Comedy FAQs and answers: how the stand-up biz really works by Dave Schwensen

By Dave Schwensen

This consultant to the realm of stand—up comedy, written in easy—to—use Q&A layout, presents present and strength comedians with the no—nonsense recommendation they want for each level in their careers. Schwensen's vigorous publication gains interviews with a number of the most sensible names in stand—up—Ray Romano, George Carlin, Christopher Titus, bizarre Al Yankovic, Margaret Cho—all sharing classes discovered alongside the best way. extra interviews with membership proprietors, expertise executives, publicists, and others offer behind—the—scenes services.

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You call at the designated time and keep hitting the redial button hoping to be one of the lucky winners. If it’s a popular club, keep a sandwich nearby because it might be a long process. If you get through, go out and buy a lottery ticket because it’s your lucky day. Then again, if it’s your phone that’s ringing off the hook at the designated hour . . Well, hang onto that thought also. The comedy lottery can also be a long shot, but it’s actually a very fair method of choosing who gets the coveted open mike and audition spots in the more popular clubs.

When signing a contract for a single show, you can use your stage name. This is quite common in the industry and should be considered binding for one reason: The person paying you holds all the purse strings. If you default on the show, you won’t get paid. There’s also a better chance of a lawyer waving his fees than of you ever getting another booking by that person, which is not only a waste of the time and effort you put into it, but also not a smart way to maintain a career. Even if you change your name in an attempt to get a second chance, the possibility always exists that you’ll be recognized by your photo or (here we go again) attitude.

When it comes to advertising, use your imagination and have fun—as you continue to work hard. When you get an audience, the best promotion is to give them a great show. Good word-of-mouth could result in a regular clientele, a happy club owner and an experienced comic—you! Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling I was in a three-piece band called The Off-Hour Rockers. We told dirty jokes and played our own songs. We were very wild and funny, but there was no place for us to go. ” Now, I’m no rocket scientist, but if there’s three guys in the band and two of them leave, that’s kicking me out of the band!

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