A Great Example of Audience Optimization
In my post on how to write a humorous speech, I hopefully got you thinking about about audience optimization as a way of reaching more of your audience with your humorous speeches. As I mentioned, humor is always subjective, sometimes cruelly so.
I can’t think of a better example of audience optimization than the hit TV show The Office.
The show was a huge hit in its native England, but it made Ricky Gervais a household name on both sides of the Atlantic by winning two Golden Globe awards in 2004 despite a very limited airing on the BBC America regional cable channel.
The concept of The Office – a spoof fly-on-the-wall documentary set in an office – was SUCH a hit that it was quickly picked up by the US networks, but get this. The show was completely re-made to enhance its appeal to broader US audiences. Isn’t that incredible? I know there are countless examples of this, but here’s a show that had already proved it award-winning popularity in the US, and they still took the risk of erasing its success, and the expense of production, to make the show more accessible, and hopefully more rewarding.
The rest is television history!
Having lived in both the US and the UK, and split my sides laughing at TV comedy in both places, I feel that I’m quite accepting of comedy in a variety of styles. With The Office, I find the US version of The Office pretty funny, but the UK version just hits that perfect sweet spot of humor for me. Like a few years before with Seinfeld, once acclimatized, I couldn’t get enough of it.
For the humorous speaker, DVD is an amazing tool! My DVD player has a “repeat the last 30 seconds” button. Whenever I’m writing a humorous speech, I use this to play back favorite comedy moments and learn something from the speaker’s timing. Having the chance to compare two professionally produced versions of the same material is something that would have made Laurel and Hardy laugh. It’s a fascinating, worthwhile exercise and great education. I assure you, I never had this much fun in school!
The Office is Audience Optimization executed brilliantly, not to mention great entertainment. If you haven’t seen the original Ricky Gervais version, you really must!
Dave Curley holds the Advanced Toastmaster (Silver) award from Toastmasters International, an outstanding environment in which to learn not only how to write a speech but how to deliver one with confidence. Dave now speaks regularly as essential part of his business as an identity management and IT security consultant. He operates globally but always has a return ticket to Glasgow, Scotland.
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