Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Editor's Note

Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Editor's Note

Article excerpt

Three times a year I get paid to laugh. "And One More Thing ... with Bob Zany," the humor column, transforms work into play, makes business funny. On the phone, Zany brainstorms ideas, angles and examples with me, and he tests jokes. A month later, Zany emails the rough draft, which cracks me up anew, and which I return with feedback. We concentrate on audience and tone, setup and payoff, beat and rhythm, and diction and context, since material for his act may or may not translate to the page (and vice versa). Shortly thereafter, we fine-tune on the phone; when he tweaks or replaces gags, I chuckle all the more.

Actually, since each column entails three steps, I earn my paycheck by giggling nine times a year. And because Zany is a comedian, his casual conversation reflexively includes punch lines; I compare them to holiday bonuses: a little something extra.

Zany indirectly provides other guffaws. He convinced TV impresario George Schlatter, co-creator of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, to look back at the influential show for this edition.

Funny business also suggests something not aboveboard. An early memory of deceit occurred when I started middle school. That rite of passage meant I was a big boy, a grown-up relative told me, and now that I took major tests, I could help her study for a real estate license. Raised as a voracious reader, diligent pupil, and conscientious soul, I was happy and curious to pitch in. Much of what I quizzed her on I didn't understand, but it was fun to practice an hour or two some weeknights and weekends. …

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