Wednesday, October 30, 2013

So ya wanna put on a comedy show? Don't.

I get it.
I know what you're thinking.

Business sucks.
The home team can't win a game.
No one wants to sit in your bar/restaurant/casino and drop a bunch of change on watered down drinks and pre-fab frozen potato skins.
Even with flabby ass ex-cheerleaders prancing about in Dollar Store negligee.
Karaoke night has deteriorated into a handful of regulars who can't differentiate between reality and their tin eared chances of getting on 'The Voice."
It's bad.
Dismal even.
You tried every "All-You-Can-Eat/Drink" special in the Idiots Guide to the Service Industry, yet still the room is emptier than a public park in Fargo, North Dakota in late January.
Even the crappiest cover band in town wants $600 a gig and a bar tab.
And they play "Higher" by Creed 4 times.
Even Scott Sapp would punch them for that.
What to do? What. To. Do?
Then here comes that kid! The one who offers to do comedy shows on an off night!
He says....
"Hey! I can bring people! All my friends say I'm funny, and we'll do it for free. just let us have the door!"

Fuck no.
Stop now, I beg you.

Why, you say?
Isn't comedy a great way to make people happy and fill my coffers to boot?

No it isn't.
It's the equivalent of offering free blow jobs and giving every dude a kick in the nuts instead.

Because comedy isn't a side dish to your "All You Can Eat Wing" promo.
It isn't the words "Comedy Tonight!" sans talent names on a crappy road side sign.
We are not side dishes to "Steak Night" or "Free Pull Tuesdays" either.
We work hard at what we do. Those of us who are professionals.
We travel 1,000's of miles to hone a craft. An art form.
Yes. I called it an "art form."
And of you don't believe that, then I again beg you to educate yourself.
You try and make 20 to 1,000 strangers like you enough to listen to your shit for an hour.
You probably wouldn't last a minute.

Not to mention, there ARE rooms.
Rooms in your town, or nearby most likely, who DO try and offer a professional show.
Maybe they are an actual long standing club, or a venue who has researched the market and made the proper adjustments to conform to the comedy show dynamic. These rooms are the bread and butter of almost every hard driving road dog on the circuit.
Clocks punched.

But now.
Because your cheap ass decided to partner with a hack little shit, or a shady booking agent who undercut the established guy by undercutting the comics pay by $100 and no hotel room, this consistent income generator is closing down.
And now comedy in your area is a pale, shitty ghost of what it was.

You get what you pay for.

We work hard and travel hard for our money. If someone is willing to offer the "same thing" at half the price, then please allow me to offer you some real estate deeds in Somalia.
I have a twin span in Alaska up for grabs.

Just don't, please?
For those of us who depend on hard work and talent to pay off....
Could you just figure out a new wing recipe?
I hear "Lead Zep Linz" is looking for work....


  1. Where is the like butt---oh it's not Facebook?

  2. This post is bullshit. Maybe you forgot something: these venues that might consider putting on a free comedy show populated by performers doing it for no pay? They're the only place people new to the game can practice. And stand-up -- as you should know -- is the only art form you have to practice in public, with an audience. You can rehearse your band in a garage. You can sweat out your poem in an attic with a quill. You can drink a handle of whiskey and fling paint at a canvas in the comfort of your own barn. But you can't figure out how to make strangers laugh without trying to make strangers laugh. These shows are the generators of tomorrow's working comics.

    So what do you seem to be worried about? Apparently, that free comedy will lead to less demand for paid comedy? That shitty comedy will sour people on good comedy? That's not how anything works. People can tell the difference between bad comedy and good comedy, and hearing bad comedy doesn't make them want good comedy less... if anything, it makes them want good comedy MORE. They paid nothing to sit through a glorified open mic at a Buffalo Wild Wings, had a terrible time, and vowed from that point on to only see comedy at real clubs where they need to shell out dollars. Dollars that go into working, vetted comedians' pockets. They don't vow never to laugh again.

    The only reason I can think of that you're WORRIED about free comedy shows is that maybe you think you can't compete with them? You're worried people think your jokes and a first timer's are the "same thing"? That's your issue. If you're not funny enough to compete with a free comedy show, you probably belong at one.

  3. Sigh.
    I almost didn't want to respond to this.
    Your lack of reading comprehension is fantastic.
    Nowhere did I say that comics should not attempt to set up mics and practice rooms.
    Nowhere did I say that free shows shouldn't exist.
    Take a breath and re-read. My point was aimed at a bigger fish...the venue owner who wants to use comedy to increase revenue, but has no idea how to run or promote a show. I have, over the years, started over a dozen new venues for comedy, paid and unpaid. BUT...I learned to vet the new venue management. I worked hard to promote and build the room. And in many instances, we were successful. I am not referring to these situations. I am talking about the places where stand up is treated like an afterthought to the free ice cream machine. Where the comedians running the show are clueless to form, promotion and show mechanics. Where shady bookers set up underpaid one nighters to undercut established rooms, thereby watering down and polluting the market with shit shows and talent promoted as "Touring headliners" who are barely openers.
    Do you see this yet?
    Let me ask many shows have you produced?
    Who have you worked with?
    How many years did you battle ice storms, or flood conditions, or cars on the verge of a breakdown to arrive at a gig that used to be rocking, only to find some pop up room has destroyed the crowd and now both rooms are failing?
    I'm going to go out on a limb and say not enough based on your completely off base diatribe above.

  4. I think Chris would be worth every penny at one of the free shows.

  5. Sounds like all we'd be cultivating are hacky road comics in this scenario.