A white, middle-aged guy with glasses, a button-down shirt, jeans, a blazer, and a calm demeanor paces the stage as he tells a seemingly insignificant anecdote that actually has a deeper meaning.
Behind him are projected slides showing the planet Earth as well as some numbers, questions, and a few well-chosen charts.
The whole thing reeks of respectability. This guy must know what he’s talking about. See how well he uses that laptop? The audiences listens intently and nods, laughing and applauding at all the right times.
It is, in short, the ideal TED Talk, the one on which all others could and probably will be modeled. It is also a comedy sketch, specifically one created by Pat and Chris Kelly with Peter Oldring, all of the satirical CBC Radio program.
This Is That. In the bit, Pat is portraying a “thought leader” giving an inspirational speech at “the annual This Is That Talks in Whistler, B.C.” (Check those initials.) What exactly does a thought leader do? Not much.
He talks to audiences, mainly, using vague statistics and vaguer aphorisms, all while imparting nothing of real value.