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Funny Business

Tim Ritley Standup

I’ve been a fan of stand-up comedy for nearly as long as I’ve been in sales – over 20 years. Ever since I discovered Comedy Central in the late ‘90s, I’ve watched every comedy special and stand-up showcase possible and have gone to dozens of clubs to see comedians perform. But it wasn’t until recently when I tried doing stand-up myself that it dawned on me how much comedy and marketing have in common.

Throughout my sales career, business development has been an integral part of my job description, and it is where I have focused the majority of my efforts over the past several years. What drew me in that direction was the creativity of developing things such as the messaging for a print ad, a TV commercial or a radio script, and the connection that takes place between a marketing professional and a company.

My approach for my first open mic performance was similar to my approach when managing any marketing project for a new client.

Preparation: Identify strengths

Develop Content: Define message, tailor for audience

Delivery Method: How to best reach the audience


After watching the video of my first performance, it hit me like a lightning bolt. What I was doing was simply marketing the message that I had prepared, where my jokes were the product, the audience was my target consumer base and the laughter was my sale! I was able to see which jokes worked, which jokes didn’t work and what adjustments I needed to make on timing, delivery or content for my next performance to get more sales… I mean laughs!

Marketing is similar to stand-up comedy as well as other forms of art or entertainment. You put together ideas and concepts into a variety of formats to communicate your message to people you think will be interested. It’s a fun process when done with some creativity, courage and a sense of humor.