Better Yet 8-1-2004

Finessing the Funny

Adam ChristingFew boardroom breaks can be more rejuvenating than comic relief done right. And few can make for more awkward discomfort than a stand-up who bombs or worse, offends. As Adam Christing (right), president of La Mirada, Calif.-based Clean Comedians, can attest, pulling off the comedy thing demands a bit more savvy than merely plunking a comic in front of a roomful of restless attendees. Some crucial comedic caveats:

Come closer. Never separate performer and audience with an oversize dance floor; distance is the number-one killer of good stand-up.

Keep it clean. Make sure to screen the performer’s material. What goes over in a typical club can ruffle quite a few corporate feathers. This means no obscenities, no racial comedy and no gender jokes.

Forks down, please. Dinner is no time for stand-up. Only put a comic onstage once attendees are well-fed and undistracted.

Work the inside jokes. Slipping the stand-up a company buzzword or some (tame) dish on the CEO will assure bigger and more meaningful laughs.