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How can comedy be used in business?

Matthew Vitug (Anaheim Hills, California, USA)
Brian Kleiner (California State University‐Fullerton, Fullerton, California, USA)

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Article publication date: 23 January 2007



To explain how comedy can be effectively used in business.


Literature review covering: need for comedy; advantages of using comedy; applicability to business; tips for implementation; and contemporary examples.


There are two immediate benefits of applying comedy in a business setting. First, there is a natural physiological response experienced by both the sender and the receiver. Second, appropriate and effective use of comedy allows for a “humanizing” effect that creates a connection between the speaker and the audience. When applying comedy concepts to business, the speaker may utilize the three components of comedy or apply improvisation principles. However, the presenter should use comedy that is carefully calibrated and without using offensive material. If the individual is interested in applying comedy principles in business, it is recommended that they utilize one of three types of professional organizations that are available to help tailor messages to fit objectives.

Practical implications

The application of the ideas found in this article will help a speaker develop rapport with his/her audience, keeping them more alert and focused on what the speaker is desiring to communicate to them.


Comedy as a topic of business research inquiry for the purpose of improving productivity and performance has received very limited attention in relation to other topic areas. This article is intended to draw interest to this underappreciated subject for both additional research and practical management behavior.



Vitug, M. and Kleiner, B. (2007), "How can comedy be used in business?", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 56 No. 2, pp. 155-161.



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Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited