I nearly didn't write this…

“and another thing, what’s with deal with airline food…?”

I debated long and hard skipping sending emails this week.

After all, you probably have far better things to do – like spin kicking pensioners out of your way in Aldi, as you try to grab that last turkey, so you don’t end up with a lump of lesser meat (“Yay – crocodile…again!”)…

…but, one of my favourite books this year was James Clear’s “Atomic Habits” and since I really want to make this email a habit…

…you’re getting one.

If you’re thinking “I wonder what tenuous link John’s going to find between Christmas and comedy. This should be good. Gladys – get the kettle on!”, brace yourself –

I think I’ve got one…

Let’s talk about observational comedy.

Observational comedy is what the majority of stand-ups perform. If you’ve watched Kevin Hart, Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld or Peter Kay, you’ve been watching observational comedy.

Observational comedy is about finding the funny in the everyday experiences.

For the audience to laugh at observational comedy, you need two things:

  • You need to be funny (Duh!), and
  • You need to talk about something they can relate to

Be funny, but make sure you’re talking about something they can FEEL.

There’s a reason that Jay Leno doesn’t talk about the problems that come with owning 97,316 different cars – few of his audience are going to be sat there thinking, “man, you’re right. I mean, I only have 96,243 cars, but you’re right – it’s a real pain in the ass!”.

You need to CONNECT with your audience.

The fact we had to create a cliche about trying to please all the people all the time warns you about trying to make everyone happy.

You can’t do it, so don’t even try.

(Though, I do feel “free Netflix for life” comes pretty darn close)

Comedians don’t need to make an entire audience pee themselves ALL the time, they just need to win MOST of them over, MOST of the time.

Do something that most people enjoy, and you’re doing well.

“OK, but how does this relate to Christmas?”

I’m getting to that.

Christmas and new year is a great chance to connect with people and, the good news is, unlike a comedian, you don’t have to go on stage and stand in front of 100 strangers to do it.

Connection is scalable, but that doesn’t mean it has to be.

How about doing it one at a time?

I did this a few years ago. I sat down and reviewed my year and thought about the most impactful relationships. I then wrote each of these people a special thank you note, recognising their awesomeness.

I need to do this again, as I’ve noticed that I’m veering into “trying to please all the people” territory, and that is not a fun place to be.

It’s like going to Doncaster.

If you’re anything like me though, when it comes to choosing people to contact, you’ll have to fight the urge to choose people you want something from – people who have skills, products or influence you want to take advantage of.

Don’t do this. Don’t look for what you can get out of people. Don’t be me. 🙂

Think of the people that deserve a thanks – and then give them one.

(I’m docking myself 10 comedy points for that innuendo).

Doing this individually means that you can get personal. It means you can connect.

You’re not like the comedian, stood on stage, desperately hoping that everyone else also hates it when their butlers leave out their 17th favourite smoking jacket when they get back from an afternoon’s hunting.

You’re not going to die on your arse.

I’ve been thinking for a while that most of my marketing in 2020 should be based on this kind of individual approach somehow.

In a world where more and more people can broadcast to everyone (and they do), personalisation may be the way to go.

I think it will be.

We’ll see.

For now, start with saying thanks to the people that have been a big part of your year – those who’ve made it a whole lot better than it would have been without them.

Do it one at a time.

Let me know how you get on.


P.S. Merry Christmas!