March 17; Humor Is Difficult To Execute But It Is Possible With The Right Team MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK: 365 Daily Bible Verse & One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful
A happy heart makes the face cheerful…
|Humor Is Difficult To Execute But It Is Possible With The Right Team|
Delectare et Docere
David Gergen was a young aide with a daunting assignment while working for President Nixon. His job: Make the televised 1972 Republican National Convention interesting. To make the conservative Grand Old Party — funny? His mission was, in effect, “to please and to instruct.”
The convention leadership understood that sophisticated stagecraft was needed to keep a large television audience entertained. Gergen’s job was to get this done.
Gergen was the ‘go to guy’ for execution but humor done on a big stage was a challenge. He was never known as a ‘funny man’ in a warm-up act and never would be.
But there was hope.
Gergen worked his Rolodex and was able to hire Bob Hope’s comedy teamsters. These professionals knew how to craft light-hearted one-liners. The plan was to have the joke writers watch the convention on a remote feed and provide instant comedic feedback. (Gergen, 2000)
The real-time gag lines would be phoned in to Gergen. He would hurriedly hand carry and hand off these off-the-cuff remarks up to the next speaker as he ascended the podium.
Mark Twain once said that, “It takes three weeks to prepare a good ad-lib speech.” Gergen’s joke writers had perhaps three minutes to make the orators look brilliant.
And they did. The “impromptu” quips got the cheers and made for a happy crowd.
As Proverbs 15:13a says, A happy heart makes the face cheerful…
The convention was a blockbuster success on television. Gergen got it done. The president was re-elected.