Themed shows are comedy shows that are based around a premise, like a show where you do your set while high, or a show where you have to fight bears in between jokes. These shows have popped up everywhere, and they have finally gotten to Spokane, and they have been pretty successful. Let’s talk about why they are so popular.
I think they biggest reason they are popular right now is because they are cheaper to put on. Most of these shows profit off the door instead of some set amount that the establishment is giving the show runners. This makes it really easy for a spot to agree to let it happen a couple of times just to see if they will benefit. Now, in a perfect world, you could get some money and the door that way you could pay people from further away to participate, but that isn’t usually the case.
It is popular with comedians because they get to do something that is a little bit different then their average show. In Spokane, I kind of help with a show called Drink N’ Debate. It is a show where four teams of three go up and argue an issue. The twist is that the topic is given five minutes before they step on stage. This means they have to form their arguments right before they get on stage. This works the improv muscles a lot! Comics seem to embrace it because it is not often they are forced to come up with stuff on the spot. There is also a team aspect, so you are dependent on the rest of your team being equally as good or at least good at staying on message.
It is good for the show runners because they can get a lot of comedians on the bill and since it is a specialty show, they don’t have to pay anywhere near normal. You are basically getting a lot of comedians for less than they are worth. If you tried a show like this with the same amount of comedians that we have for Drink N’ Debate, then it would be upwards of 500-600 dollars. Since this is a show with a theme and you are not asking the comedians to perform their acts, I think this allows them to do the show for little to no money. Our show is such that their is a pot to the winner. People who win rounds get a pitcher of beer, but other than that if you don’t win the night, you don’t get any money. Now, I would love to pay all the comedians, but it makes it real competitive.
Lastly, these types of shows are great for people that are turned off by stand-up for some reason, but still want to laugh. Audiences tend to forget that when they see the show has a twist to it. Our first show was really well received, more so then if it were just 15 comedians doing their sets. This is a great way to get people that are new to live shows to come out without thinking the usual stereotypes that are associated with stand-up comedy.