In my time doing comedy I have done many charity shows. Most of them were for causes I myself would support. The last one I did was for a comic that was shot in a theatre during a midnight screening of the dark knight rises. I always found charity shows interesting because it is both a way to do good and also a way to get your name out there.
Some of the ones I disliked we’re “roast”. This is were you basically make fun of a comic. I dislike them because people will say the most horrid things and then before they step of go, “but I love you man!” no! You just called my mom a whore! That’s not love. You insulted me and then covered it up. When asked to do events like that I just make up a story that isnt insulting and then leave.
Whenever I am doing a show in which I get paid, I carry my CDs to sell. I sell CDs, but some people sell shirts, baby cloths, and bumper stickers, anything that is funny and will get people to fork over some more money. I like selling CDs because I can make them myself so I have an exact amount for a given show. Not saying that having someone else make them is a bad thing, but if I invest 200 bucks in CDs I will be even more pissed if I can not get a profit from them. When I make them myself I am certain to make enough to make more and spending money.
The reason Comics sell merchandise is simple: Most shows don’t pay enough. For instance I did one show and made 100 bucks. Now after gas I would have been left with about 30 bucks. I sold 40 dollars worth of CDs. That isn’t a lot, but it was enough to get something to eat for a couple of days. It has helped me do an entire run and not spend any of the money I made from the show. Selling Merchandise helps features actually make money. Maybe not enough money to not go to work the next day, but at least enough to get a coffee on the way in.
When I first started I was weary of selling stuff. That changed when I saw Morgan Preston make 300 bucks one night selling shirts. I was amazed! He made as much as I was making the entire week in about an hour. That’s when I started selling DVDs, which did not sell that well. Then I switched to CDs and have watched the money…trickle in. I think that is because I am not a good salesman. I am almost embarrassed to be offering the thing for sale. I am not just taking a sharpie and writing my name on it. There is cover art! That is another part of being a comic I really need to get down in order to take advantage as much as possible.
Last Thursday I went to go feature in one of the few three night rooms this side of Washington state. Joker’s Comedy Club is always a great room and it is fairly close so you can get there in under 3 hours. For a road comic that is great. Things went south on Thursday when I was trying to get there and my tire blew. Now, I knew this tire was pretty messed up, but I did not know it was going to blow on me 45 minutes away from my gig. I tried getting the spare on and realized that my tire iron was missing (my car was stolen in March of this year). I called to get professional help only to be told that the spare needed different blots for the spare. So I get a lift from the roadside guy and get ready for my show. I am tired and now I have to worry about my car. I was broke. So the best I could hope for was CD sales helping me get the bolts I needed for the spare. What I didn’t take into account was that this was the weekend of the boat races in the Tri City area and so the turn out would be a toss up. I sold enough cds to get a happy meal.
The next day I get an angel by the name of David Albino. He not only bought a tire iron, but got me another tire! Didn’t even ask for anything. After the Friday show I drove to finally get some food when…my car cuts off in the drive through. It started and I parked it and scarfed down my meal. Saturday was spent trying to find something to do until the show because I was still broke. I went to the Columbia Center Mall and walked around feeling even more broke. When I tried to leave the car cut off again at an intersection and had to be towed back to the hotel. Once off the tow truck it started up, but I wasn’t taking chances. I walked over to the club, performed in front of a lukewarm crowd, and went back to the hotel wondering how much of my newly earned money was going to be going to fixing my car.
A road comic needs his car. If you don’t have a car, you are just a funny guy that hitchhikes. Because of how comedy works in the Northwest, if you want to get paid you have to be willing to drive a great distance to get to the funny. No car = No money. I invested a lot of my money into this car. It was supposed to be dependable and get me where I’m going. Once a car leaves me on the road a couple times, I no longer have faith in it. So I traded it in. Hopefully this car will get me where I need to be.