Every other company is looking for ninjas, cowboys or superheroes. Every other conference talk is full of jokes, puns, comedy skits and personality. Nowadays, conferences breathe showmanship, but in our need to be the best of the best, the funniest of the funniest, we are excluding others. When less than exceptional becomes not good enough, the barrier of entry goes up and it is the underrepresented groups that suffer. When did we start mistaking programming conferences for stand up comedy shows? Our drive to be edgy, exceptional, memorable or controversial too often ends up with distressed audiences and badly handled PR scandals. This talk’s aim is to reflect on how this is a problem, how we’re all losing and how the cult of the stage hero needs to stop.