Strategy and Comedy: More Reality TV

Great examples of good and bad strategy on the latest episode of Last Comic Standing. For those who don't follow this show (and why should you?), each week two comedians face each other before an audience that knows that one of the two will be eliminated from the show based on their votes. Gary Gulman, the winner, used a great strategy, concentrating less on being funny than having the audience get to know him personally an like him. He may or may not have been as funny as his opponent, Ant, but Gulman realized that people wouldn't vote him off if they liked him. Ant, on the other hand, concentrated more on joke and made the tragic strategic error of attacking Bush at one point rather viciously. Now, in a 50/50 nation, this is automatically alienating a segment of the audience. Despite the fact Ant probably got more laughs, Gulman won 74%-26%. The big lesson here is not to lose sight of the prize. Many contests, like this show, are appear to be about something--like who is the funniest--while they are really about something else--who do you like the best?