At “Business Karaoke,” 10 people volunteered to present slideshows they had never seen before. The event, held Friday in the Welles-Brown Room, was co-sponsored by Drama House and iZone.

“We’re just basically going to have some fun with presenting and feeling okay public speaking and seeing how well people can bullshit,” sophomore Deniz Cengiz, an iZone student employee, said in the introduction.

Approximately 25 attended, many pleased by the humor that presenters thought up on the fly. Though several presenters were from Drama House or had improv experience, others were trying it out for the first time.

According to Cengiz, the concept for “Business Karaoke” was first introduced by Drama House for a newcomer orientation, and iZone workers thought it fit in with their mission well. The workers then created slideshows they thought would be funny for participants to present, borrowing one from the original Drama House version.

Though the event was originally planned to be held in iZone, it was moved due to sound issues.

Each slideshow had a “topic slide,” which gave a title for the upcoming presentation, and the presenter was given a minute to gather their thoughts after being told the title. From there, they were plunged into the chaos of pitching the idea based on five unfamiliar, and often peculiar, slides.

The topics included desert island survival, “groundbois,” acing fifth grade, how to tell a cat about sex, the importance of cleaning your dishes, and why you should drop out of school to join a circus.  

Sophomore Eddie Hock, a Campus Times staff member, went first, delivering a presentation on how to tell your parents that you identify as an attack helicopter.

Hock began his pitch: “Rene Descartes said in his 1641 [book] ‘Meditations on First Philosophy,’ ‘I think therefore I am.’ This became the foundation for ontological thought for hundreds of years to come. I think we can carry this into the logically following statement: ‘I think I am an attack helicopter, therefore I am an attack helicopter.’”

The subsequent and equally bizarre topics, along with the improvisational nature of the event, led to some humorous new discussions. A slideshow calling Santa Claus a criminal for his mistreatment of workers and borderline pedophilia led to a five-minute speech on the ills of our capitalist system. A pitch about growing bonsai trees in dorm rooms turned into a list of weapons that can be used to protect a bonsai tree, and a meditation on dark magic that can be used on plants that die in the cold Rochester winters.

The event forced participants to ad lib and act confidently. Though some participants were quicker on their feet than others, they all provided laughs in a difficult environment. iZone may hold more Business Karaoke nights in the future.

Tagged: iZone

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