’s can sometimes not be a good starting ground.

Saturday Night we had about 300 of them and their wonderful families.

On my reading table this week. “The Actors Way”, by Robert Benedetti.

Harris
Message: Posted by: Autumn Morning Star (Feb 26, 2007 05:12PM)
The best suggestion I can give you is to do your homework. Find out all about the occasion or reason for the gathering, the people, their age, their gender, and essentally the demographics of the group. You want to know if you are performing before, during or after dinner and if there are any other acts on besides you.

An great tool I use to do is to ask the person who hires you: "Tell me what you envision me doing in my presentation." Their reply will also help you sell them the actual show they want. They generally will not discuss an elaborate show if they are not willing to pay for an elaborate show. Before I used this technique, I inadvertantly sold smaller shows on occasion, when the clients would have gone for a more expensive show. You live and learn.

As for my own presentation, I would rather err on the "classy" side than to be a bit "too casual" in my presentation for the corporate arena.
Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (Feb 28, 2007 05:01AM)
Corporate shows- mostly what I do
Doug hit the nail on the head earlier

Comedy is a must but you must have a little bit of polish about your act!

Good audience interaction & fun poking is almost expected

Also mentioned by Morning star-do your homework-sound advice
Message: Posted by: MagiClyde (Feb 28, 2007 10:02PM)
[quote]I worked one Christmas party this year where the President got up after dinner to talk for "a few minutes." After 45 minutes of droning on about the financial state of the the company -- complete with PowerPoint slides, everyone had been sitting for more than an hour and a half.[/quote]

Man! That president sounds like a work-a-holic who doesn't know when to loosen his tie and let a little air enter his brain. He obviously expects his workers to be clones of himself. Powerpoint eh? Definitely working too hard! ;)
Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Mar 1, 2007 07:46AM)
[quote]
On 2007-02-28 23:02, clynim wrote:
[quote]I worked one Christmas party this year where the President got up after dinner to talk for "a few minutes." After 45 minutes of droning on about the financial state of the the company -- complete with PowerPoint slides, everyone had been sitting for more than an hour and a half.[/quote]

Man! That president sounds like a work-a-holic who doesn't know when to loosen his tie and let a little air enter his brain. He obviously expects his workers to be clones of himself. Powerpoint eh? Definitely working too hard! ;)
[/quote]

I DJed for a company once that had the President come up after dinner and before the dance and give a state of the company address. He was sure to note of all the other factory closings and how this particular factory, lost the least amount of money. Well, you can imagine that spirits weren't that high after that!
Message: Posted by: gadfly3d (Mar 2, 2007 10:14AM)
I had a company CEO announce that they were going to have another round of layoffs just before he introduced me.

Gil Scott
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Mar 2, 2007 07:18PM)
... were you paid that night for your work Gil? Or, layed off? lol

Actually, I should not make light of this situation that you (and the audience) experienced. It must have been a very heavy weight to carry throughout your performance... or did it help to motivate you to entertain this group the best you could?

How did you handle it Gil? I am curious.

Jonathan
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (Mar 2, 2007 07:39PM)
That's where you make the joke: "I have a gig set up for next week, you don't!".

That's where the laughs will ensue.... or gunfire. If I were watching that show (From a safe distance) I would find that funny.
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Mar 2, 2007 08:37PM)
[quote]
On 2007-03-02 20:39, Josh Riel wrote:
That's where you make the joke: "I have a gig set up for next week, you don't!".

That's where the laughs will ensue.... or gunfire. If I were watching that show (From a safe distance) I would find that funny.
[/quote]
________________________________________________

Josh,

What you are suggesting above, is what corporate audiences would "not" find funny(IMHO) .

"Really" take a few seconds and imagine that it was you that had just found out that you (or your best friend/colleague) were about to be without a job, unexpectedly... without a way to assure that you would be able to stay out of debt (or get out of debt) and be able to feed yourself and your family with certainy.

I know, perhaps I am amking this all too seriously, but keep in mind that in my "day job" I work as an Employment Counsellor (no kidding!), providing support to those people that are "really" out of work.

Being told that you "amy" soon be out of a job, is "not", in my opinion, a situation that lends itself to humor. Sure, when people are in sudden shock, they "may" laugh (on the outside) at "anything", even if it poinitedly makes light of their own serious situation. But when the shock wears off, that evening or the next day, they will not (I believe) have fond memories of either the show or the performer.

Just my 4 cents (and food for thought).

Best regards.

Jonathan
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (Mar 2, 2007 11:46PM)
You don't understand. [i][b]I[/b][/i] would find it funny. That is really all I care about.
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Mar 3, 2007 08:22AM)
Ok Josh... so you weren't "really" trying to help Edd with his initial question/concern... "What do corporate audiences find funny?"

Your comment was aimed more to humor yourself and (possibly) humor other Café readers of this post.

Is that right?

Jonathan
Message: Posted by: truthteller (Mar 3, 2007 12:52PM)
To answer his questions, corporate audiences are different than family audiences, college audiences, and retirement home audiences. Not neccessarily harder, not neccessarily easier, but different. It also varies from one corporate culture to another. The environment at a software development firm will be different from a high end investment banking institution and that will be different from an engineering firm.

Yes, people ARE people. But an audience is different than the components it is formed by. While each of those people may laugh at one thing in their living room, while in front of their bosses, in their suits, at a $500 a plate meal - they may NOT laugh.

So, what do you do? The answer is simple.

You LISTEN.

You listen to the crowd. You listen to the coversations you have during the cocktail hour. You listen to what the person who books you says in your opening discussion.

I have to go now, but if the original poster is interested I will come back and share a story about a major event I was working where the room was DEAD cold and a strategy I used to warm it up.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Mar 3, 2007 02:09PM)
What I guess I meant is summed up above. Notwithstanding the arguement with Josh.

YOU LISTEN TO YOUR AUDIENCE.

That really is the key. no audience has a spacific make up and you do this spacific thing and BAM they are laughing. It is true that there are formulas, and all that, but if you don't listen to them you are lost from the beginning.

It is a process. Nobody can say what will or won't work. I actually watched a variation of Josh's horrid example, and believe it or not it WORKED. It released tension and it helped the show.

BUT is it something that you would do universally? No. It worked because the performer was PAYING ATTENTION AND LISTENING. Truthteller is so rigth. LISTEN!
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (Mar 3, 2007 03:48PM)
It was a quip, that turned into a slope.
I never intended to say such a thing myself (I have too much compassion).

However, I imagined that the question was answered. Now it seems to be getting re answered, but with longer posts. I regret that I might have caused this.
Message: Posted by: markis (Mar 3, 2007 04:02PM)
I have worked in a corporate envrinment for almost 20 years now and from "my" experience most of them are well educated with a bachelors or masters degrees. I guess I would avoid the stale one-liners or try and out wit them with a smart ass type of approach. The corp world can be pretty dull and an act like a Charlie Fry or Cole and company would be a big hit.
Message: Posted by: markis (Mar 3, 2007 04:03PM)
I have worked in a corporate envrinment for almost 20 years now and from "my" experience most of them are well educated with a bachelors or masters degrees. I guess I would avoid the stale one-liners or try and out wit them with a smart ass type of approach. The corp world can be pretty dull and an act like a Charlie Fry or Cole and company would be a big hit.
Message: Posted by: truthteller (Mar 3, 2007 04:04PM)
Listening is important. Another thing to do is research. When the show is booked, talk to the booker about the corporate climate. Now, you have to take everything with a grain of salt, but it is a good starting point.

Also, what type of event is it? Is it a reward retreat? Is it the end of an educational session? Is it a board meeting? Is it an awards banquet?

Knowing this will help set the tone. At the end of 8 grueling hours studying the details of a new product, people are tired. If you come in too high energy, it may push them away. But if it is a reward retreat and they have been golfing and drinking all day, then you may expect a rowdy group where a lot of the comedy will come out of them.

I worked a large educational session for an international banking firm. The CEO in charge of the meeting told me point blank - "these people don't like to listen. Our speakers have a hard time keeping them focused. Make your presentation as long as you feel is right." Though I had been booked for 45, he told me that "if we get a good 20 minutes, we are thrilled."

So, going into the presentation, I knew what I was up against. I knew who the speakers were during the week, and they were top notch. But I made some choices, rearranged some material, wrote a different intro and gave a 45 minute presentation that resulted in the CEO giving me a hug AND the crowd gathering around to talk about the show at greater length.

I do not offer this to brag, but merely to point out that forewarned is forearmed. If I did not know this, I would have surely failed. I had an advantage.

And while we are on the subject of succesful corporate presentations, may I point out a common mistake made by magicians: They do not carry themselves as if they are worthy of respect - as an intelligent adult who has something to offer other intelligent adults.

Adults are not children and should never be treated as such. Too many times I see magicians talking to adults as they would a group of children. Loud clothes, lines for the sake of lines, banter that borders on insulting, gags that are clearly more funny to the performer than the audience...a lot of people take this approach, and a lot of people get booked - once.

When I look at the most succesful corporate magicians, I see people who approach their presentations and their audience in the same manner as a $30,000 keynote speaker would. They are confident, they dress well, the speak intelligently, they are humourous without trying too hard, and they offer messages/material that are unique (or at least seems that way). They are in control. They are not apologizing. They receive respect because the act as if they should be treated with respect - without being either demanding or arrogant.

They know what they need to be succesful and they ask for it. If it is not there, they take efforts to get it there. They know how much time they will do, they have done the material thousands of times, and they know what changes to make if the audience seems to be less or more receptive than expected.

But always remember who you are performing for (adults in a business environment) and what your goals are.

The art of doing magic is not doing your material well. It is getting your audience to the point where they are ready to receive the material that you do well.

And the primary skill required for navigating that tranformation is (as Danny said) listening.
Message: Posted by: Dan Monroe (Mar 4, 2007 11:12AM)
I think most people that work in an office all day upholding certain high standards like to really cut loose and let there hair down at say Christmas partys and such. I use pretty much the same routines as I would for any other gig but come up with ways to make it play bigger as you are all most always on a larger stage.
Message: Posted by: Dan Paulus (Mar 10, 2007 01:51PM)
Quote: So, what do corporate audiences find funny?
Edd

Answer: Dan Paulus :bg:
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Mar 10, 2007 04:08PM)
Nice comercial, but nobody who wil pay you is watching here.
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Mar 10, 2007 04:52PM)
Dan... I believe what you actually meant to pose as the question was...

"So, what do corporate audiences find funny?... Edd! "

Is that right Dan? :bat:
Message: Posted by: wizardofsorts (Mar 10, 2007 06:03PM)
Guys there is some great info here that I will be rereading. So part of what I picked up is: corporate magicians make more not because of what they do on stage but because of what they've done before getting to stage, the home work.

Now if there were only a video camera I chould practice listening in front of...

Edd
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Mar 10, 2007 06:29PM)
Some very valuable postings...

Listening to your audience and volunteers "during" your performance is also a great way to bring your entertainment abilities and audience impact to a higher level, which will reuslt in higher paid gigs (ie. the more effective and expereinced an entertainer is, the more value he/she brings to his audience/client --both real and perceived).

Jonathan
Message: Posted by: Dan Paulus (Mar 11, 2007 01:11AM)
Jlevey,

Of..course that's what I meant.
Please, excuse the typo... :sure..:
Edd! Funny man!

Seriously though, Edd, dress up to corporate standard or beyond and have confidence that you belong there. If they could do your job they wouldn't hire you!
I also send out a questionnaire to corporate clients that fills me in on their business, the people attending, any special guests or vips, etc. Then I tweak the act or the jokes accordingly.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Mar 11, 2007 01:27AM)
I don't give a rats patootie what audience you are in front of, if you don't listen to them, you are soon not going to be in front of them.
Message: Posted by: adramindmagic (Mar 11, 2007 08:13AM)
The best jokes I have EVER used came from the audience. I now use them in my shows regularly.
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Mar 11, 2007 09:05AM)
[quote]
On 2007-03-11 09:13, adramindmagic wrote:
The best jokes I have EVER used came from the audience. I now use them in my shows regularly.
[/quote]
____________________________________________________

...fine --but be sure to pay your audiences handsomely in royaltie!
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Mar 11, 2007 07:38PM)
..."royalies", I meant to say...

"...fine --but be sure to pay your audiences handsomely in royalties!"
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Mar 11, 2007 10:37PM)
My apologies for the many typos in my previous posts... wish I could make them disappear with a "poof!"

...However, I guess I will just have to "proof" instead of "poof".