5 Reasons Why Virtual Events Are Awesome

If you told me six months ago that I’d be producing and performing in shows from my home office via Zoom, I would have told you, “No way!…What’s Zoom?”

Yet, here we are! Making it work in a virtual world. And you know what? There are a lot of reasons why virtual events are actually pretty cool.  

Lately I have heard from a number of companies that project that their in-person events are on hold until at least next Spring or Summer. Yep, six or more months from now.

And while born out of necessity, there are quite a few reasons why virtual shows are awesome:

  1. Everyone gets a front row seat. As a performer, I get to see all the smiles and laughs up close and personal. As an audience member, there’s not a bad seat in the house. This also allows for interaction that would never be possible in a larger theater or conference hall.  
  2. Connectivity to and from Almost Anywhere. With virtual meetings and events, presenters and attendees can sign in from almost anywhere. Since April, from my own home in Charlotte, NC I have hosted events with performers in NYC, Indiana, LA, and even Germany. Thanks to the virtual space, you’re able to source talent and speakers from all over the world for your events like never before. Plus, no more stressing over flight delays or cancellations to make it to a conference!
  3. Brushing your teeth is optional (but still a good idea). While I do encourage proper brushing, no one’s going to know if you skip a day. And side note: I must say, I’m quite happy with how my stray gray hairs blend in surprisingly pretty well on camera!  
  4. Introducing The “Work Mullet.” Move over, traditional “business in the front, party in the back” mullet hairstyles popularized by Country Music Singer and Achy Breaky Heart Throb Billy Ray Cyrus. There’s a NEW fashion trend sweeping the nation. As reported in this article from The Washington Post, “In the conventional selfie angle that shows off a new blouse or button-down, pants are hardly ever in the picture.” It’s no wonder sales of pants are actually DOWN compared to blouses and shirts. The Work Mullet is “business on the top, PJs on the bottom.” Am I wearing a work mullet right now as I write this article? I’m not telling.
  5. Budget Flexibility. Travel expenses, catering fees, venue rentals, decorations, etc. are significantly reduced or practically vanish into thin air when you go virtual. This leaves you more flexibility to invest in entertainment and professional virtual production services.

Looking for some inspiration for enhancing your next virtual event? Here are a few ideas of services I am working on with clients:

  • Customized Comedy Shows & Happy Hours – Release those feel-good endorphins, de-stress and strengthen social bonds over laughter
  • Fun Game Shows & Trivia Nights  – With a dose of friendly competition, get your team something fun to look forward to. Bragging rights included.
  • Online Fundraisers – Nonprofits are still in need of funds even if their signature events have had to be postponed. There are lots of ways to engage your audience, spread your message AND raise funds for your cause. (I worked with one non-profit who doubled their funds raised in one night through a live auction in the chat!)
  • A Mind-Blowing Magic Show – I am beyond thrilled to represent the World-Renown Entertainer and Magician Chris Dugdale and the virtual adaptation of his award-winning show “Down to 1.” Chris has amazed crowds from Buckingham Palace to The Pentagon. He regularly sells out large theaters, but you can now book him for your company town hall, holiday party, etc. This is a perfect example of an extremely unique opportunity to see a world-class performer in a more intimate, virtual setting that allows for crowd reaction and engagement like never before.

To be clear, I’m NOT saying that virtual events are a perfect substitution for the true connection we get when we’re together in person. But while the need and desire for a meaningful connection still exists, virtual events are a viable replacement while in-person events are on hold.

Now is the time for us to embrace the virtual space like never before… Are you ready?

Wow – Our First Live Show Since March!

This weekend was our first in-person show in three months: a physically distant family friendly comedy show outside at a BEAUTIFUL lakeside pavilion in NC. People spread out in a large field – in chairs and golf carts – to share in an evening of joy and laughter together.

The best part? It started to lightly drizzle during the show and NO ONE LEFT. It was absolutely magical.

The Role of Comedy in Crisis

If you had told me last Fall that in March 2020 there would be a global pandemic and life as we know it would change forever, I prrrrobably wouldn’t have sold my house and quit my job to launch a comedy production company. But then again, I’d probably think you were joking (not funny, by the way).

…so, now what? Well, we’re experiencing a global pandemic and the world’s largest civil rights protest in history. And it’s scary and stressful and inspiring and emotionally draining all at the same time and – from this comedian’s perspective – not really comedy-inspiring. 

 How Can You Make Jokes at a Time Like This?!

Well it ain’t easy, I can tell ya that much!

Comedy has long been a way for people to deal with, address, and talk about difficult situations – like opening a valve on a pressure cooker. It’s a way for us to come together and laugh at the absurdities in life. It’s a way to show not all is lost when it may seem like it. It’s a way of showing we’re all more connected than not.

While performing in my first online show in quarantine, I shared about the time I didn’t know the grocery store was closing early. So in the 10 minutes I had, I panic bought 23 frozen burritos. Worst. Supermarket. Sweep. Ever. I freaked out because, I mean, WHEN would I get a chance to go to the grocery store again? Umm… the next day, Lauren. The. Next. Day. 

Tragedy + Time = Comedy

Ok, but we could use a lot less tragedy

Obviously I get stressed easily. And truth be told, panic buying 23 frozen burritos wasn’t very funny at the time. But after I calmed down and had some time to process that small stressor, I think it’s actually pretty funny and absurd. So in time, I transformed that stressful experience into a funny story.

Comedians Are Tasked with Finding the Funny in Times of Crisis

As self-appointed experts on “funny,” comedians must dig through the tough layers of NOT funny to uncover the actual funny. Then we break it down, examine it, build it up, and deliver it in a way that the audience will appreciate and enjoy. And trust me, that is an art!

As a single, white woman (well hi here *awkward wink*), I make jokes about dating and being tall. And lemme tell ya, if I thought dating was difficult BEFORE quarantine…

As a comedy show producer, I book a lot of comedians who all have different perspectives based on their experiences and interpretations of the world. And I am all for a diverse line-up – age, race, age, perspective, style, etc. Younger comedians oftentimes tease older people, who regularly don’t get the joke – probably because their hearing aids aren’t up loud enough (hey, I can make that joke; I’m considered one of the older comedians). Comedians of color often talk about race. Married comedians talk about marriage (and it sounds awful, BTW). Comedians with kids wish they didn’t have them. You get it.

Whether it’s fluffier stories about bad first dates or less-funny topics like racism or abuse, there’s a place for all different types of humor. And the time for humor is now.

Comedians Bring Laughter Into the World – Not in Spite of Tragedy, but Because of It.

A good friend of mine once told me life is 80% drudgery, 10% crap, and 10% amazing. 80% drudgery – things like brushing your teeth, going to work, doing the laundry. 10% crap – losing a loved one, getting fired, losing a sock in the dryer. 10% amazing – going on a dream vacation, getting a promotion, not having kids.

And going through the 80% drudgery and 10% crap make you appreciate the 10% amazing. And it’s the 10% amazing that makes life spectacularly worth living.

My job as an entertainer is to help the crowd get closer to the 10% amazing. Even when in crisis.

The Benefits of Laughter

Prolonged stress can lead to high blood pressure, immune system suppression and a decline in mental health. Laughter has the opposite effect; it releases feel-good endorphins and serotonin, a natural anti-depressant. It helps promote group bonding. It helps to strengthen relationships and reduces conflict. It also makes others more attractive to us. (I don’t know about you, but I go from a 6 to a solid 8 when I’m on stage.)

Comedy is a beautiful and gritty art form. Comedy is a way of mirroring the world back to people. Comedy is a diffuser in awkward situations. Comedy allows us to laugh at uncomfortable situations. It can break up a tense situation. It helps us cope with trauma. Shared feel-good moments created by laughter help to create social bonds and make us feel closer to each other. Laughter provides us with a break from the weight of reality – even if it is just for a few brief moments.

Laughter is infectious in the best possible way. For proof, watch this:

Give yourself permission to laugh.

If you enjoyed this article, please leave a comment and share it. Thank you.

About Lauren Ansley:

Lauren Ansley is a stand-up comedian, emcee, speaker and producer of live stand-up comedy shows. Lauren Ansley Comedy Productions and Beerly Funny are both based in Charlotte, NC and operate with three main goals: To create moments of joy and laughter, to support local businesses, and to help elevate comedy as an art form. In the pandemic, Lauren has shifted to offer custom comedy shows, happy hours, and more online. Learn more at www.laurenansley.com. (Use Promo Code: Frozen Burritos. I do’nt know where you’d use it, but go for it!)

Resources:

6 Easy Ways to Incorporate Laughter to the Workplace (PDF)

My Three Year Comedy Anniversary (Article)

Look Mom, Beerly Funny Was Interviewed On TV!

Beerly Funny hosted live, virtual stand-up comedy shows every week in April and May 2020. Here’s my first official TV interview! It was to promote one of our kid-friendly shows where a portion of each ticket went to benefit the Humane Society of Charlotte. Everyone was invited to show off their pets during the show!

6 Easy Ways to Bring Some Much-Needed Comic Relief to the Workplace

Things are weird right now. Boost morale and employee engagement and ease tension with the healing power of laughter. We could all use more of it in our lives right about now! Consider incorporating one or more of these at your company. Click to download the full PDF.

1. Laugh of the Day

Kick off meetings with a “Laugh of the Day.” A funny quote, story, or joke. Employees could take turns sharing their favorite joke. Just be sure to mention any content restrictions in advance to avoid a visit to HR!

2. Bring on the Dad Jokes!

We wouldn’t normally recommend these, but desperate times call for questionably funny measures. Now is the time to embrace the cheesiness! Kick it up a notch with a little friendly competition with a “Dad Joke-A-Thon.” Jokes with the most “groans” wins a prize! Employees vote for their favorite – or in this case, their LEAST favorite!

3. Does This Look Funny to You?

Keep the hilarity going with a funny meme exchange. You could even pick a theme per day or week, etc. And may the best meme win!

Theme ideas: TV shows, Disney characters, pop culture, TGIF, etc.

4. Did Someone Say “Online Happy Hour?”

Unwind with a virtual “happy hour” at the end of the work day. Alcohol is optional, laughter is encouraged, and no one needs to worry about the bar tab. (Boy what we wouldn’t give for the chance to see our friendly neighborhood bartender right now, but we digress…)

5. LOL for Realz

It sounds weird, but you’ll see for yourself that laughter really is contagious. Have one person start by laughing loudly – fake it til you make it. Trust the process. It won’t be long before the whole group will erupt with genuine laughter!

6. Host a Virtual Comedy Show

What better way to create laughter than with a LIVE stand-up comedy, now from the comfort of your own home? Beerly Funny will work with you to build the perfect custom, virtual comedy show experience for you and your audience. Flexible packages are available. Great for client appreciation events and fundraisers, too!

Bonus: Gratitude Goes a Long Way

Invite employees to share what they’re grateful for. Shifting from a place of worry to a place of gratitude will help lift anyone’s spirits. Pro Tip: Engage the “influencers” (aka the unofficial leaders – those employees their peers look up to and follow) early on to help build traction.

We hope you’ll consider incorporating one or more of these techniques. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about Beerly Funny’s Virtual Comedy Shows or other comedic offerings, please contact us. We’d love to work with you to create the right offering for your audience.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more comic relief, upcoming events and more. Web: http://www.beerlyfunny.com. Email: comedy@beerlyfunny.com

About Us: Beerly Funny is a one stop comedy show experience founded by Comedian Lauren Ansley. We are passionate about creating moments of joy and laughter, supporting local businesses, and elevating comedy as an art form. We are based in Charlotte, NC, but our virtual comedy shows are now available locally and nationwide!