This week I ventured to Jacksonville, FL where i provided some corporate entertainment to the good people of One Call, a workers comp business. I was hired to be their corporate emcee for their national sales meeting. It was a great experience and the people were lovely and very open to the improvisation that I brought their way! As always, I learned a lot. As always, being a corporate host comes with lots of little pitfalls!!
I was asked to provide an energetic opening number and several interstitial pieces as well. I planned on using improv for the interstitials and had a great time making up songs about the audience on the spot, as well as simply heading out into the audience with a microphone and chatting with the One Callers! For the opening, I chose to re-lyric the opening number to “Hamilton” using information I had leared about the organization. Here’s a sample of those lyrics:
We can outpace the market, we got a
Flame and we’re gonna spark it,
Takin’ the oath to keep the growth and build with
Better capabilities, products and technologies
Excellence abounds, didja hear that sound?
Well that’s your margin comin’ ’round!
If you know Hamilton at all, then you know that there tend to be a lot of words with intricate rhyme. So as tricky as the writing would be, the performing would be even trickier because one little slip up and I was gonna be in trouble. I did know, however, that the lyrics would be in a confidence monitor in front of me and so I did not choose to memorize them as much as to be very familiar with the lyrics. This was my mistake. When we ran it in rehearsal, the man on the prompter, who was also running 348534983745 other things, was not quite able to keep up and kept ending up on the wrong slide. I was hoping he would nail it for the actual run but, alas, he did not and so during the actual performance, the wrong words were on my prompter. This was where the skills of improvisation became quite valuable. I was able to improvise new lyrics on the spot because I was very familiar with the content. I was told no one knew that there had been a mistake at all. I will go ahead and choose to believe that!
WHAT DID I LEARN!?!
What did I learn from this madness? For one, when acting as a corporate emcee, make sure you are very comfortable with the content in case you have to create on the fly! Second, even with a monitor, if the content is complex…MEMORIZE!! Turns out that even an ‘experienced’ ‘award-winning’ emcee like this guy still has a chance to grow! Thank you to One Call for providing me with the opportunity to do just that on so many levels. I look forward to working with them again in the future!!
Want me to come emcee at YOUR next meeting? Contact me and let’s make it happen!!!