benhuh
Ben Huh at the Real Estate Connect conference.

SAN FRANCISCO — You’d think that the chief executive of an internet humor company would be happy to talk about how his company is disrupting the way we think about what’s funny. You’d be wrong.

When Cheezburger CEO Ben Huh took the stage today at the Real Estate Connect conference in San Francisco, he confessed that the humor network isn’t really interested in disrupting anything.

“A lot of technology people will stand up on this stage, or on any other stage, and say ‘we’re here to disrupt airline travel, dishwasher installation, whatever,’ okay? We are not here to disrupt anything,” he said. “We’re here to enable more people to have moments of communication and connection with one another. We’re a bit like Bob Ross. We want to teach people to paint happy little trees like Bob Ross, we want to teach people to paint happy little moments.”

Huh, who runs the Seattle-based website network that includes I Can Has Cheezburger and Know Your Meme, might have seemed out of place on stage at a real estate conference. But the annual event, run by Inman News, has a tradition of hosting a variety of tech execs to share lessons with the real estate pros.

Cheezburger is in the midst of some lessons of its own these days — recently laying off 35 percent of its staff as it adjusts to the tougher advertising environment on mobile devices.

still-a-better-love-story-than-twilightAs part of his talk, Huh also shared insights into the world of memes, pointing out that they can serve as a test to see if you share a sense of humor with someone.

“When you post an image or a video that makes somebody else instantaneously laugh, what you’re saying is: ‘if you get this, if you understand this, you understand me,” Huh said.

To illustrate his point, he showed an image of Tom Hanks in “Castaway” with the caption: “Still a better love story than Twilight.” As he pointed out, laughing at that image requires knowledge of three key facts.

“One: there’s a movie in which Tom Hanks has a love affair with a volleyball. Okay? There’s second, a movie called Twilight, third, everybody loves to hate on Twilight,” Huh said. “The moment you laughed at this image, I knew that you understood those three things.”

Comments

  • jamesian

    What if company markets itself as providing humor tests that employers can use to decide if the candidate “gets it” or not? If they don’t laugh – resume gets thrown out.

  • Guest

    Thank you, Ben. Your leadership has made Cheezburger Network the most popular, most profitable, and most skillfully-run humour site on the Internet.

    Thank you.

    • Macro

      Are you serious?

  • Guest

    Um… Bob Ross actually created things. He didn’t steal other peoples creative work and claim it as his own. He also wasn’t an @ss

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