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How To Get Booked At A Comedy Club – Part Two

This week, you’ll learn the most common approach clubs take when bumping a performer up from open mic to emcee. In essence, how to get booked at a comedy club. Last week, we talked about taking an inventory of your skills to see if you are ready to try to get PAID work at a comedy club. (If you missed that post CLICK HERE)

Getting Work at a Comedy Club


Last week, we talked about taking an inventory of your skills to see if you are ready to try to get booked at a comedy club. (If you missed that post CLICK HERE)

From Open Mic to Paid Opener – Part Two: The Hometown Club Process

Comedy clubs are pretty democratic when it comes to getting work. Your first step is to appear at their open mic night. Even though the night is designed for comics to try out material, you will want to bring your “A” game and best material during your first appearance. Remember, you need to show them you are funnier than someone they are already paying. So nail it.

If all goes well, you’ll be invited to the next open mic and you’ll want to crush it again. And again. And again. This means honing your material at other venues (bars, restaurants and coffee houses who have comedy open mics) before heading back to the club. Yes it’s a club open mic, but it’s a club you are trying to get work at. So constantly bring in great material.

After a few (or a dozen) open mic spots, the manager of the club should notice that you are consistently delivering great comedy. Hopefully, you are also being professional, timely, and genuinely adding something to the night instead of just taking stage time.

If so, the manager might offer you a “guest spot” or a “showcase” spot on a night where there is a regular three-act (emcee, feature, headliner) show. This typically means you’ll be appearing after the emcee and before a feature act.

The length of the guest spot will vary but is most often 5-7 minutes. You won’t be “paid” for this showcase spot. This is basically an audition to see if you can blend into a show with professionals. So, your material needs to be on par or better than the emcee.

All that hard work is about to pay off. You want to make sure you absolutely show up and shine. If that showcase spot goes well, you may be asked back to do a couple more. Or, you may be offered and emcee spot on an individual night, or for an entire week. The club manager may ease you into it by having you emcee the open mic night. There is no specific, or exact way it works.

In short, it’s just like sports. You have to do all the little things right when you practice so you shine when the coach calls your number. You need to compete at the same level as your fellow performers. You don’t see junior high kids lining up in the NFL. They would be totally destroyed. In comedy, a few months of doing bar open mics doesn’t mean you are ready for turning pro. It means you play the same game, but at an entirely different (and beginners) level.

Don’t let that discourage you. The beauty of comedy is ANYONE can develop material if they are truly committed, and practice often.

Now you know how to get work at a comedy club. If you have been at it for a few years and you are not getting asked to showcase, or emcee, then you need to reevaluate a few things. Go back to part one, of this three part series "How to get booked at a comedy club,"  and take an honest inventory of where you are in your material and development.

Next week, in part three, we will talk about how to get work at a comedy club other than your hometown comedy club.

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