We’ve all had to wait for a meeting to start, whether at the doctor’s or in our own conference room. But according to one source, the famous Marx Brothers figured out a system for ensuring that they never had to wait for a meeting.
The story comes from IMDB:
Producer Irving Thalberg would often call people in for meetings, and then keep them waiting in his office for hours while he attended other meetings on the MGM lot. One day, during pre-production for A Night at the Opera, Thalberg kept The Marx Brothers waiting for several hours in his secretary’s office, while he was in his own office making phone calls. When Thalberg’s secretary went home for the day, the brothers decided they’d had enough. They pushed the office file cabinets against Thalberg’s door, trapping the producer in his office. Afterwards, Thalberg kept his appointments with the Marx Brothers, but would often interrupt his meetings with them and step out to attend other meetings – again keeping the brothers waiting for hours. One day, Thalberg came back from another meeting to find Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, and Harpo Marx sitting in his office completely naked, and roasting potatoes on sticks in his office fireplace. Thalberg sat down with them, had a potato, and never missed or interrupted another meeting with the Marx Brothers.
Failure is the secret to success. A crazy technique like this might only work if you’re a world-famous comedy family, but the message is still the same. Sometimes you have to take dramatic risks in order to create the possibility of a better outcome.
And always remember: for any meeting, bring potatoes.