Sometimes a Sense of Humor is Required

Rick’s Cabaret CEO Eric Langan

“Gentlemen’s Club” CEO Way Too Serious

By Eric Seidel, CEO
The Media Trainers

You’ve got to understand the interview environment ahead of time and adjust accordingly.

CNBC’s Mark Haines (pictured at left) has a precocious personality and he enjoys using it. He often finds humor in things, perhaps where we might not first sense it. But this one was easy and you knew ahead of time Mark would have some fun with it.

Rick’s Cabaret is a chain of 18 clubs in 10 cities that are euphemistically called “Gentlemen’s Clubs.” Of course, we all know what that means.

Business is good at Rick’s, despite the recession. When CEO Eric Langan was recently interviewed by Mark, Haines predictably reached for some double entendres, noting that the clubs report 48% of their money comes from service revenues. “What would those be?” asked Haines, tongue squarely in cheek. Not even a smile from Langan, as he described the availability of “private VIP rooms.”

Moving on Haines said he was surprised only 12% of revenue was from food sales, and wondered if customers just are not hungry. Langan, ever the straight man in this exchange, replied that food is a loss leader. Haines said, “It’s tough to chew with your tongue hanging out!” To which Langan dead panned: “Yeah.”

Throughout, it was clear all of this was flying right over the strip club executive’s head. Langan probably lobbied for this interview and certainly had to know it could/would be handled in a lighter way. And once he knew Mark Haines was the interviewer, did anyone consider doing some due diligence on Haines’ MO? Langan didn’t need to compete with Haines, but certainly he should’ve heard the humor and made the interview more fun for himself and his target audiences, who undoubtedly would’ve enjoyed the humor, too.

Haines (and viewers, most likely) had their fun anyway, unfortunately mostly at Langan’s expense. (See for yourself; just click on the video below.)

Leave a Reply