Injecting humor into a large association event can be tricky. Executive humor coach Marshall Chiles—author of “Your Presentation is a Joke,” owner of several comedy clubs and founder of Humor Wins, a comedy group for hire—may have found the winning formula. In May, he spoke at ScaleUp Summit in collaboration with Fortune magazine on the importance of laughter in the business world. Here, he shares a few ways Humor Wins works
Your company plans comedy roasts and comedy groups. What’s the difference?
A comedy group is like an improv troupe, while our roasts are written in advance. We give the roastees a questionnaire that helps us get to know that person to write jokes about them. Half my writers write for “Comedy Central Roast.” I have hosted some award-style shows, been brought in to do 30 minutes of stand-up to start
an event off on a high note with lots of laughs. Other times, the roast is the main event put on after drinks
What keeps it from being awkward?
Our jokes are business-professional clean and nonmalicious with minimal to no cursing. Our clients approve the jokes ahead of time so they know we are not crossing the line. We have a 99.5 percent preapproval rating because we know how to make it funny without going too far. When we first engage with a client, we get a sense of their culture so we know where to not go with a joke.
Why does humor “win,” exactly?
The North American Journal of Psychology says when you make someone smile or laugh, it raises your likability.