It’s the TED Talk to end all TED Talks. Though it isn’t actually a TED Talk. It’s a comedy skit.
The work of Canadian satirist team This Is That, the Thought Leader parody skillfully and hilariously deconstructs the typical TED Talk, showing how even the worst ones still have the potential to impress an audience if certain techniques are employed by the speaker.
“In 2005, I met another ‘thought leader’ and I asked him how he became a ‘thought leader’ and he said, ‘I don’t know.’ It was then that I knew I could be one too,” performer Pat Kelly jokes in a post accompanying the video.
The sketch is four minutes of superbly crafted material, delivered deadpan by Kelly as he talks intelligently and wisely about nothing at all.
“I am a thought leader,” Kelly tells his attentive audience at the start of the presentation.
“You know that I’m a thought leader because I’m wearing a blazer, I have glasses, and I’ve just done this with my hands,” he says while putting the fingertips of each hand together.
As he spouts non-sensical phrases about being a thought leader, Kelly also describes various presentation techniques that TED Talk viewers are certain to immediately recognise.
“I’ll now walk over to my laptop, and by doing so I’m demonstrating to you that as a thought leader, I understand technology. And that there will be slides. Because everybody knows that a presentation seems more legitimate than it actually is if there are slides.”
There’s plenty more, so check it out for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.
The Onion rolled out some pretty good TED Talk spoofs with its own Onion Talks a few years back, but this one from This is That tops the lot.