Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Legally Bland

Many people find it contradictory that a CPA can write humor for the radio and do standup. Yet it is this disassociative identity disorder which got me my current job; comedy writing came up during my interview and the CEO said, "you will fit right in with the sick people we have here" (I may be paraphrasing, but I'm not kidding). If you don’t think a CPA/CFO can be funny, you haven’t seen the financial statements I prepare.
For some reason, when a writer needs a character to be really boring, the character is an accountant. But the fact is that the most boring. Professionals. Ever. Are lawyers.
I know of a few accountants that have become comedians: Fred MacAuley, Gary Gulman, Bob Newhart and me. I can’t name one lawyer who became a comic…because I didn’t Google it (so don’t fill the comments with examples).
Comedians aside, the only reason people don’t identify lawyers as boring is that the stench of scum-sucking and bottom-feeding repels us before we ever detect the eau d’ennui that clings to them. When the Stereotype Board was handing out assignments, lawyers had their hands so full with “Shady”, “Shyster”, “Ambulance Chaser” and similar plaques and certificates that when “Boring” was bestowed to them, they turned to the accountants and said, “here, hold this”, and we did.
Accountants are people who wanted to be lawyers but didn’t want to deal with the three years of law school. We spent too much time partying and being fun guys to qualify for law school anyway. And it must be that Law School has courses on Advanced Boring.
My “lawyer = boring” theory was confirmed today when I attended a seminar on “The Legalities of Doing Business in China”. You probably fell asleep just reading the title of that. The seminar was given by lawyers, for lawyers. I was there because my company does business in China and I needed to know something about the taxes and regulations. It was one long day of legal terms: “forbearance”, “binding” and “regulatory”; I thought I was at a gastro-interology seminar.
The guy who was put in to bat cleanup (speaking after lunch and trying to keep us all awake) was the most boring of all. What’s more, he kept losing his place in his notes. He droned on about, “to secure…uh…, uh, intellectual property is….uh…paramount and…you, uh, need to do due diligence on…uh... your trading partner and….uh….blah, blah, blah….uh….blah, er, I mean, blah.”
Ben Stein! That’s who! Ben Stein is a lawyer who became a comedian. And what sort of character does this lawyer/actor play? He’s the boring guy. (This is the only video of Ben's most famous role I could find. It is obnoxious, so just watch the first part.)

Lawyers don't get but they vote for my entries.


Cali said...

Bravo. I just posted about how crunching numbers is cool now. (PS- don't read my blog, it's not nearly as cool as yours)

JohnnyB said...

Thanks, Cali. I did look at your blog and, you're right, it pretty much looks like an accountant did it. No, wait, I mean it was very nice! I have no idea how you found my blog or what you see in it.

Anonymous said...

Most of the accountants I know are VERY funny guys! Accountants rock!


The Hypocritical One said...

Interesting...I suppose my Dad was a pretty funny accountant.

He used to revel me with tales of introducing the first computer at his work when they came out...he could spin a funny yarn.

Engineers---not funny.

Susan said...

Yeah lawyers and engineers might tie for most unfunny.

AoE said...

I was always under the impression that actuaries were the only people more boring than accountants. p.s. that crack about lawyers is a defamation suit waiting to happen ... expect a summons :)