Monday, July 15, 2013

How Seinfeld And Tim Allen Made Me A Better Speaker !


The Callback !

The technique and definition of the call back as described in Wikipedia is extremely accurate. It states, "A callback, in terms of Comedy, is a joke which refers to one previously told in the set. The second joke is often presented in a different context than the one used in the initial joke. Callbacks are usually used near or at the end of a set, as the aim is to create the biggest laugh at the end of a comic set. The main principle behind the callback is to make the audience feel a sense of familiarity with the subject matter, as well as the comedian. It helps create audience rapport. When the second joke is told, it induces a feeling similar to that of being told a personal or in-joke".

Now if you have seen a live comedy show you know what this definition is referring to and if you haven't, watch Seinfeld. Jerry is a comedian who uses his call backs in his television show to wrap up almost every show in the series. The last line of the show is usually a culmination of the entire show with just a few lines or a simple look. As one of the most successful television series in history, Jerry took the most powerful techniques comedians use and transferred it to television. Lines such as, "yada yada yada", "not that there’s anything wrong with that", " that's it for me thank you good night" and "no soup for you" have all been used to close his shows. The callbacks are so popular that these phrases are considered a pop culture phenomenon. People around the world use these on a daily basis with no need to reference the show.  The callback is a truly powerful tool to have at your disposal.

Can you imagine in business, when conducting a meeting or presenting a sales pitch, to be able to make your point and then later on in the presentation close by reiterating your original point utilizing a callback. An action or a few words can communicate volumes in just seconds. This technique will not only make you a more effective speaker but also more interesting to your clients. Comedians have known for years that this technique works like magic on an audience but Jerry Seinfeld took it to incredibly new heights when he incorporated into his television show.

Tim Allen, who has always been one of my favorite comedians, is also responsible for showing me the effective use of the callback. When I worked with Tim he was quickly becoming one of the biggest names on the comedy circuit. His act was based on his “Men Are Pigs” theme that all males are inherently apes. He would go into detail about the typical complaints woman had about men, such as, messy, football watching, beer drinking, and tool loving Neanderthals. He would imitate men communicating not with words but rather with guttural sounds of a caveman. Now a day’s everyone familiar with Tim and his two sitcoms and many movies are familiar with his act and that famous sound.

 When Tim Allen was working he used the callback repeatedly through his set with incredible success. His callback was the caveman guttural sound. Even though he spoke not a word, he was be able to communicate quite effectively by using inflections of the sound by keeping it low to voice displeasure, high to voice excitement and from low to high to voice a question or surprised. Of course, Tim went on to become one of the biggest comedians of our generation with his caveman routine and even though Tim doesn't perform as one of the first men on earth anymore, he is still “The Last Man Standing”.