Not many podcast interviews happen at 30,000 feet, but in this episode of The Pivot, that is exactly what host Todd Wheatland accomplishes. On a flight from Los Angeles to Sydney, Todd uses the time to sit down with the funny and talented Tim Washer, Cisco Senior Marketing Manager, who shares his journey as a comedy writer and video content creator. Grab a seat and join them on this unique podcast flight, and please excuse the ambient noise.
Listen to Todd’s full interview with Tim Washer here:
What may surprise you
- Tim credits his dad, a Presbyterian minister, for his sense of humor and desire to teach others.
- Tim earned his bachelor’s degree at Texas A&M and his MBA at University of Texas in Austin.
- He sold copiers for Xerox for five years.
- Amy Poehler was his improv instructor for a couple of years in New York.
- Tim did freelance comedy writing for Saturday Night Live and David Letterman.
Tim’s pivot was a two-part process. First, a career coach recommended some exercises by Kate Wendleton, author of the Five O’Clock Club book series.
In one activity, she walks the reader though a series of questions to get to the heart of what the reader really loves to do and enjoys. Through this process, Tim connected with his joy of comedy and realized that was what he wanted to do for a living.
Second, Tim thought that becoming a speech writer might be a good fit. He could continue in a corporate position with a salary and benefits as well as fulfilling his desire to write and entertain. He joined IBM as a speech writer and in one of his first opportunities suggested a comedy video instead of a joke. He pulled it off, the audience loved it, and Tim found he could work in corporate and be funny.
Content marketers should do improv
Tim’s diverse background as both analyst and comedy writer may seem a bit out of place in the world of marketing. But it’s this combination of traits and skills that allows him to create content that truly resonates with audiences. In an industry focused on storytelling, audience engagement, and community, comedy can get to the heart of it all. Content marketers who take an improv class are able to be more authentic in the stories they tell. Get outside of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to take some risks.
I think everybody is trying to communicate whether you’re a marketer, accounts, PR, or whatever. You should go to stand-up comedy because you get out of your mind. Instead of thinking about, ‘Here’s what I want to say,’ you’re always thinking about here’s what the audience will hear and you really scrutinize … the synonyms are, you know, the … antidote.
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski