How to Keep a Lack of “Success” From Turning You Bitter

Comedy is not a meritocracy. You will get pass up, looked over, and otherwise ignored. Some can’t handle it because of a number of factors. I will tell you what has kept me from going crazy.

Did You Ask?

I have had comedians come up and ask why they haven’t been asked by the club to do a show, or a producer hasn’t asked them to do some time. It is not up to everyone else to notice you. Sometimes you have to let people know you are around. Don’t assume that someone is doing something negative to you until you have enough evidence. Just sitting around thinking others are keeping you from success is a quick way to end up angry and still not doing comedy. Send an email, talk to someone, find out what is needed.

If You Can’t do, Promote Those Around You.

When I didn’t win the Seattle International Comedy Competition in 2018, I didn’t get mad at my buddy for placing second. Hell no! I cheered and celebrated the fact that at least one of us got so close. It is a hard thing to swallow, but sometimes, you are not funny enough or what people are looking for, so instead of having that tear you apart, make the positivity manifest. Be happy when those around you get into a festival or a competition. Share your friends’ special on your social media. These things put positivity out there. If you don’t like that as an answer because it is too hippie dippy, then think of it like this: When you promote the success of those around you, it makes everyone look good, which might mean something good for you.

Get Advice From Those You See as Successful

If you think everyone around you is doing better than you then maybe you should see what they are doing. Send them an email and ask what they are doing to get that work, or those spots. You may find out that it is as simple as what we talked about above. Asking. You think the guy that is coming to your local club is way more successful than you, if you can, ask them what you need to do to get to the next step. Don’t bug them though. Nothing makes a comedian hate you more than harassing them about comedy stuff.

One More Thing…

I have been around a lot of comedians in my time, and one thing that I see very often is that the comedians you think are at the top, or made it, are actually trying to get to another level themselves. I have seen guys sell out comedy clubs all across the country and they are looking at guys that are selling theaters and arenas enviously. Comedy is a constant climb and a lot of comedians don’t think they have achieved success. So you are not the lone person out. You are more like every other comedian than you think.

So You Want to Start an Open Mic?

For almost every comedian starting out, the one thing they want more than anything else is stage time. There are only so many times you can do your jokes in front of your dog before it drive you insane. So, you think to yourself: “I should probably start an open mic! Then I can get heaps of stage time.” Here I am to ruin your bright idea with some questions you should ask yourself before embarking on this endeavor.

Do you have other places in which to perform?

Look around your area. If there are other places you can get up and do time, then you should not be starting an open mic. You know what the world has too much of? Free comedy. If every bar in the town is being bombarded by notebook carrying water sippers, then there isn’t anywhere to get paid to do comedy.

Ok. Maybe there are mics in your city already, but you work that night or your python has an appointment with the chiropractor. This sounds like you may need another place to perform, but…

Are you using the mics you can attend?

If you are not going on stage with newer stuff every week then you may not even need a new open mic. I see people work the same three minutes for six months, and complain about their growth. Use all the resources you have to the fullest and then you can look elsewhere for more time.

Is this mic different from the rest?

I was out of town a while ago and every mic I attended had the same format, so it had the same people telling the same jokes. If you are going to start a new mic look around and see what the community is missing. Does the area need another mic where comedians can only do three minutes? Maybe the area needs a mic where under 21 comedians can do some time. If all these things are covered then there is no need for another mic.

Choice doesn’t make it better.

You may think that because you have 50 comedians in your area that you will get 50 comedians to your mic. Nope! Comedians, like most people, can freeze up when there is too much choice given to them. If you have mics every day of the week, comedians start to pick and choose which ones react better to their jokes. I remember when a local Chinese place started doing a comedy open mic. People would flood it and it was the place to be, but because of the rowdiness of the crowd, people start just not coming out. In Spokane we have about five or six mics (I wrote a post about it and I have already forgotten how many there are) and out of the thirty or so comedians we have around most people don’t even attend them. That is because they stop putting value on stage time when there are a lot of mics and only think about where they can go to get the best response.

Running a mic can be a draining.

Comedians think all you have to do is have a stage and comedians will come. Doesn’t work that simply. Working with comedians on any level can drive you insane. Running a successful open mic is more than putting a list out and watching the crowd roll in. You have to constantly let people know you exist. You have to make sure it actually runs smoothly. You have to make sure you set clear rules so when one of the comedians says, “c***”, you have a plan of action (if that isn’t allowed of course). This takes a lot and if you are only doing it to tell the same ragged jokes just on the other side of town, there are way better ways you can spend your time. Like say, writing a blog no one reads. Bye!

Mission Statement

I started this blog years ago, to rely my experiences as a comedian. I am not a famous comedian. I have not performed a country wide tour. I am not a face you have seen in the latest comedy playing in your movie theater. I am a guy that started comedy as a way to find myself and it became the thing I pursue.

With all that being said, I type my knowledge here for those who can find it, free of charge. I don’t try to sell you a book, or tell you to attend a seminar. I just tell you the things I have seen with my own eyes. Things that have worked and things that have not worked. Whatever it is, I always try to give you an honest view into the world of comedy. It may not be the glitz and glamour that some expect, but this is the trail every comedian makes.

Now, I can’t say I will not try to sell you something down the line. I am a road comic by the way. These shows aren’t gonna pay the rent. If I do though, I will make sure to tell you what is my honest thoughts and when I am shilling something.

This was never expected to be an ongoing project. I was supposed to do this until I got famous and forget to update it because I was doing something I wouldn’t want my mom see me do. Plans…why make em.

I do this blog because the things that I went through as a comedian, business and the internal stuff, would have been dampened if only I had someone to tell me honestly what was going on. I learned a lot of stuff by doing it wrong. That is not a good way to learn how to do this correctly. Your focus should be on being as funny as you possibly can. So, I hope you learn something from all these pages and pages of nonsense.

Creating Your “Brand”

I have performed through two distinct eras of comedy. The older era where you worked the road until you were either “discovered” or had a heart attack in a Motel 6, and the new era where everyone that is trying to get eyeballs on them has to “brand” themselves. I’m also sorry to those reading this thinking we are going to scorch our skin. I am talking about the less smelly version.

What?

When an agent or another comedian says brand, they are speaking about the actions you are doing to spread awareness about yourself. Not unlike Coke, or the makers of Oxycontin. The only difference is that you are not a multi billion dollar entity that can commit crimes without much punishment. Your brand is what’s supposed to drive people toward you and spend money on whatever it is you are doing. So if you have a good enough brand, you can go to different areas of the country and draw an audience. This is a very simple explanation, but it will do for now.

How Did This Come About?

There are different reasons, but they both have to do with technology. You see, at the turn of new millennium, a potential audience had many more choices for entertainment then ever. Gone were the days of going down to your local speakeasy and drinking bathtub gin with the hopes that it didn’t blind you. You could stay at home, watch a porn on the living room TV and drink bathtub gin in peace.

Companies had to adapt, and so too did live entertainment. Artist knew that with technology a fan didn’t have to see you live if they could do anything else. Then Dane Cook came on the scene (He may not have been the first, but for our sake he is important). He started collecting emails (and this was back when people enjoyed getting emails) and sending those emails notifications when he was coming to their town. This created a swell of participation and rise that many hadn’t seen before. After seeing what Dane could do, other comedians started using his blueprint to cultivate a fan base.

The Start of the Influencer

This wasn’t the only thing that got everyone going brand crazy. YouTube and internet influencers became a thing. These are people that may have a talent, or not, but they do have a knack for attracting people to them. People looked at this and brought it over to help with their comedy careers. Look at your favorite comedian’s social media and then go look at the social media account of an influencer. They share a lot of the same techniques. That is because it works!

Why Does it Work?

Simply put, it works because humans have a very strong bond to people they feel as though they know. We hold those bonds strongly and so if you can create a way to funnel as many of those people onto you and what you are doing, they will soak up whatever you’re spilling.

This is why people buy Dodge and nothing but Dodge. Brand loyalty is strong and this is why every comedian chases it. If you can get a sizable number of people to come partake in whatever it is you are doing, you can basically print money. This is why you see celebrities at comedy clubs that have done little to no comedy. They know that they have a name that piques the interest of folks and they can get enough people to come out and see what they are up to.

The Negative

I think the biggest negative is that a person’s comedy is not as vital as the actual marketing of that person. There are so many comedians that start and they are focused on the promotion of themselves as a comedian that they forget to actually write jokes. In this day and age, a great marketer can open doors sooner than a great comedian. Now, this doesn’t mean that if you can promote yourself you will be the next Kevin Hart, but it will get you closer than the guy just trying to get a good half hour.

This may sound bitter…it probably is, but the industry has been taken hook, line and sinker by this and it will not slow down. All of the pressure is placed on the comedian to bring the audience and venues just sell the drinks and move on to the next person that can fill seats. It says nothing about the quality of the comedy to ensure repeat business. Think of it like a snake-oil salesman. They come to town, tell an audience that their bottle of liquid will cure what ails em and then they move on. The purchaser has no idea that they just bought toilet water. An audience that got pulled in because of the popularity of a person, but didn’t enjoy the show, may not ever come back, and now you are missing out of money down the road.

Do you Have to do This?

Nope. You will get left behind, and only the grace of sweet baby Jesus can help you, but you don’t have to do it. See, if you want to stay current in this business you have to at least know what trends are going on. Staying in place and doing what you have been doing for ages will only leave you an angry old has been.

The thing is, you don’t have to go hog wild with it. You don’t have to post 35 times a day and send emails to everyone about every little thing you do. If you want to collect an email list go ahead and grab them at the end of the show. I’ve seen comedians have people fill out a sheet of paper on their way out, and I have seen comedians direct people to their website to join their mailing list.

A social media presence is also a good thing. In this day and age you need to at least have a place for people to see what you are up to. A website is a nice little professional touch, much better than a rank and file Facebook page (But you can have one as well).

You can’t get much work if you don’t have at least a way for people to see you so there is a bare minimum you should do. As a matter of fact, I think building a brand is important for the reasons I discussed above. I just see the way the scales have tipped and I think it is a little lop-sided right now.

Why Almost Every Comedian You Know Has a Podcast

Comedy has changed a lot since I first started. If you wanted to get out on the road and perform, all you needed was a car and a phone book. Comedy is a multi billion dollar industry, but unlike the music industry or the movie industry, it is a lot like the wild west, and like the wild west you have to take things into your own hands sometimes.

Comedy Clubs and Their Changing Priorities

I have wrote many times (I am too lazy to find the posts) that comedy clubs have had to change what they do in order to stay afloat. That means two things. One: A lot of them are not in the business of developing talent (especially talent that may end up working for the competition). Two: A lot of clubs can’t do advertising like normal businesses. Take a sofa store for instance. They can run a commercial in every printed item in the city. They can throw a commercial together where the owner stands in the front of the store like a senile sheriff, and they can play that for years. A comedy club has rotating acts every week (hell sometimes every other day!). They can’t possibly afford to grab the attention away from movie theaters, on-line forms of entertainment, and all the other stuff that distracts people. So that means you have to do the heavy lifting.

We Need You!

So, clubs have had to rely on the name power of the comedian(s) to draw the crowd. That is why credits are so important to a lot of bookers and club owners. It not only means you have passed through a couple of gates, but it means that you also might be able to bring in a crowd without the club giving away tickets.

Back in the day getting on the tonight show was one of the great achievements for a comedian because that meant if your name was on the bill outside the club you may be able to draw. Nowadays with more viewing options, the tonight show appearances are not what they used to be and so that is where podcasts come in.

The Hook

See. Comedians have now learned (and have been told by people who help you get paid) that what you want to do to be successful in this industry is cultivate a fan base, and have the club facilitate the meeting. Podcasts are the quickest way to get this done. You are giving potential audience members a free item that will hopefully get them to buy tickets down the road.

I can not tell you where it started, but I can tell you examples of comedians that have grown a strong audience through podcasts. There are a ton of people that didn’t know Marc Maron outside of comedy heads, but once his podcast hit the big time, he was bigger than ever. Joe Rogan was on many things and had a nice following, but man…his podcast is a juggernaut. He can go to any city in this country (hell world) and have his tickets sell out in a matter of hours.

This is why you see so many comedians (including yours truly) starting podcasts, even if it is just them talking about nothing. No one really knows what will catch on, so we comedians will throw almost everything on the wall seeing what will stick. This is all in an attempt to pull in fans that you can get to come to shows, thus giving you the power to not have to send avails with the hope that you get something out of it.

There is a deluge of podcast for this very reason. Comedy is less a business and more a meat grinder that, if you are not careful, will pulverize you before you know it. The pay is at a point that everyone wants to push upward and if that means putting out a podcast and hoping it catches on so you can sell tickets in Tallahassee then most comedians will do that. It’s like Clyde Barrow (just keep reading it will make sense). He was serving time in one of the worse prisons in America at the time. He was getting assaulted and found no other solution but to cut one of his toes off to get out (even though he was released soon after he always had crappy timing). To a lot of comedians, sitting down and screaming into a mic is worth it if it means never having to beg for work.

Of Course There is a Problem Here…

Now here is the rub. There are only so many podcast an average person will listen to so a lot of podcasts are just speaking to the void of the internet. My podcast gets maybe 100 to 200 listens in a week (it boggles my mind as well), that is not nearly enough to use as leverage in negotiating with comedy clubs (I am not in the negotiating stage of my career I am in the beg and plead stage).

So why do so many comedians still have podcasts if it is not being listened to or probably won’t lead to selling out at comedy clubs. Because agents like to see that you are actually trying to build a “brand”. These agencies are no longer just signing people and hoping they pan out. They look for those that have the talent AND the ability to build around themselves. It means even less work for them because they know you will be out there trying to get people’s eyes on you. They can start making money quickly with someone that is gaining a following than someone that is really funny, but no one knows who they are.

It is also another way to gain income. Thin about it, If you have a couple thousand people listening to your podcast, you can maybe get a couple hundred to shell out some money for some merchandise. If there is one thing I have learned from these lectures from agents its that you should have as many streams of income coming in as possible. Yeah, selling a couple hundred shirts might not sound like a lot, but that could mean hundreds of dollars coming in and that can change a comedian’s life (hell if I sell four shirts after a show I am temporarily in another tax bracket).

So yes, it seems trite for a comedian to have a podcast, but for most people, the pros outweigh the cons.

See ya next time.

Should You Become a Full Time Comedian in 2020?

No.

See you next time!

You want an explanation as to why? Ok…

The Pay is Bad

I am assuming you are more in the feature comedian range if you are asking this question. Feature pay has not increased in about 25 years and in some cases it has decreased or gone away altogether. I know of a place that doesn’t even pay feature acts! That right there makes it really hard to fill the books with meaningful work that can lead to actual money in your pocket at the end of the day.

Clubs are not the Answer

If you are looking to be mainly a club comedian, I am sad to tell you that as a lone feature, it is difficult. Businesses are always looking for ways to cut costs, and if that means not booking an out of town feature then they will do it. Most clubs that I deal with rely on lower (i.e comedians that don’t have credits or a following) headliners to feature their clubs and they will throw in a headline night to make the spot look juicy.

Is There Anyway I Could Make this Work?

Sure. Get lucky enough to know a comedian that can bring their own feature. If a comedian can sell tickets, then a club will let them bring people and that comedian can set pay and accommodations. That is great because then you will get paid a wage that is usually higher. When I work with a certain comedian that is very popular, I get double what I get if I just went in there alone! That totally changes comedy from a part time gig to a full time job. The problem is you are attached to a comedian so if they decide to just make a TV show or not tour as much that can mess with your income.

You can also build a merchandise system. Selling items to the audience is risky because you don’t know if they will actually buy the items or not, but if it is good stuff you can line your pockets with extra dough. Say you are featuring somewhere and you get paid $75 a show for five shows. That gives you five opportunities to sell stuff. I have had nights where I increased my nightly pay four or five times just from selling stuff! There is cost involve with this, but it is one of the more sure fire ways to make full time comedy work.

I am such an optimist when it comes to comedy that sometimes I forget that for some people it may not be feasible to make what I make some years with comedy. 2018, for example, I was below the poverty line when it comes to comedy income. I would not want anyone to suffer even if it is something you love. Comedy is a bitch. There are long drives and crowds that hate you. So if you want to make this work as a career you have to be prepared to go all in. That means pounding the pavement, and getting shit done so when you are five or ten years down the road you are not regretting your actions.

Keys to Being a Great “Club” Comedian

We have talked about what makes a comedian great for certain work in the comedy industry. We will go over our last (I think), the club comic.

All Things to Some People

Out of all the comedians we have talked about during this little series of posts, the club comic is the most varied of all these comedians. Why? Because the quality of club and the type of people in each changes. When you are at a show in a bar you know the type of people that would go to such a thing. A comedian performing at a college knows that not too many 50 year old people will be in the audience. In a club, however, you have a mix of people all coming together to laugh at your childhood.

Another thing that makes this a varied group is the fact that not all comedy clubs are created equal. For every Improv or Spokane Comedy Club, you have Jerry’s Laugh Shack. So that invites a different group of people. We used to have a lower level club in town before SCC opened up and the demographics were a lot older and you could see that played a factor in a lot of acts that went through those doors.

A club comedian has to walk in the building knowing that their jokes are gonna hit with the people in front of him. That could mean anything from not talking about stuff that is local to the comedian or not bringing up the controversy that is going on in the city they are performing in.

A Joke and a Smile

What I have noticed with a large number of great club comedians is their ability to immediately grab the attention of the audience in as little time as possible. They don’t really get into pleasantries unless a joke is coming right after. A quick smile and straight to business is the way a great club comic works and it is amazing to see an awesome comedian just play with the audience averting expectations and guiding them through a show that doesn’t even seem practiced.

Out of all these types of comedians, I strive to be a club comedian the most. They don’t get paid (usually) as well as college or corporate comedians, but there is usually little to know limit on what can be said at clubs. You have the freedom to say what you want at most bar shows, but the pay sucks.

Club comedy is the hardest to break into because of how the vetting system works for most clubs so that is why a lot of people just opt for other options. I enjoy meeting people outside of a more “constricted” environment and getting their genuine emotions to material you perform.

I guess that does it for this little series. I mean I could do more of these keys, but I didn’t want to talk about anything I didn’t have a little bit of firsthand knowledge about. Thanks for reading.

Gift Ideas for the Comedian in Your Life 2019 Edition

Here we are once again! It’s that time of year where you stave off that existential crisis and the ever approaching collapse of the universe, by celebrating the birth of a guy that was probably born in the spring because some pagans were winter humping or something…anyway, here is this years’ list of items I think the comedian in your life would love!

Shure MV88+ Premium Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone Video Kit with Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod

If that comedian in your life just started out they may want to record themselves and put it on YouTube and make a million million dollars. Well, tell them not to do the second part, but they should do the first part. Recording your set is valuable and all of us carry a recording device with us all the time. Just connect this to your phone and BAM! You have a nice setup to record yourself in the corner of a dank bar.

Tascam DR-22WL Portable Handheld Recorder with Wi-Fi

If they don’t want to see themselves in that dank bar get them this. Then they can hear themselves while they head to the next open mic. Laughing by yourself in public is always seen as a good thing.

Rode Microphones VideoMic NTG On-Camera Shotgun Supercardioid Microphone

If they love cameras and have a nice one (more on that later) then get them this. A shotgun mic aimed at the stage is a better idea then a camera’s mic that will pick up everything in the room. I have a model like this from Diety. I would put the link in here, but I am wasting valuable Call of Duty time typing this.

Samsung Galaxy S10e Factory Unlocked Phone with 128GB

If they need a new phone so they can look all cool around other comedians then get them this. Now that can send all their avails to bookers that will ignore them.

Apple iPhone XS Max, 256GB, Gold

https://amzn.to/2rduWEv

And how can I forget the Apple folks. Besides getting more sex and being more well off than Android folks they want to walk around with a gold phone. Well, here it is. Call Tim Cook and tell him I said Hi.

Saramonic Blink 500 B3 Ultracompact 2.4 GHz Wireless Clip-On Microphone System with Lavalier and Battery-Free Dual-Channel Lightning Receiver for Apple iPhone and iPad

If they have plans of doing even more funny stuff then these are what they need! They are lav mics that transmit to a phone (they have android and ios receivers)! So they can film sketches without spending a ton on audio equipment. I have a model from Rode which works great as well, I would link but you know…lazy.

Panasonic HC-VX981K 4K Ultra HD Camcorder

If you want to kick it up a little bit get them this. This is a great camera that captures a 4k image so all your pratfalls will be glorious. With some of the more pricier models, they can connect their shotgun mic to it and record themselves in 4k. They can be the Michael Bay of static comic shots!

Rode Microphones RODECaster Pro Integrated Podcast Production Console

If they have dreams of becoming the next Joe Rogan then get them this! It has everything (except the mics of course) an aspiring podcaster could want. They can have sound clips assigned to the buttons and they can connect their phone to it to receive phone calls from all their adoring fans. Or they can sit in the basement and talk to themselves…either or.

Fujifilm X-T3 26.1MP Mirrorless Digital Camera with XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS Lens, Black

If you really love that comedian in your life you can get them this! This will capture all their antics and when times get tough they can pawn it or use it to club a crazed fan.

I hope you enjoyed this year’s list of items. I like tech so that is why most of what I posted is tech related. If you were thinking clothes or something…get em a top hat. I hear that is the newest trend of 2020. The one thing every comedian would love from their loved ones though is encouragement. This is a bumpy road just to make ends meet, so if you love them enough to pay $75-$1700 on a gift for them then encourage them to get out their and make their dreams come true.

Keys to Being a Great “College” Comic

Let’s continue on with this series by talking about the college comedian. These are the men and women lucky enough to get paid some of that sweet ass tuition money that college students’ parents had to take out a second mortgage on their homes for.

Can you Jump Through the Hoops?

In the college comedy landscape, being funny is not half of the equation it is about 45 percent of it. Can you work clean? Can you audition well? Do you look like someone that can walk around campus and not be mistaken for a parent or the dean? If you answer no to any of these, just book a show at the bar down the street from the college and see how that works. Most college booking comes from these conferences that are held in different regions of the country. Comedians usually pay a fee to audition to then have the student events coordinator (or what ever they are called) book them for their college. It’s a lot like a cattle auction…except the cattle didn’t have to pay to be slaughtered.

I have seen people pay their own way to get to audition, and I have seen agencies foot some of the bill, knowing that if you get booked they can recoup that money. It’s actually a big deal when it is going on. A buddy of mine did a couple and he mostly complained about all the smiling he had to do.

It’s Sometimes More than Stand-Up

The comedians that do well in colleges are good at doing more than that. Sometimes, the college didn’t book you to just perform and then take all the items from the mini bar back at the hotel, they may want you to host their local open mic or talent show. I was talking to one comedian that was booked to do just that, host a talent show. He did time after whatever many acts came up and in total he did his set, but it was broken up into several sections. I know another comedian that was tasked with doing a campus got talent type show where he performed at the end.

It’s a Mixture

To be a great college comic you have to mix aspects of bar comics and corporate comics. You have to be able to get these kid’s attention! Remember, these are young adults that have finally gotten from under the wing of mom and dad and so the best among us are a presence on the stage. It’s not just about being loud though, you have to hook them into your act or they get disinterested or they just leave. One time I was performing at this college and I decide to open with my odder material. I got em! Just when I thought they were with me I started verging into topics like kids and school they became so disinterested I didn’t get them back until the very end of my set. A great college comedian would be able to hold them because they have a set more tailored for the wondering minds of our youth.

You also need a bit of the corporate juice. Why? Because college campuses are more “woke” then ever. You have to be able to tell jokes that are not poking fun, or seem to poke fun at any group. Great college comedians can sit up there for the required time and not ruffle any feathers. I know comedians that are booked for months doing colleges and although the audience is less enthused than most, they are booked like that because they give the colleges an option of entertainment that doesn’t involve getting your stomach pumped, and they don’t get a riot on campus because the comedian’s jokes were out of hand.

To be a great bar comic, or corporate comic, or college comic is hard, but I see it as extra difficult to be a great college comedian because each campus you walk on is an entirely different culture than even the town around it. I have done shows at ever college in the Spokane area, and the college that had the best crowd? The private religious college. They sat, listened, and came up genuinely happy that I drove the five minutes to tell my jokes. The college I had the toughest time? My Alma Mater! A great college comic would be able to knock both of those campus shows out of the park!

Next time we with discuss the club comic.

Keys to Being a Great “Corporate” Comic

Corporate comedians are the unsung heroes of the entertainment industry. They go to board room to convention center to casino conference room and entertain people that don’t really want to laugh because then their supervisor will know what kinky things they are into. Let’s talk about what makes a great corporate comedian.

What is a Corporate Comedian

These are the men and women that usually, but not always, specialize in doing shows at businesses holiday parties, or company retreats, or just when the boss wants all his employees in the same room at the same time.

Know Your Audience

A great corporate comedian will know how to work clean to about pg-13. Pg-13 is a rating for movies, but it works great when describing the overall content of your material. This is the corporate comedian’s wheelhouse. If your jokes lack all punch and meaning after you remove the curse words and all out vulgarity, then you may not be a good fit. The corporate comedian is also really good at knowing what he is walking into. If you are going to perform for police officers, it may not be a good idea to tell them about all the people they shot. A great corporate comedian knows that he is less a comedian in these situations and more of a jester, poking fun at the boss or the one employee that tried comedy in the 80s.

Comedians working in these circles know that they are not there to blow people away with their comedy. They know that people are gonna be uptight because they are at a company function, so they have ways of knocking that down.

Looking the Part

Corporate comedians also have a way of dress about them. They usually have suits, but at the very least a nice shirt and some slacks. As you move up in pay you will see that there are a lot of comedians that only do corporate comedy because it pays well and if you can get it, they will pay for travel and lodging. With all that on the line businesses are looking for people that “look” like they have their wits about them. If you have a photo of you against a wall like you got your mug shot taken in the basement of a police station then they may pass on you. That is why it is worth it to find someone willing to take professional photos of you (this is not a plug).

Being a great corporate comedian is easy for those that don’t have much in the way of naughtiness in their material. The money is good and even if you had a bad performance that can sooth you over a bit. I have done many corporate shows and I enjoy them a lot. I get feed usually and I get paid sometimes even before the show begins. Nothing feels better than having a check in your pocket knowing that if all goes badly, you have your pay in your pocket.

Come back next time when we go over what makes a great college comedian.