A guest post from corporate comedy speaker Judy Carter
Last night, as I watched the 2011 Academy Awards hosted by James Franco and Anne Hathaway, it became clear that actors can’t do what comics do best: be funny. The show was a lackluster, boring bomb!
Last week I sat through a similar event: a corporate awards ceremony.
A friend invited me to attend because she had become one of the top sales people at her company, and was getting acknowledged along with 40 other co-workers. The awards banquet was as interesting as watching paint dry, with ultra-long acceptance speeches that made me want to poke my eyes out with a pencil. The emcee, Bob from accounting, added to the boredom by telling stories about his cat. It was one of those, “You had to be there” stories.
One hour later, when my friend finally got her award, everyone in the audience was heavily engaged in watching YouTube videos on their iPhones.
So — what can we learn from all this?
Awards ceremonies need a host or hostess who can be funny.
During last night’s Oscars, it was pathetic that the funniest presenter was Bob Hope – and he’s been dead for eight years.
Most successful past Oscar shows have used comics as hosts. They have the chops to connect with an audience, react to the unexpected, keep the show moving, and be funny.
Last night, just think what Jon Stewart could have done with the Kirk Douglas “going on forever” fiasco. Or, imagine turning Wanda Sykes loose with that self-serving ABC corporate announcement. But instead, when they put James Franco in drag for an open mike quality Charlie Sheen joke, all we got was a long setup – with no payoff. Could-have-been comedy nuggets were left untouched, leaving TV viewers to envision their own barbs.
And — don’t get me started on the actors who won and had not prepared an acceptance speech:
“I’m speechless, what a shock!”
They had three months to prepare for this moment, and that’s what we get?! My 12-year-old cousin’s Bar Mitzvah speech had more zingers — and he’s autistic.
If you are nominated for an award where you might be speaking to millions of people all over the world, or if you are accepting an award from your company, what you say could leave a permanent impression on important people who have a say in your future.
Be smart. Hire a funny friend to write you a memorable line that will be quoted for years. And, while you’re at it, why not let Bob the accountant do what he does best: crunch numbers and set aside a budget to hire a pro for the next event.
Judy Carter is one of America’s top motivational humorists. She is the author of “The Comedy Bible” (Simon & Schuster) and has appeared on over 100 television shows as well as thousands of corporate events. Judy’s expertise in bringing humor to corporations has created a nationwide demand for her as a corporate speaker as well as generated feature articles in the Wall Street Journal, LA Times, New York Times and Success Magazine to name a few. She has also been featured on many National TV shows such as CNN, ABC World News and Oprah, as well as being a regular contributor to National Public Radio.