Corporate comedy ideas for lockdown

Corporate comedy ideas for lockdown

Whilst many lockdown restrictions have been eased, large numbers of people continue to work from home and we still can’t go to ‘out-out’ for our fix of live comedy. So why not invite a stand-up comedian into your living room instead?

Throughout lockdown, at NMP Live we’ve been working with the UK's leading stand-up comedians and entertainers to find novel ways of bringing remote teams together and keeping employees motivated, engaged and in high spirits.

Initial requests from clients during the early days of Coronavirus were to have comedians perform their routines online instead of in-person. After some trial and error, it was clear that performing a twenty-minute set via Zoom just doesn't work.

Stand-up comedy is a form of entertainment that relies on audience interaction, spontaneous feedback and inclusiveness. If you’re after a normal stand-up show, you'd be much better off tuning in to Comedy Central or watching a comedian's latest Netflix special.

So how do you bring virtual comedy alive?

In the first few weeks of lockdown — when most of us were confined to our homes — it was all very surreal and everything seemed to be ‘unprecedented’.

With nowhere to go, people took to apps like Zoom and Houseparty to socialise with friends, family and colleagues. And a big trend for online quizzes quickly emerged. But wanting to up-the-ante, entice more staff to log-on and add a layer of showbiz glamour, companies turned to us for professional hosts and quiz masters.

Adept at thinking on their feet, stand up comedians are ideal quiz hosts.

A quiz gives the comic an opportunity for interacting with participants, having fun and ‘banter’ in between the questions and also dipping into bits from their comedy routine. Since lockdown was imposed upon us at the end of March, we've hosted dozens of highly successful company quiz nights with clients in wide-ranging industries and with comedians at all fee levels. There are several apps on the Internet that will provide a ready-to-go quiz for you.

Pictured below: Simon Brodkin in character as the cheerful wide-boy Lee Nelson, hosting a Zoom quiz for a client in the insurance sector.

Lee Nelson Virtual Comedy Zoom Quiz

Below we've rounded up some of the UK's top headline comedians to offer you safe and 'socially distanced' first-class entertainment, that plays to their comedic strengths and will work via your preferred webinar provider.

Office Taskmaster

Greg Davies and Alex Horne, Taskmaster

If you'd rather be challenged by something other than maintaining your sanity during the lockdown, why not let Taskmaster Greg Davies and his assistant Alex Horne, pit you and your colleagues against each other in some wacky and wonderful creative tasks.

The pair are already entertaining the nation with their Hometasking series and the format has proved to be a huge success, with participants using nothing but themselves and things they can find in their houses.

As the popularity of Taskmaster soars and it moves to terrestrial TV for the first time in 2020 — with Channel 4 having acquired the rights to broadcast the next five series – it’s the perfect opportunity to bring a bit of the series' magic to your corporate event.

Al Murray's Lock-in Lockdown Pub Quiz

Al Murray's Pub Quiz

Are you missing your local watering hole? Longing for a pint of the cold stuff or a large glass of Pinot?

Well, why not bring your favourite pub activity to a Zoom call for your employees instead? In character as The Pub Landlord — the nation’s favourite publican — comedian Al Murray presides over teams or individuals and guides them through their very own pub quiz to win some morale-boosting prizes for their efforts (to be provided by you).

Al Murray is no stranger to the quiz format, having presented Al Murray's Great British Pub Quiz series on our TV screens and often presents this quiz 'in person' at corporate dinners and events.

As an alternative to Al, why not consider one of these comedians who would also be fantastic quiz masters; Ed GambleJoe Wilkinson (in his inimitable style), Iain Stirling or renown quiz aficionado, actor Shaun Williamson (Extras, Eastenders) – the possibilities are endless!

Russell Kane's Happy Hour

Russell Kane's Happy Hour

Russell Kane prides himself on writing and creating comedy routines around a brief. Whether your company or organisation is in marketing, manufacture, financial services, travel, pharma or property — Russell has bespoke topical material that he can readily perform — and can easily create fresh original monologues just for you!

For these one-hour online sessions, the audience/performer relationship takes the form of Russell's famous 'Live Kaneings' (over 300k views on Facebook and Instagram) - where he performs a bespoke monologue. The difference being, it's for a closed audience with his comments and funnies tailored to those invited guests who are watching. This first section could be anything from 5-15 minutes.

Russell then gives a corporate style 'presentation' where he runs through various achievements, announcements and company analysis — read out loud to those attending the virtual meeting. To keep the session fun, high energy and engaging, Russell improvises and interprets the supplied company data in his own comedic style, just as he would at a typical live event (and in-line with any pre-event briefing instructions). Allow 10-15 minutes.

Finally, Russell's third offering, and undoubtedly the most entertaining session during his time with you, is something that he has tried on Instagram and it's worked exceptionally well. He invites to the screen between 10-15 people, one at a time, for a split-screen interview with him — a combination of genuine 'Graham Norton' style interest in what they do and where they are — mixed with as much ribbing and roasting as the client desires. The split-screen interviewees could be added at random, or pre-prepped and briefed. This section will easily fill the remaining 25-30 minutes and concludes Russell Kane's Happy Hour.

Josh Widdicombe's "Is It Ok?"

Inspired by The Last Leg, experience a 25-30 minute interactive Zoom session with comedian Josh Widdicombe, where he gets to preside as judge-and-jury over your lockdown (mis)behaviours. Great fun and a huge morale builder for all your employees and workforce.

And for something with a slightly more 'corporate' feel...

Andrew Ryan — 'Conquer Public Speaking'

Do you have to deliver work presentations, keynote speeches, or company stats and results to a live audience? Do you find the prospect of speaking in front of a group of people daunting and brings you out in a cold sweat?

If so, you can learn from Andrew Ryan, who battled his own nerves to move from being a bank manager to professional stand-up comedian and will share his expertise, skills and tips on how to speak clearly and confidently in public. Andrew offers you a funny and informative seminar on effective measures to handle your nerves, adrenaline and also how to perform in a relaxed manner to obtain the best from your performance.

To find out more about any of the above ideas, and more besides, speak with your preferred NMP Live booking agent on +44 (0)1372 361 004 or enquire online today.


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