We have talked about two of the most important parts of gathering a promotional package that will attract bookers and promoters. Although this one is not as important (in my opinion), work still needs to be applied to the bio of your promotional package. It gives the booker and anyone else reading it (like say a random person walking by a flyer at the comedy club) a glimpse into the what you are about.
The Biography should not be a novel. Let’s get that out of the way. If you are building a character that will go on adventures with a black guy, first, I think that’s been done before and second, you are missing the put of the bio. It just tells the reader real quick of your style and accomplishments. The reason this can be important is it tells the reader what to expect when they pay to see you, and where you’ve been before coming to North Dakota.
There are some things I think you should avoid. Stay away from words like edgy and raw. That was done to death back in the 80’s and it makes you sound like you are trying to be a rebel or a shock comedian. Stay away from lines like “views on his zany life” or stuff like that. Why? Because the audience is not stupid to comedians. You know how in zombie movies/shows they act like zombies are not a thing in their universe? Like it isn’t pop culture knowledge about the traits that zombies have? The opposite applies here. The average person has seen comedy and will know that you might talk about something that happened to your life. It seems outdated to me.
My bio is rather short because I hate writing about and hyping myself up. That is what you HAVE to do though! You have to give them a reason to book you. A bio that is nothing but you trying to make the reader laugh is cool, but if it doesn’t go over in their heads then you look like you are trying to hard. I usually throw in a couple funny lines, but nothing too polarizing. You also have to make sure your accomplishments are thrown in there as well. When I did the Seattle International Comedy Competition I had to write up a small bio of myself and I didn’t put anything in there that would make someone think I was other than a comic from Spokane. See, it is a sad truth, but people don’t want to spend their money on an unproven hack. They want someone that has done stuff. Now, you can throw in stuff like who you opened for (don’t use open for though, use “worked with” sounds better), but if you only opened for the local chainsaw carver and you are trying to get booked in the big city, no one knows who that is so there is no clout there. If you opened for like a known comic throw that in there. People like to see those familiar names. It assures them that at some point you were vetted. Is that true 100% of the time? Hells nah! Sometimes it means you were the only one in town with a solid 10 minutes when Bill Burr came through. They don’t know that.
Some people go by the philosophy of stretching fact in the bio. I’m in the undersell over deliver camp. I would rather not say I was on Comedy Central if I was ON Comedy Central. People will put in there that they were on some major network, knowing that most people are not going to bother to research it and get to the bottom of it. It comforts the brain knowing that the person they are about to see is not just a hobo right off the street.
Last thing. Keep it to about a half a page. If you have so much that you have to convey to the reader you may need to find another medium in which to do it. Get a website or something. This isn’t a memoir. It’s to deliver a quick message on your abilities. Writing too much will bore the reader and they may say, “forget this!” and you lost a fan.
Keep these things in mind when writing up your bio and you are 3/4’s of the way to super stardom…ok…so I over sold that just a bit, but you get what I was trying to say.