I am a low middle level comedian. My occupation is “comedian”, but just barely. I make enough to have to file taxes on it, but I don’t make enough to have dental insurance. I completely understand where I stand in the comedic food chain. I will tell you about some of my experiences, and hope you can learn something from them.
When you are at the level I am at, you have to be comfortable with what is going on. Stressing over it doesn’t really solve anything. If anything it makes things worse. I know I am not a draw, unless the place I am going has had me there before and people remember the big black guy. My mistake once I got out of college was thinking that every club works like generic brand items in a grocery store. What I mean by that is, a lot of places where I perform, are serving people just generic comedy. The people going hope to have a great show, but they don’t know what they are getting themselves into. The clubs I was trying to get into however, want draws, people who can put asses in seats, and I am just not that person. So, I changed my approach to just trying to get hosting and feature spots in some of these clubs and use headlining road work to fill in the rest.
There is a problem with that strategy though and that is a lot of these clubs don’t want to go to far for their features. You have to put another person up in a room and stuff and it is mainly easier to just source your feature work from the community you have in the area. That meant if I wanted to get those spots, I’d better get more stuff on my resume. That means contest and stuff, so people can see that you are actually legit.
The work I do get includes long drives to small towns that just want to be entertained. There is a large market out there for entertainment in these rural areas. If the driving wasn’t so bad I would say that it is pretty good to go out and do your thing for these folks. The bookers that hire me know that I am just there to deliver generic entertainment so you do have to put up with certain things. You may have to wait on your payment, and that can take up to a week or more. The hotels are usually crummy, unless it is a casino, and if it isn’t a casino, expect it to have last been updated in the mid 90s.
My goal, like that of other comedians, is to move up to a point where people are coming just to see me. Sometimes, while I am driving down a long road in the middle of the heartland, I see it being very far in my future. I try to work hard everyday though so that when I do get a shot that I don’t blow it. Thanks for reading and have a great week.