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by Allen J. Sheinman | July 01, 2010

The economic collapse of 2008 really put a damper on having any kind of fun at meetings," says Tim O'Shea. "The last two years have been grim, but attendees are ready to laugh again." O'Shea should know: He and his wife, Kris, are professional speakers with a decidedly humorous bent. Their act, The O'Shea Report, is a fresh look at the funny side of change, delivered Saturday Night Live-style to groups such as the American Payroll Association and Nordstrom. As Kris O'Shea notes, "Today it's not enough to multitask -- you have to hypertask, where you work at breakneck speed to look busy and accomplish nothing."

Satirist Chris Bliss offers his own trenchant take on today's wired world, via pithy observations such as, "Technology can solve almost every problem it creates." Bliss speaks at events for groups such as Microsoft and the Million Dollar Round Table Foundation, often wowing the crowd with a thrilling juggling finale (a stellar example can be found at bureaufriendly.com/6.php). "Thanks to the AIG effect, planners couldn't even propose having a comedy speaker for a while," he says. "But one thing about good comedians is that the essence of what we do is communicate, so we can carry messages for clients in ways others can't. We're more user-friendly than, say, the CEO."

For his part, humorist Dale Irvin offers a program called "Laughter Doesn't Hurt," during which he recites a job history that includes having sold insurance for six and a half months, "until I completely ran out of relatives." Irwin notes that many of his clients are in the financial-services sector and tend to be politically conservative, "so all I have to do is say ‘Nancy Pelosi' to get a reaction." Indeed, he says that "humor helps keep attendees awake, alert and more likely to listen to the nuts-and-bolts presenters."

All three of the above acts (and many others) can be contracted through Eagles Talent Connection Inc..