Last week, I told you about a speech I gave at McGill University for its marketing students. I wasn't gonna tell you about another McGill-related speech I gave the day before, but seeing the reaction it garnered--and how my ramblings fit the theme of this blog--I guess I should come clean.
The event was called "Are We American?", a look at Canadian Culture in North America. Given my Just For Laughs heritage, I was conveniently placed in the Humour section with three others, and figured that this was one of those polite panel discussions where we would be asked questions and banter about happy things happily.
Well, less than a week from speak-day, I received an email with these instructions:
"For your formal remarks, however, please remember to speak into the microphone on the podium. As this is not primarily an academic conference, your presentation need not be overly formal."
Uh, "Formal"? "Presentation?" Sorry folks, too busy, too late. So, given the topic of the conference, instead of a dry, podium-delivered platitude, I decided to live up to the standards set by Surprise Central, channel my inner American, and rant.
And rant I did. About how "you get what you pay for," and since I wasn't getting remunerated, I wasn't putting out. About how sick I am about being the polite Canadian, and being quiet all the time. About how I wasn't just going to ignore the other speakers, but use my Blackberry during their presentations. All this while sporting a "Proud Republican" t-shirt I had bought in Chicago on Super Tuesday.
Well, the room was indeed shocked. And of course, being filled with Canadians, they politely applauded after being yelled at and insulted for five minutes. The end result? Perhaps it's best expressed by blogger Jenni Campbell, who said:
"Andy Nulman’s contribution to the panel was either profoundly subtle in its lampooning of Canadian’s perceptions of Americans, or in-your-face obnoxious. He got up when it was his turn to speak and announced that, because he wasn’t being paid to speak at the conference, he was going to shrug off the polite Canadian act and behave how an American would were he to be asked to give a talk and participate in a discussion without the appropriate remuneration...
"One reason why I found Nulman’s schtick to be so painfully funny upon reflection was because I spent most of it thinking what a jerk he was and how very uncivil and un-Canadian he was being."
Heh heh heh. As George W. himself would've said, "Mission Accomplished."