The Secret Of Hallmark's Humor

You wouldn't think Kansas City would be the place where some of the funniest writers and most talented artists come to work. But they're there — at Hallmark.

As part of The Early Show's "Summer In The City" tour, correspondent Jeff Glor got to spend a day at Shoebox, Hallmark's humor division, for some serious reporting.

The venerable card marker is well-known for its emotional, tearjerker cards, but it has a tiny and prolific division dedicated to doing just the opposite: making you cry with laughter.

Bob Holt and Mike Adair are the writers, artists, and voices of "Hoops and Yoyo," Hallmark's newest characters. They record themselves in a converted office at Hallmark.

Their creations go online as e-cards or straight to the store shelves as sound cards.

The funny stuff comes from Shoebox. While Hallmark has more than 16,000 employees worldwide, Shoebox has fewer than 50.

On many mornings, Shoebox writers get together and read through their card ideas. Some come out of thin air; they're spur-of-the-moment creations, while others are inspired by funny photographs.



to get a behind the scenes peek at Hallmark's creative process.

Only about 10 percent of what gets read in the meetings even has a chance of becoming a card.

At Shoebox, the motley crew of writers is a source of the originality.

There's Andre, the former Ringling Brothers clown, and Dan, the ex-youth minister who officiated at co-workers' weddings. There's a classically-trained Greek scholar, a flight attendant, and then there's Bill Gray, who played rock 'n' roll drums for a while, sold shoes, and worked in a factory.

Gray was one of the first employees at Shoebox when it opened 21 years ago. "I got this job and the first time I sat in a read-through meeting, I just knew this was it. I mean, 'This is it! I'm not going anywhere. They're going to have to drag me outta here. This is what I want to do,' " he remembers feeling.

So, what's the magic formula for comedic success at Shoebox?

"Keep it short, get to the joke, try to talk like people really talk, and the word 'pants' is the funniest word in the world," Gray observes.