Comedians are always out trying to get work and that means proving to the promoter/client why you are worth what you are worth. I have written articles on why its important to get what you think you are worth in every instance in which you can. This article is a little different (and a little late, blame World of Warcraft). I will tell you how you can look someone in the eyes and tell them why you are asking for that amount.
Think of it as a full time job: I never understand why comedians are never thinking of comedy as a job. Almost everyone I talk to would like to do nothing, but comedy but how can you when you don’t think of it as something that can replace the money you make during your day job.
What niches do you fill: You have to be able to know what demographic you attract. Do you bring in the younger crowd? Do you bring in the wine drinkers? Maybe the type of comedy you do attracts a certain person. My friend Michael Glatzmaier, plays the guitar and improvs songs. That is an incredible niche that can fit in a variety of situations. Comedy is not just bars and clubs anymore. There are retirement communities out there that are looking for entertainment, and if you work clean (at least PG-13), you can book those shows during the weekday and still have the weekend available. If you know what niche you fill, you can express that to whoever is looking to hire you.
Sicker than the average: I had someone email me from a place and wanted to know what I charge. Once I told them, they asked me why I would charge that much when they could get someone for half that. This happens a lot during the holiday booking season (this was one of those shows). This is when you have to hype yourself up a little. I am not that good at doing this, but in order to justify why I charge what I charge, I will state some information for them.
The first thing I let them know is how long I have been doing it. This should express to them that I have been in enough situations to perform a show that the majority of people in the room will enjoy. Then I let them know that for what they are looking for, (which makes it important to know the talent pool in the area) there are not that many that can do it. This is why it is so important to be able to perform clean (when need be).
Hopefully this can help those of you out there that have been having trouble justifiying what you want to charge. It is hard to stick to these tips when you know there are people out there that will take less for the same show. I try to look at it like this: I am asking for an amount equal to the annoyance of performing when the suns out (or in a living room or dance floor etc.). So don’t fold and you will see the benefits!