Much like plants need sunlight to survive, us entertainers thrive off real, genuine laughter. So, you can imagine the excitement when I was met with such a fantastic audience during my recent stint as corporate entertainer for the Merritt Group! The energy in the room was palpable, the laughs were out of this world, and the crowd was downright awesome. A phenomenal evening all around!
After dozens of virtual comedy shows throughout the pandemic, something about hearing and feeling laughter in-person again is truly therapeutic for performers like myself. Take a look at the elements that fed into such a wonderful night of corporate entertainment with the Merritt Group, as well as why a corporate entertainer like me is a no-brainer for events.
A Long-Awaited Albuquerque Trip with The Merritt Group
Order’s up! The Merritt Group (or Merritt Group Sonic) is the second-largest owner of Sonic franchises across the United States. Located in Las Cruces, New Mexico, the Merritt Group was founded in 1975 when leader Bobby Merrit bought his first-ever Sonic Drive-In franchise. Fast-forward nearly 50 years and 145 drive-ins later, and the Merritt Group has pioneered Sonic’s entry into new and developing markets across New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, and Colorado.
When I received the invitation to perform for various franchise owners who belong to the Merritt Group, I was ecstatic — not just because I love a good Sonic Blast, but because I knew I would be heading to Albuquerque, New Mexico! Now, as a professional performer, it’s rare that I go somewhere I’ve never been before… but Albuquerque was a first for me!
You might be wondering, “Hey Jeff, what’s so important about Albuquerque other than the Merritt Group event?” Well, as an avid Breaking Bad fan who’s only driven through the area on the way home to Vegas, I’ve been stoked to check out the Breaking Bad RV Tours in the city where the show was filmed! While I didn’t hit up the tour this time around, I did have the pleasure of staying at the Clyde Hotel downtown, where the Merritt Group franchisers were a total blast (pun intended!).
Why Corporate Entertainment for Association Events?
So, why corporate entertainment for association and employee events? Well, that’s a multi-faceted answer! Let’s break it down into my top reasons why a corporate entertainer is a must-have for corporate events. For one, a corporate entertainer is like a long-form icebreaker. We walk on the stage and immediately help the audience ease out of work mode and into network mode.
Secondly, the role of a corporate entertainer isn’t to just have the audience engage with us, but with one another. And how do we do that? With laughter, of course! A corporate entertainer lifts company morale with humor — we bring attendees together through laughter. We help to create lasting bonds and memories that strengthen a team and unite franchisees from across the nation.
Even more, a corporate entertainer specializes in clean comedy, a must-have for association events. Clean comedy evokes laughter without any swear words, politics, or religion. A clean comedian (like me!) generates big laughs without embarrassing volunteers or poking fun at someone’s appearance, sexual preferences, or ethnicity. In other words, it’s fun for everyone, no matter what!
Three Elements of Effective Corporate Entertainment
Corporate entertainment might seem like a no-brainer for association events, but what factors will make the event truly effective? After more than 10 years on the Las Vegas Strip as a Headliner with Caesars Entertainment, here are the three elements I believe every set needs to succeed.
1. High-Quality Production Details
Not every client will have an eye for production details, and that’s okay — that’s what a professional emcee and entertainer like me is here to help with! These high-quality production details make a world of a difference when it comes to a performer’s ability to fully work the stage, as well as how clearly the audience can see and hear the corporate entertainment set.
Fortunately for me, the Merritt Group team absolutely knocked the production details out of the park. They had a killer stage that was super long (even more space for unicycling!) with full, bright lights to capture all of the action. The addition of vertical video columns and massive 20×40-foot screens totally perfected my performance. Thanks, team!
2. Floorplan to Foster Connection
Round tables are the standard for association events, as they make it simple for small groups to gather, socialize, and take notes throughout the event. However, they also put a physical barrier between the entertainer and the audience. Thankfully, Barbara, my point of contact at Merritt Group, set up banquet chairs side by side on the dance floor in front of the stage!
Without those chairs, the audience would have been nearly 50 feet away from me. While I could still try to bridge that gap with big laughs, there’s something to be said about removing the physical barrier to enhance connection. With attendees seated elbow to elbows that laughter was contagious! Not to mention, banquet seating enhances the feeling of togetherness.
3. Professional Corporate Entertainer
Last but (certainly) not least, a trusted corporate entertainer is an essential element of entertainment that truly connects with a corporate crowd. A professional entertainer understands how to read an audience, knows how to select volunteers from the crowd, and has total control over his or her set. They can set up and instantly do their thing!
I was so happy to have the chance to perform an unedited, uninfluenced version of my corporate entertainment set for the Merritt Group, and was even happier that they absolutely loved it! The atmosphere felt more like a comedy club than it did an association event, in the best way possible. Sometimes the entertainment aspect can get buried beneath an event theme or desired message, so it was awesome to bring nothing but quality laughs to this corporate audience.
A Corporate Entertainer Who’s Mastered Every Element
Production knowledge? Check. Set-up and floor plan expertise? Double check. A professional entertainment career more than 20 years in the making? Check, check, and check! If you’re currently planning a corporate event for your employees or associates, ensure an evening everyone will love with the help of a corporate entertainer like me, Jeff Civillico.
Contact me today to learn more!