FunnyBizz 2015

Something funny happened at this year’s FunnyBizz conference in San Francisco.

Not funny haha, as you would assume for a conference whose tagline is “Where Business Meets Humor to Abolish Boring Content,” but funny weird.

Funny odd. Funny out of the ordinary.

Funny extraordinary.

It’s as if all year long, you go about your job, working your brain on a treadmill, same tasks, same pace, same nicey nice.

Then you walk into this dark nightclub and your brain gets tickled and stretched and rolled down a road full of surprises at every turn.

With a room full of strangers eager for the same experience.

I came to FunnyBizz with my friend Beth. We’re both instructional writers. Not comedy writers or marketing writers. We write step by step procedures.

For business accounting software.

Not exactly a hotbed of comedy.

We did Kathy Klotz Guest’s improv “yes and” exercise together.

The instruction was to present a fantastical use for an iPhone, and take turns adding to the story by saying “yes and …”.

So Beth and I came up with a ridiculous iPhone table leg extender. You stack the iPhones under table legs to move the table top higher and higher. Eventually it forces you to stand while eating. So you can burn more calories. So you can eat more food. Which the iPhone then tracks in an app.

At the end of the 30 seconds, Beth and I laughed. Hey, we would actually use an app like that.

And then we were like, damn — what just happened?

And then we were like, well whatever just happened, we need to bring our product team to FunnyBizz next year so we can get it to happen to more people.

It had nothing to do with learning how to be funny. It was learning how to play, how to be free to be creative, to be authentic. To get unstuck. Unclogged.

Oh sure, throughout the day there were lots of amazing and funny speakers.

Awesome storytelling. Clever case studies. Viral commercials.

Even some motivational speaking.

But it was the audience activity, the kind of thing that we introverted writers absolutely hate, that became the highlight of the day.

FunnyBizz is like a bouncy house for your brain.

And sometimes you just gotta get bounced. ■

By mid-day, the letters had broken loose from the wall and gotten rearranged. Much like my brain.

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