For eight years, Ben Bernanke played the straight man as a buttoned-down, humorless central banker straight out of central casting.
For one afternoon, at least, he let loose a little and showed a few thousand financial pros that even guys who had to bear the weight of the world on their shoulders can laugh a little, too.
Bernanke spoke to a room of thousands at the Schwab IMPACT conference in Denver, a gathering of more than 2,000 investment advisors as well as another thousand or so folks who flock to the annual gathering.
As speakers at such events often do, Bernanke started off with a joke. But this wasn't dorky banker humor. He was actually funny.
He talked about sending his daughter off to college for the first time, whereupon her roommate asked her what her father did for a living.