Last week Steve Ballmer resigned as Microsoft CEO — and launched his new career as a stand-up comic.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates is standing behind the stand-up. “It’s a logical transition,” says Gates. “If he does exactly what he did as the face of Microsoft, he’s going to knock ’em dead.”
For his new career, Ballmer has rebranded himself as “Stevie” Ballmer, and his first concert was a sellout. But he’s going to tread lightly at first, sticking to his “tried and true” material. Fan favorites include his famous “laughing at iPhone” interview and the spectacular “monkey dance” routine which has been put into service as Stevie’s raucous show-closer.
Due to Stevie’s overactive sweat glands, the first two rows of each concert are designated as a “splash zone.”
“I’ve dreamed of this ever since I was a kid,” says Ballmer. “I was lucky enough to get paid for rehearsing all of these years with Microsoft.”
As usual, Ballmer is serving as an inspiration to others. Now planning to follow in his footsteps are former Research In Motion co-CEOs Jim Basille and Mike Lazardis. They’ve been grooming their Abbott & Costello-like routine for several years, and are eager to get live audience feedback. “If one man can turn failure into a comedy act, we can do that twice as well.”
Dell CEO Michael Dell was said to have considered a similar career path, but he’s likely to stick to his side job as Apple jester.