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How To Get Booked At A Comedy Club – Part One

Performing comedy for the sheer fun of it is great. Bringing laughter to any group is a noble cause. But after awhile, if you have an act that is dependable, consistent and marketable – it’s time to make a dime.

The first step is an honest reality check to see where you are with your comedy. This week we will take a look at getting work in comedy clubs. Ask yourself the following questions to see if you are in position to start charging for your services:

Is there a market for my comedy?

By this, I mean, are you offering something unique and fresh to the marketplace? Be honest. What do you bring to the table that helps you stand out among your peers? Are you incredibly gifted with making a connection with the audience? Are you exceptional at writing customized material for each group? Are you simply flat-out the funniest person everywhere you go and every time you get onstage? If you answered yes, then you are most likely marketable to the niche that suits you best.

How many minutes of polished, solid material do I have?

This is another question you have to answer honestly. To start getting paid in clubs you really should have twice the amount of material as required by the position. At first you will be an emcee. Generally speaking, your sets will be from 10-15 minutes long.

Do you have a dependable 20-30 minutes of polished material (not including crowd work) in your arsenal? If so, you may be ready for paid club work.

Why do I suggest twice as much time as the spot requires? Some crowds are “tighter” than others. They are stingy with their laughs. You will need more jokes. Every veteran comedian can tell you about a night where they did an hour of material in thirty minutes. Trust me on that one.

Am I funnier and more professional than comics who are working in the venues where I want to perform?

Most clubs have a boatload of comics they can pick from to perform in the opening spot. Many of them are performing for free or for drinks and a sandwich. The laws of supply and demand tilt in the favor of club bookers. To get on that stage and get paid you have to bring something above and beyond the performers in their stable.

It may be that you bring paying customers. It might be that you make things so smooth for them that the managers are free of hassle while you are at the club. And it may be that you are truly the funniest person to ever hit their stage. Whatever the case, in order for you to get under the lights, you’ll have to knock someone off that stage.

Next week, in part two, you’ll learn the most common process for being considered for a paying spot at a comedy club.

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