Dr. Deming, Stand Up Comedian


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There is a wonderful two-hour video of Dr. W. Edwards Deming addressing a university in Connecticut back in 1990. There's so much wisdom in what he says… but some have impatience, hin this fast-paced ADD day and age, for what could sometimes be a slow delivery from Dr. Deming. If you have the time, I suggest watching the whole video. Unfortunately, you can't see what he's writing on the transparencies, so you basically just have to listen.

Dr. Deming has some very funny moments… I've curated links to some of the funnier moments in these clips, below. Fans of the show “Louie” might appreciate by badly-done parody of the show's opening title shot… or the clip video that I created further down in this post.



Here are clips from the Vimeo video and scroll down to see my editing of the funniest clips into a single homage to “Louie” and Dr. Deming.


Dr. Deming asks the audience what the problem is in America. A man yells, “Democrats.” After a long pause, Dr. Deming says (I assume gently pointed at him), “Nothing takes the place of knowledge.”

Start playing at 5:08

A Near Blooper

Dr. Deming almost writes on the glass and then goes on a mini rant about how he COULD write on the glass, but he'd have to erase… and a paper napkin is the world's scarcest resource.

Start playing at 8:18

The Failure of Best Efforts

Deming asks if anybody is not putting forth their best efforts, please stand up. Maybe we'd be better off if some people took turns coming to work?

Click to play at 14:47 until 15:19 or so

Management by Results

Dr. Deming says that this approach to management is “mind not required… reflex action.”

Click to play at 24:31 (for about 10 seconds)

No Below Average Wages

In this clip, Dr. Deming talks about a failed attempt, in England, to pass a resolution that nobody could be paid a “below average' wage, which is, of course, funny to those who have a passing knowledge of statistics. He said it failed passing by three votes. “It would have been funny if it passed,” said Deming to laughs.

Click here to start playing at 27:18

My Deming/Louie Parody Video

(YouTube Link)

What are the most important lessons, to you, from Dr. Deming's work and teaching?

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.



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