Comic relief 9-1-2001

Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts September 2001 Current Issue
September 2001
Short Cuts:
Comic relief


The economy is in the doldrums, companies have slashed their meeting budgets and attendees are looking awfully stressed. A little comic relief might be just what the doctor ordered. Among the newest entrants to the business comedy circuit are The Water Coolers (, a five-person New York City-based comedy troupe that launched its repertoire in July. The brainchild of Sally Allen, a former meeting planner, and her actor husband, Tom, the 60-minute song-and-dance act uses a little soft shoe, a little razzle-dazzle and a big dose of Broadway talent to satirize the underpinnings of corporate life.

“It lets people laugh at what is going on around them, without crossing the line and being offensive” says Sally Allen. Skits and songs spoof the rampant paranoia of office life, in which employees obsess about being “in” or “out” with management, form bonds with their Palm Pilots and see their social lives relegated to online chat rooms.

Offering another form of side-splitting presentation is the New York area-based stand-up comedian and impressionist Jim Flaherty (516-546-3554), who counts Xerox, Kraft Foods and American Express among his clients. A former engineer turned funny man, Flaherty spoofs television’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, customizing his act with questions relating to the company’s products, history and industry. “Executives love hamming it up in the hot seat, and employees love watching them take the heat,” says Flaherty.

• C.A.S.

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