Have you heard this one?
How do you tell the difference between an introverted accountant and an extroverted accountant?
The extrovert looks at your shoes.
That joke has maybe been told to me about 457,682 times after gigs with accountants.
Few things strike fear in the heart of a performer like hearing,
“We need you to come perform and make us laugh during lunch, because we have had a tough year and are a group of accountants.”
Yay. Sounds like fun! I’ll just go over here and jump in a pool of piranhas!
While we’re at it, want to throw a few calculators at me while I’m on stage?
Years ago I actually turned down accountant events, they had just been too demoralizing, regardless of the check always clearing.
I also turned down any event suggesting I perform at lunch, since half the room has their back turned to you, and they have forks in their hands with food in their mouths.
People would choke from laughing.
Ambulances were summoned and it was my fault.
Those settings make for the direst of comedy engagement situations.
Maybe only second to a room full of….Accountants!
But over the past decade I have had accountant events that went remarkably well.
Want to know my secret?
I tell them how crappy it is to perform for them.
I let them know it’s my worst nightmare and completely make fun of the stereotype that is performing for accountants.
That I know the laughter which can never escape their bodies makes me feel like I’m having a lonely, expensive party on stage alone, all by myself.
Somehow this tactic has worked wonders.
Telling it like it is, and they KNOW HOW THEY ARE, seems to be the trick.
The other day it was 450 accountants, jet-lagged, dark room, lunch started late, and then – Please welcome, Jackson Hewitt! (actually, that would have been rad if this were the time they messed up my name like that, but alas, it will only happen when it can’t help)
Bring it on folks.
450 accountants gave me the weakest, most obligatory, lifeless clap-clop-clip I can recall.
I told them, “Wow! That was encouraging. Thanks for the pathetic applause…”
We were off to the races.
I pulled out my red matador flag, stomped my foot, poised and ready, waving them on to come get me with their deadliest accountant silence.
For some reason they were ready to go along on a journey with me after only a few minutes of my prodding.
Of course, my performance was pretty awesome because, well let’s be honest, I have had so many years to fail on stages around the world that my ego has forced me to never quit improving, even to the point of making a room full of normally silent accountants launch into scream laughs and a standing ovation.
I tell them that if I did my taxes I would go to jail, so I applaud at the feet of my accountant who does them for me, as I beg him to try and find something else to write off.
I tell them we have the chance to applaud for those who can do what we can’t, and enjoy the performance everyone has to offer, whatever their awesome Signature Move might be.
I share how our Promise is truly our gift to share with the world, and what joy it brings me to share mine with them, and have them appreciate it.
And then I sing how it feels performing for people like them, with my parody of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence”, to the biggest laughs of the event.
Enjoy this video recorded a few years back of this routine –
Can accountants laugh? Yes. But it’s rare. Rare like an on time flight, such as where I’m typing this now, on another trip to another state for another group I will try to make laugh when I get there.
But despite the suffering of another late flight, and regardless of the audience, every one of us has an audience, and we just need to know which button to push to help them find a level of emotion they probably didn’t realize they had, such as when accountants laugh.
~ Jason Hewlett
Husband, Father, Writer, Mentor, Hiker
- Speaker Hall of Fame * Award-Winning Entertainer * Promise Legacy Project Coach
- World’s Only Keynote Speaker utilizing entertainment, musical impressions, and comedy to Create Legendary Leadership through the Power of Commitment
- Author of “The Promise To The One”