What is a Master of Ceremonies?

Someone asked me recently “What is a master of ceremonies?” (AKA “emcee” or “MC”). I can sum it up in 4 words – Keeps The Event Flowing.

Okay, there’s a LOT more to it than that BUT if you haven’t explored using a Master of Ceremonies for your conference or event then you may be missing out on a GREAT resource. And, while this is a comedy writing blog, you MAY be asked to host an event because you’ve gotten so funny . . . so here’s 5 things that you need to do as the Master of Ceremonies.

Sure good food and drink, excellent content, and fun decor are important for an event or conference, but if attendees don’t feel included or have to watch someone who doesn’t want to be on stage – such as a volunteer or staff person – then the event can lose its pizazz.

Here are 6 Things a GREAT Master of Ceremonies will do for your event

1.      Make the attendees FEEL welcome – The Emcee kicks off the event by letting everyone know what a GREAT time they’re in for – NOT listing out where the bathrooms are located. As a comedian emcee, I always do some appropriate humor based on my research of the group and the event. It you’re not using a comedian, the emcee will still create some hype so the audience members’ eyes are on the stage, not their cell phones.

2.      Provide professional introductions. We emcees practice the names and know when to joke and when not to. People are proud of their accomplishments, so their moment on stage should be a nod to that with their name pronounced right and their successes highlighted appropriately.

3.      Keep everyone engaged the entire time . . . even the people not being recognized. I always make sure to include some humor and comments for the people who aren’t in the spotlight. After reading off a long list of project titles for a technical conference, I recently joked to the spouses that, “this is the reason you DON’T ask how their day went!”

4.      Handle the unknown. Stuff happens. The award winner steps out to the restroom or the electricity cuts out, but the Master of Ceremonies handles the stuff on stage, allowing the meeting professional to handle things off stage. You can’t do both (or at least you shouldn’t have to!)!


5.      Shine some light on your sponsors. Sponsors should get more than a quick PowerPoint slide and a mumbled thank you; the emcee knows this and will highlight sponsors accordingly, so the sponsor wants to sponsor again and again.

6.      Keep things rolling and on time. Speakers speak too long. Speakers speak too short. But your banquet food is coming out at a scheduled time. Professional MC’s know this and can edit or expand their remarks on the fly to fit the time.

Oh and P.S., most of us professional Emcees can also add some extras to your event such as a keynote!

If you want my article on tips on HOW to emcee your own event, send me a note.

But whatever you do – emcee it yourself or use a professional – Make it fun. Make it memorable. Make people want to come back.

Here’s my ComedyEmcee website

And here’s another post I did about being a Master of Ceremonies – happy emceeing!

Humor Article: Thunder From Down Under!

What does the Thunder From Down Under male “dancing” group in Las Vegas have to do with me? Well, I had an experience with them. Read all about it in my latest humor article titled “Thunder!”

I also had an experience with gift cards . . . which I also talk about in this humor article. Just shows you comedy makes for weird matches. A quick excerpt is here . . .

Years ago in Las Vegas,

I walked into the green room to get ready for my show at the Excalibur casino hotel and was confronted by about a dozen guys in various stages of undress—from thongs to short shorts and outright no clothes! What?! My comedy show was in the same show room as a very popular Australian men’s “dancing” group: the Thunder from Down Under.


Jan’s Humor Article

Have a great first week of the new year!! Thanks for reading!


PS. . . here’s a link to another one of my blogs. Check it out! I specialize in humor for businesses. Click Here,

About Jan

Jan McInnis is a Comedian, keynote speaker, Master of Ceremonies, & comedy writer. She has written for Jay Leno’s The Tonight Show monologues as well as many other people, places, and groups—radio, TV, syndicated cartoon strips, guests on The Jerry Springer Show (her parents are proud). For over 20 years, she’s traveled the country as a keynote speaker and comedian, sharing her unique and practical tips on how to use humor in business (yes, it’s a business skill!).  She’s been featured in The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post for her clean humor, and she’s the author of two books: Finding the Funny Fast – How to Create Quick Humor to Connect with Clients, Coworkers, and Crowds, and Convention Comedian: Stories and Wisdom From Two Decades of Chicken Dinners and Comedy Clubs.

Holiday Humor the Right Way

Remember the “Salad Shooter?” 🥗 Though it sounds like a robber at a vegetarian restaurant, this was an actual kitchen device invented in the 80’s to handle the headaches of chopping up lettuce – you could shave 30 or 40 seconds off of that salad chop!

Well, my mom got one for Christmas 🌲 the year they came out as the hot, new must-have item. And ya know what else was bright and shiny that Christmas? Camcorders! 🎥They were coming down in price and so our family had gotten one of those too.

Christmas Morning,

when no one was around, my brother Dan and I decided to have some fun by doing a “reporter on the spot” video with some of the gifts. We recorded each other making fun of the Salad Shooter. When the recording was over, I checked the footage and realized my first lesson in comedy – don’t be mean.

While our salad shooter commentary was hilarious (I’m sure!), we realized that the gadget was a gift someone had given her and it would be hurtful to mom and the gift-giver to make fun of it. Luckily we figured this out before showing our masterpiece to anyone, so the salad shooter footage got filed away.

This holiday season there will be LOTS of funny things you can joke about – from crazy relatives to weird gifts, and terrible food. And while it’s tempting to crack jokes about them . . . don’t.

Humor should be used for good. Instead make jokes about yourself, the weather, the traffic 🚗or yourself in weather and traffic – or a myriad of other safe things (malls, crowds, etc. . .). Just don’t be mean to others . . . and when in doubt, run it through the “salad shooter” test. If it’ll hurt someone’s feelings, leave it alone.



check out my blog post on being a Master of Ceremonies: Click Here

And here’s my main website: TheWorkLady.com

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