The Art of Being Funny
by Colonel Steve Akley
I think it took us a while to find our groove with the dual flagship shows in The Bourbon Show and The Bourbon Daily. It's like we had to find our identity for each show. Over time, it settled into The Bourbon Show taking a more serious approach and The Bourbon Daily being the lighter side of the bourbon business. Certainly, there is crossover from both shows... sometimes, The Bourbon Show is funny... sometimes The Bourbon Daily is serious... but in-general terms, both shows have found their respective places in the bourbon world as well as our catalog at the ABV Network.
Out of the two formats.... serious/The Bourbon Show and funny/The Bourbon Daily, the harder of the two is The Bourbon Daily. You may question that, because, after all, "Isn't being less serious always easier?"
I think it stems from the fact, we are just regular people. No one on our team is a stand-up comic or has spent time working with an improvisation comedy team. We're simply people that like bourbon. A big part of my job ends up being managing comedy which can be extremely difficult during the show in real time when I don't know what people are going to say.
You see, one of the primary jobs I have on all of the shows I'm on for the ABV Network involves me being the field general. I'm running the show live as we do it. It's my job to determine when to wrap-up a segment and move on, cut someone off if they are rambling or advance the dialogue if a point has been made.
I'm also on the lookout for humor.
As an introvert by nature, I feel it gives me a super power in that I am very observational when it comes to human behavior. The people you hear on our show regularly, whether it's my official cohosts in Renee, Jeremy, Evan or McNew, or the group of regulars. you always hear (Tracy, Monty, Carolyn, Miss Beka Sue, Becks, Joe) are all funny in their own way. I just have to always be careful when someone is being funny on the show, it's coming naturally and they aren't doing a preplanned bit.
Now, this would be very different if we had, say Tina Fey and Will Ferrell on the team. I could easily give them some slack and let them roll with some pre-planned material. With our group, a bunch of people not from the world of comedy, it's always best make sure everyone is getting the laughs just from being themselves and not trying to work in their own "funny" material (real life is funny enough I always say).
So, you probably had no idea managing humor was part of the gig, but it is. After all, if we do this right, we have a true comedy show... if we do it wrong, it's a tragedy!