Tim Washer. Keynote Speaker + Event Emcee
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Top Pumpkin Uses for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Midterm Elections

Top Pumpkin Uses for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Midterm Elections

I’ve been procrastinating for only half a decade or so on launching a weekly YouTube comedy series.  I’m a total hypocrite for preaching improv principles such as “follow the fear” and “there are no mistakes, only gifts,” while letting doubt hold me back.

To be fair, occasionally I have the opportunity to be a small part of some comedy productions created by folks who geniuses, so when I first experimented on my own, the comparison was embarrassing.  But I know I let that fact drift from reason into an excuse to hide behind.

With the help of my daughter, I completed and published episode #1 yesterday.  And I’ll be celebrating throughout the week.  Actually, probably only until lunchtime today, as I need to start working on the next video.  What the heck I’ve I done?!

Finding Creative Inspiration 

I’ve been building a list of ideas and even scratching out scripts for a while, and I now feel the pressure to fill the pipeline.  Disciplined YouTubers suggest having 4-5 episodes “in the can” before launching a series, but I’m not disciplined.  Most ideas are connected to my current personal struggles, like trying to manage as a single parent, dealing with post-divorce depression, and trying not to be overwhelmed by the fear that comes with the risk of transitioning from a comfortable corporate job to working solo as a comedian.  Usually, those are dependable sources for funny ideas.   It helps me to laugh at the pain, and hopefully, it might defuse distress for others.  One of the greatest gifts we can give is reminding people that they are not alone in feeling shame.

When those sources fail me, I look for visual inspiration.  I figure if there is a scene that I enjoy, others might appreciate the view as well.  Then I explore ideas on how I could build a comedy concept around the shot.

Enter the Pumpkin

Our church has been operating the pumpkin patch as a mission for over 20 years.  There have been times when I’ve been skeptical about the project, usually after spending a September Saturday morning helping to unload 2,700 pumpkins weighing-in at 45,540 pounds.  Sure, it’s a great core workout, but who needs a strong core if you can’t move your legs?

The heavy lifting is always good fun, and I’ve gotten to know many folks from the Ridgefield community who I wouldn’t have met otherwise.

The patch hosts a free movie night each fall which is a family favorite.

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We purchase our inventory from a 1,200-acre farm on a Navajo Reservation 2,200 miles away in New Mexico, so we’re just shy of qualifying for Buy Local certification.  But the revenue supports 700 Native Americans living in an area of the country with 42% unemployment.

Due to pumpkins high price elasticity of demand, during an economic recession, most households cut back drastically on their pumpkin spend.  In a good year like 2011, we sold approximately 60 tons, raising $57,000 — 100% of the proceeds go to fund charities both locally and around the world, including an orphanage in Mozambique.  The rain this year has thinned our customer traffic and reduced sales, so we may need to layoff volunteers.

We’re open for business through Oct 31st.  Keep up with the Jesse Lee Pumpkin Patch on our Facebook page, and be sure to join us next year.

Unrelated:  Does anyone have an idea for next week’s comedy video?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

B2B Comedy Classics

The age of the curator seems like the perfect time to assemble a collection about something, so I put together a list of the Top 10 B2B Comedy Videos for a guest post for the Social Media B2B blog.  Above is a bonus video for Valentine’s Day.  Thanks to Jeff Cohen for the opportunity, and for his virtual tour of North Carolina wine.  His Biltmore photos compelled me to plan a return trip to my favorite vineyard in the Smokies.

Inc. Magazine: How to Use Humor in Advertising

IncMag_HumorCover

Lou Dubois and I first crossed paths and the IMS10 and again at BrandsConf, and continued our discussion about corporate comedy in social media for his Inc. Magazine article.   Check it out.

WebProNews: Adding Humor to Social Media Marketing

Mike McDonald of WebProNews asked a few questions at the Inbound Marketing Summit about our approach of using humor in social media.  I also shared a few examples of a recent travel series we did.

webpronews

A Vote for Comedy in B2B Social Media

I had the pleasure of meeting Paul Gillin at the Inbound Marketing Summit this month in Foxboro, MA.   He was interested in a series of YouTube comedy videos  “Mainframe: The Art of the Sale,” and wrote a nice article about them.

A notes from behind the scenes:

The question I get most often about these is “how did you get these approved at a big corporation?’

BtoBcover

By starting small.  The first comedy I produced at IBM was at the end of 2004, and it was internal only — for a sales meeting — which kept the risk very low.  I kept the cost low by asking one of my best friends, Scott Teems, a director, to help me for $400.   The video was a hit, I was asked to create a sequel, and was able to pay Scott a nice tip.

SXSW panel: Late Night Comedy meets Corporate Video

sxswi

Our proposed panel has made it through the first round of the SXSW Interactive selections, and now we need your vote to make it to the show.  Scott Teems, SXSW Film Festival winning director for THAT EVENING SUN and I (contributor to SNL, Letterman, Conan, The Onion) will discuss a few of our corporate YouTube video hits that earned recognition from The New York Times and Comedy Central, as well as lessons learned from near “fireable offenses.”   Bestselling author David Meerman Scott (New Rules of Marketing & PR, Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead) will join us.

We’d appreciate your vote for our panel (voting ends 11:59 CDT Friday, August 27.) It takes a minute to register for an account, then click here [note: the panelpicker page doesn’t allow for listing of all panelists, hence the above post]

http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/7744

Mr. Bartley’s @ Harvard Square

When you’re at Harvard, you have to make smart decisions, and mine was to never again order a cheeseburger with barbecue sauce.  I arrived at that decision after eating at Mr. Bartley’s, a venue the Boston Herald describes as “Boston’s best burger, in cheerfully, post-hippie dorm surroundings.”   I got into the barbecue sauce-on-cheeseburger habit back in my high school days, ordering the Rojo Burger at Chili’s.  I thought it was a classy move, but not everyone agreed, including my prom date. (btw, “Rojo” is the Spanish word for “impossible to get out of Taffeta”).

Bartley's Harvard Square

This place has a fun student vibe,  and I kept thinking I’d see Will Hunting sitting in the corner solving word problems.

Bartley's

I was on campus to speak about using comedy in social media to help put a face on the corporation.  Below is a short clip of my PowerPoint disaster.  And check out this review of Bartley’s from Billy Idol:

 

Yelp gives it 4.5 stars

Mr. Bartley’s

1246 Massachusetts Ave

Cambridge, MA

(617) 354-6559
About the Cheeseburger & Comedy series.

Conan O’Brien and Burger Joint

Behind a velvet curtain that reaches from the lobby floor up to the ceiling of the swankyLe Parker Meridien Hotel hides one of the best burger joints in Manhattan.  And it’s completely unmarked,  except for a neon sign of a burger.  So I had to save this spot for a special night — when Ian and I went to the Team Coco Tour at Radio City Music Hall.
Team Coco Tour

Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien Hotel

Complimenting this juicy burger was a glass of the finest Cabernet Sauvignon available in Manhattan in a box.
Burger Joint

About the Cheeseburger & Comedy series.  Yelp gives it 4 out of 5 stars.
118 W 57th St, between 6th/7th Ave

The Business Case for Nonsense

I went to Harvard Business School.

But it was only for one evening.  Last Thursday, I was invited to present a case study on using comedy in corporate YouTube videos, and shared “Mainframe: The Art of the Sale.”  This video series we published in August 2006 continues to be discussed, simply because it’s funny.  It’s listed as a case study in the second edition of bestseller  The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott, published this month.  (Congrats, David!)

Comedy done well has the power to cut through clutter and to influence, and that’s helped me get an honorable mention on Click-Z’s Social Media All-Stars list.  My thanks to Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics.

Here’s my presentation:The Business Case for Nonsense: IBM Social Media

Thanksgiving Comedy Show

On Saturday night, November 21, $10 buys you a five dollar dessert and nearly two bucks worth of comedy, yielding a net loss for the evening.   “Weekend Update – Thanksgiving Edition” will be co-anchored by Bob Tedeschi, New York Times columnist, and Tim Washer, whose influences include Tom Brokaw, Brian Williams and Ted Baxter.  Special musical guest Elza will play a few tunes from her new CD, Gettin’ Free.  Childcare and a movie will be provided for the kids and any adults who get bored. In Martin Hall underneath Jesse Lee Church, 207 Main St. Ridgefield, CT, 7:30PM.  Tickets available at the door.  All proceeds benefit the Jesse Lee Youth Mission trip to New Orleans, LA.