Talent shows (especially ones for work) are the perfect way to bond, mix, and have a few laughs. They can also be a great way of breaking the ice and allowing groups to promote themselves and their skills.
The concept behind a talent show is simple—short allocated slots for each individual participating to showcase their skills in front of an audience.
One-Minute Talent Show Ideas
If you are looking for easy but funny one-minute talent show ideas because you can’t bare to be on that stage any longer, this is the list for you. They are designed to be simple but entertaining, so you can still participate even if you get stage fright.
Do an impersonation of a celebrity
This one might take a little longer to get the knack, but once you have spent some time researching your character, you might find you have unlocked a natural talent here. The trick to nailing this talent show idea is ensuring you have correctly mastered their hand gestures, speech patterns, and facial expressions.
This article is an excellent place to start if you want to learn how to pull it off. When it comes to picking which celebrity, consider your audience. It might be sensible to avoid controversial or political figures and go for TV characters instead, such as Kermit the Frog, Daenerys Targaryen, Homer Simpson, Mrs. Doubtfire, or Fonzie.
Read a poem
There are lots of great poems and even funny limericks you could use to entertain your audience, and they are short enough that you can perform them in less than a minute.
Bored Panda has a selection of prose to start you off, but if you feel brave enough, you could think about writing your own.
Ride a unicycle
This one isn’t as hard as it sounds. While different people learn different skills at different paces, it is estimated that learning to ride a unicycle should only take between 10 and 15 hours – that means just an hour a day over 2 weeks, and you should be ready to go!
You can pick up a unicycle quite cheap, especially secondhand, and there are lots of online tutorials.
Start slow, get a friend to help, wear a helmet, and you will be impressing everyone in no time.
Funny Talent Show Ideas
If your friends tell you you are a natural-born comedian, then we have some ideas that you could try for your talent show that are all based on comedy.
If you have a hula hoop already, this one is great to show people. It is quite easy to pick up once you get the hang of it. After a few hours, you will be able to make it look easy. You can make your routine extra engaging by inviting others to come and try it.
If you want to make your act look even more impressive, try juggling while hula-hooping or even jumping rope.
It might not be easy to do with a straight face if you have never tried it before, but learning how to yodel to a basic level won’t take long.
You could get some of your colleagues on board for a yodeling battle to make it even more entertaining.
Perform a stand-up comedy routine
If you’re quick with a joke, you could find that writing a stand-up comedy routine isn’t as difficult as you might expect. Get started by writing down lots of different one-line jokes / funny anecdotes about yourself or your own life.
You will only need about 20 to fill up a slot of 3 – 5 minutes. The standup subreddit has a great post talking through everything you need to consider if you decide to do this for your talent show routine.
Again, avoid anything that might be controversial or harmful, and remember, if you are going to make jokes about people, ‘punch up,’ not down—i.e., if you are going to tease a group of people, make sure you are not doing so at the expense of marginalized or oppressed groups.
Perform a funny skit or short play
If you have friends who also want to participate in the talent show, team up together and consider a funny scene from popular films or TV shows; Harry Potter, The Office, Flight of the Concord, and Friends all have brilliant, funny skits that could work perfectly.
If you want something more challenging, try writing your skit using the most iconic movie lines of all time, with your team acting out each scene and quickly changing into the next costume for the next line.
Talent Show Dance Ideas
While it only works in an environment where you can get the room really dark, a glow stick dance performed properly is a mesmerizing display of lights and sounds. To make the costume for the glow-stick dance, you want to get all-black clothes, including shoes, leggings, and a long-sleeve t-shirt.
You then attach glow sticks (either by sewing or pinning them into the fabric) in the shape of a stick man.
Once you have made the costume, you should learn a choreographed dance. In the dark, it should just look like a glowing stick man dancing.
We think this idea works best in a group, but it can also be done on your own.
Perform a dance routine
If you are a great dancer, that is great, but even if you are not, much of the humor in a talent show is the unexpected. This means this idea is accessible to everyone regardless of their dancing skill. Check out the trending dances on YouTube or TikTok if you need ideas.
Mimic a famous dance
Think of the Napolean Dynamite Dance or the music video for Okay Go—Here It Goes Again (if you can find that many treadmills) or even the Evolution of Dance. You can find tutorials on YouTube, and they are quick enough to learn that they can give an impressive performance.
Were you a cheerleader in school? Or maybe you always wanted to be but were never picked for the team? Now is your chance to shine. Get your cheerleading outfit out, buy a new one online, and start memorizing some cheerleading moves.
If you are a group of guys looking for a talent show idea, don’t feel this one is off-limits. It might be even more entertaining for your team, and doing something a bit different could be fun for you.
Athletic Talent Show Ideas
Do you do a martial art? Like karate, jitsu, or judo? Now is your time to display these skills. The most impressive martial arts for talent shows are always the moves that break blocks or involve high kicks, so try to incorporate these into your routine.
It is also a good idea to wear your usual garb so that the piece looks appropriately authentic.
Roller skate routine
Remember roller skating when you were a kid? Time to dust off the skates again. Roller skating (especially quad skates) is making a fashionable come-back so that you will find tutorials on social media.
This talent show idea is perfect. If you want something, you can tailor it to your own skill set by making it as long and complicated or as short and simple as you like.
Juggle random objects
How good is your hand-eye coordination? If you replied ‘bad,’ this isn’t the talent show idea for you. However, if you know your right from your left and can catch with one hand pretty well, check out some YouTube tutorials on juggling. This tutorial teaches you in just 10 minutes how to juggle three balls. Once you have mastered juggling balls, it is time to move on to some random objects.
If planned properly, you could plant the objects around the talent show space, so it seems like you can juggle an office mug, a show, and a pair of car keys (funnier still if you borrow shoes from your colleague).
Bring along your soccer ball and show off some tricks like this entry from Jamie Knight on Britain’s Got Talent.
Show the audience your kick-ups, headers, goals, and other tricks to impress them. If you want to give this a fun twist, invite someone from the audience to compete with you and show off your nutmeg skills instead.
This is one of those ideas that you will need to be good at if you want to demonstrate it at a talent show, but if you consider yourself a bit of a yogi, then line up your best positions to demonstrate to your audience.
If you have mastered any of the advanced yoga poses (or if you can master one before your talent show), like a one-arm compass or a killer praying mantis, this will surely impress your audience.
Acrobatics and gymnastics
Not only will acrobatics and gymnastics be great for showing off your skills, but they will also be a good way of getting some exercise in while you practice your moves.
Here are some basic ideas you could start with:
When you’re up on the stage, choose a few that you can do most effectively and look most impressive. You could also challenge audience members to copy you and compete with you.
Fancy yourself to be a bit of a Robin Hood? Basic archery is relatively easy compared with other sports, and it looks pretty impressive, even at a beginner level.
If you have been doing archery for some time, you could level up by demonstrating, shooting apples, or moving targets. However, we would advise not attempting to shoot an apple on someone’s head.
Singing Talent Show Ideas
Either use someone else’s rap or make up your own to perform. Bonus points if you dress up into your rap, alter ego.
Parody a song
This idea mixes musical talent and lyrical talent. All you need to do is take a famous song and change the words into something funny. I went to a great party once where they had an open mic night, and one guest with a ukulele sang a hilarious cover of Radiohead’s Creep, changing the words for it to be a story from the perspective of a Jeep Wrangler.
You could pick a nursery rhyme, a classic song, or something in the charts if you want to keep it current.
Lip sync to a famous song
You can’t go wrong with this idea, especially if you commit to the character by dressing up. A lip-syncing talent show act works best if you choose something very far from your own style. Maybe you are a manager with a reputation for being quite serious. Use something silly or childish, like Baby Shark.
Or maybe your fashion style is usually gothic, so choose something like Carly Rae Jepsen and trade your thick black eyeliner for a glittery pink suit. For inspiration, check out the TV show Lip Sync Battle.
It will only work if you have other people in your office with similar skills but consider setting up an office choir or quartet to sing songs.
You could do it as an acapella group or any other music that resonated with your group. Who knows, it might become a regular after-work social group.
Sign language song
Speaking a second language, or even a third language, is an incredible skill, but sign language is often overlooked. With around half a million people in the US using American Sign Language as their first language, this talent show act could inspire your audience to have more awareness of the language.
There are lots of resources online, including Disney’s YouTube channel, which shows popular songs in ASL.
Musical Talent Show Ideas
Great if you want an easy talent show idea that doesn’t cost any money; bucket drumming just uses buckets and sticks. There are lots of tutorials on YouTube that will help you learn this skill. And who knows, you might like it enough to quit your day job and join a samba band.
Providing that you can play an instrument and you can get together a few others in your office, you could consider setting up a band.
All you will need is a couple of practice sessions with some of your favorite tunes and an office-themed band name. (The Water Cooler Quartets, the Paper Jams, etc.).
The cup song
This was a popular trend when the movie Pitch Perfect came out, but your office will love it. The idea is to perform a song while using cups to make the music.
You can find tutorials for the scene from the movie on YouTube, or if you are more creative, maybe you can make your own. Any song that is whimsical and folk-sounding will be great paired with the beat of the cups.
This is another talent show idea that only works properly if you already know the drums, but you can also do it as a comedy sketch if you are really bad at the drums.
Choose a popular song that will get your audience involved, or pair up with someone in the office who plays the electric guitar for a more impressive show.
You could even set up a projector screen to demonstrate your digital drumming skills using an app like Drumeo, which could be a unique way to showcase your musical talents.
Play an instrument solo
Now is the time to dust off the guitar in the attic and get to remember your school music classes. Even if you can only play a couple of songs, this is a sure way to impress your audience, whether you are playing the piano, violin, cello, flute, or any other musical instrument.
If you want to learn an instrument quickly just for your talent show, consider something a bit easier, like a harmonica or a recorder.
This one is sure to liven up your audience and is certainly different from all of the other acts. Make some of your tracks or mix some popular pieces using a smartphone app like Algoriddim.
Silly Talent Show Ideas
Is normal ballet too complicated for you? Try knee ballet. Simple, silly, but very entertaining. If you need some inspiration, check out Gorkha English School, which did a brilliant rendition.
You can get creative with this one and make it more elaborate if you have the creative skills to make little costumes or paint on costumes for your knees, or add a storyline and voices.
Do a magic trick
Some magic tricks rely on a lot of skill, but others just need you to be collaborating with someone in the audience. The most basic of all magic tricks would be setting up with your collaborator a system like this:
- Touch your nose for the middle card
- Touch your left ear for the card on my right
- Touch your right ear for the card on my left
During your talent showpiece, you will tell the audience you are psychic, and to demonstrate this, you are going to look away while one of them taps a card, and when you come back to the cards, you will be able to sense which card has been selected.
You could demonstrate this by turning your back and then escalating the routine into leaving the room or even the building altogether.
Of course, when you return to the cards, your co-conspirator in the audience will subtly use your pre-established code. If you want something more complicated or magical, there are many other ideas online (even if you don’t feel like you want to go complete Houdini).
I’m fairly sure this is one of the skills that every kid is born with, and we forget later in life. But now is the time to relearn. Find tutorials that start you off with the basics, and you’ll quickly be up there beatboxing with the likes of David Crowe.
If there are any other beatboxes in your office, you could pit against each other for a beatboxing battle or perform together.
Creative Talent Show Ideas
Using just a piece of softwood and a knife, you can whittle yourself all sorts of different things. Start with something easy, like a fox, before you move on to a more complicated piece. If you are good enough, you could whittle a large log for your audience.
Make a short film
We are lucky enough that most of us carry a smartphone in our pockets that has as much videography potential as many professional video cameras, so why not use it to make a creative short film? This could be a comedy, thriller, or anything else you feel interests you. If you are stuck for ideas, you could consider something silly like ‘A Day in the Life of My Dog,’ or parody a famous film like Titanic set in your bathtub using your kid’s teddy bears.
There are two main ways you can make pottery—using a wheel or not using a wheel. If you don’t have a wheel, you can use techniques like the ones described here.
Your talent show performance could be speed pottery—where you make as many little pots or cups or bowls as possible in a set amount of time—or you could do something a bit slower and spend more time on it.
Perform your own spoken word poetry
Similar to written poetry, spoken word is about expressing yourself. However, it is designed to be spoken out loud rather than read.
Put pen to paper and see what happens. Remember, you don’t need to follow any of the rules usually associated with poetry if you don’t want to. This means you don’t have to worry about it rhyming.
If maths isn’t your favorite subject, maybe it is science. You will need to get a table for this and buy some chemicals beforehand.
You might also want to check with the venue that you can use pyrotechnics.
Here are some ideas:
There are two ways a mime act can go—you either go down the traditional black and white mime route and mime being in a box or another classic skit, or you do something a bit more modern like this scene.
Recite a famous monologue
Think MacBeth’s ‘to be or not to be,’ or Romeo and Juliet’s ‘wherefore art thou,’ or any famous movie monologues. This idea isn’t too challenging to execute and only relies on you being able to remember a large chunk of text.
If you’re a serious entertainer, you can use this idea to showcase your skills, but if you are not, use exaggerated gestures and expressions to make your audience laugh.
Writing Talent Show Ideas
Makeup limericks on the spot
If you’re quick-witted and great at rhyming, then making up limericks might be for you.
A limerick is a funny five-lined poem, and it can be a fun way to (gently) tease some of your colleagues.
You could come up with some ideas beforehand and prepare them just enough to look like they are completely made up on the spot. Remember to follow the rules for writing a limerick for it to flow well.
Pick up your pens, paints, and posters, and show everyone your beautiful penmanship. If you need some brushing up on your skills, you could check out some tutorials online.
For your performance, you will want to ensure your lettering is large enough that everyone can see it. As for what to write—you could just demonstrate using the alphabet, or you could make some signs that are needed for the office.
Unique Talent Show Ideas
Everyone has a skill, and yours might be lock-picking. You might already know how to pick a lock (especially if you are the sort of person who locks yourself out of the house frequently), but if you aren’t, there are kits you can buy online.
A bit of trial and error mixed with some research on the subject, and you will quickly find you’re able to pick all sorts of locks. For your performance, make sure you use lots of different types of locks to really showcase your skills.
Did you know that firewalking isn’t actually painful? In fact, it won’t even be hot—if you do it correctly. The trick to fire walking is to do it quickly and to make sure you are walking on embers, not an active fire.
This talent show idea can only be done supervised by people who know what they are doing, so see if there are any groups in your area for people interested.
For this idea, all you need is some flowers (either real or fake) and a vase or oasis. Showcase your talent by showing your audience how you can arrange them most aesthetically.
At the end of your performance, gift your flowers to a colleague or use them to brighten up your office space.
This will take you back to your days as a kid wandering around a circus or a funfair, and your audience will love it—especially if they let you take a balloon animal home for their kids.
Grab a drinks trolley, a Boston cocktail shaker, some spirits, and a variety of colorful mixers, and you have got the beginning of a bartending talent show idea.
Choose some fun cocktails to make and research some basic flair techniques.
This might sound like a talent that you definitely can’t move from your back garden into your office, but you definitely can—you just need a projector.
Set up the projector to display a night sky video and point it at the ceiling. Put some classical music in the background to create a nice atmosphere, and get naming your stars and constellations.
This one is completely different from any other talent show entry and will really make you stand out from the cloud.
This act is not like the others and will certainly surprise your colleagues if it is something you opt for. For this demonstration, you will need a giant whiteboard (ideally one on wheels) and some whiteboard pens.
You will then ask the audience to shout out complicated maths questions.
As you perform your piece, answering them and showing the workings out on the board, you can make jokes and quick quips to keep people laughing.
Tip: if you are a bit worried that the questions will be too hard or not hard enough, plant some friends in the audience to ask you some predetermined questions.
Bring your cake decorating supplies out of the kitchen to show your colleagues all of the different things you can make. If you have the facilities, you could set up a camera above the cake to project the live video so everyone can see the details of what you are doing.
If this is an idea that you have the skills to do, remember to show off some of the more complicated skills, like making roses and fine lettering.
This idea is an idea for the truly talentless, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be entertaining. Take a piece of poetry that you enjoy and that you think your audience will enjoy and read for them.
You could choose one of the classics like Shakespeare’s sonnets or a piece of modern poetry, but either way, make sure you read it slowly enough that they can hear all of the words, and if it is funny, remember to emphasize the right places.
Artistic Talent Show Ideas
If you are a painter, you could use your work talent show as a way to showcase your skills by speed painting. You could do this by drawing cards with objects at random or by asking your audience to shout out different items to paint.
Give yourself a timer for each painting (about 60 or 90 seconds), and make sure you complete it within the time to really impress your audience.
Maybe you are a painter, but you don’t fancy speed painting. Instead, you might find that face painting is more fun. Either time yourself or choose to do really elaborate designs. Snazaroo has some great ideas that vary from basic to semi-professional.
Part funny, part athletic, hosting a mini Olympics is a way to make your audience laugh while also showing your talents. Alternate between different sports (like badminton, long jump, high jump, and hurdles), showing your best attempt at each sport.
You could also enlist your colleagues to compete with you.
If you’re into fashion, it’s time to dig out all of your favorite pieces to perform them in a catwalk show for your audience. Make sure to find your most elaborate pieces so you can truly show off down the runway.
Unusual Talent Show Ideas
A bit of a wild card, ventriloquism is an impressive art that can really entertain. You can pick up a small basic ventriloquist dummy for cheap and learn how to throw your voice quite quickly. Make it extra engaging by writing a script that ties in character from your office or is set in a theme relevant to your work field.
Build a house of cards
Unlike the louder and more energetic acts, this talent show idea relies on patience and—quite often, silence. Get your audience going by encouraging them to whoop and cheer only after each row. Make sure you give this a practice run a few times before the big day to make sure you don’t rile them up for an unimpressive how.
Fold towel animals
You might think this talent is reserved only for people working in hotels and on cruise ships. Still, there is no reason you can’t learn how to make towel animals—especially if you are crafty or if you have already taken your hand at origami.
You could make the challenge harder by getting them to shout out other animals for you to make.
Okay, yes, you might not be able to get an actual full-sized swimming pool into your office for the talent show, but you might be able to get a small paddling pool which would make this act even funnier.
Take some ideas from the Olympic synchronized swimmers if you need some inspiration.
Almost everyone loves food, but fewer people enjoy the actual cooking process. If you are a culinary genius, now is the time to showcase your favorite recipes. Again, you need to consider your audience.
If your colleagues are interested in healthy eating, tailor your demonstration around healthy food. If they have dietary restrictions, keep these in mind. You can make your demonstration more interesting by including some flair into your demonstration, like juggling the ingredients or making jokes.
Show off some yo-yo tricks
When was the last time you used a yo-yo? They might have been all the rage in the 1990s, but some Gen Xs working in your office might never have seen one.
For this act, crack out your yo-yo or invest in a new one, and get practicing some tricks. (You get extra points if you wear acid-wash jeans and pull your hair back with a scrunchie before vibing to some nineties hits).
Pet talent show
If you are entirely out of any talent, and there is no chance that you will be able to learn anything new before your talent show, look to the help of your pets. Can your dog tackle an obstacle course? Or maybe your cat can do a series of different tricks?
Especially if you come up with a storyline and set it to music, you have got yourself onto a winner. This article can start you off with some ideas, and if you are looking for inspiration, check out this X Factor audition.
Talentless talent show entry
If all else fails and you have read this entire article and still haven’t found anything you think you would be good at, is there anything you are really bad at but you enjoy? Perhaps you love singing, but you are tone-deaf, or maybe you are completely uncoordinated, but you love nothing more than dancing around your kitchen.
As long as you are happy for your audience to have a little bit of a laugh at your own expense, a talentless talent show entry can make a comedic break between the talented acts.
6 Quick Tips for Organizing a Talent Show
If you’re feeling ready to host your office talent show, follow these simple, foolproof steps to ensure it goes without a hitch.
- Choose a location
The location can be anywhere from a community center to a break room to an outdoor space in front of the office. Consider if it is important for you to have electricity accessible and if there is enough room to fit all of your audience.
- Set up a stage
You can rent professional stage platforms, but you might find it possible to arrange the seating so that a cleared area can act as a stage instead.
- Advertise your event
Use social media, posters, word of mouth, and your company’s internet intranet to advertise the talent show. You want to choose methods that will guarantee many people will see it. Explain in your advert how long each slot will last (we’d recommend between 2 and 5 minutes).
- Mail or post sign-up sheets
The next step is to make sure there is a way for people to sign up. This will give you an idea of how many people will be performing, how long their performance will be, and what it will be like. (You can find a basic sign-up sheet template here)
- Plan the event
As you schedule all of your acts, you can either keep similar acts together or intentionally space them apart. We think the latter of these gives more variety.
Remember to schedule a small break in between each act if you need to change the setting or staging in any way.
- Have fun!
That’s it; you are all ready to go. Enjoy your talent show, and make sure to take lots of photos and videos for everyone.
Talent Show Ideas Takeaway
You want to make sure:
- Your talent show act is engaging. You can do this using either skill or comedy (or, if you’re super talented, a bit of both).
- You remember to bring all of the props you need, whether that is equipment, costume, or improvised pieces of a set.
- And practice, practice, practice before the big day to make sure it goes smoothly.
Are you looking for more ideas on how to break the ice and help bond your team better? Check out 12 Non-Awkward Team Bonding Activities That Build Trust.