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The 4 Biggest Mistakes When Hiring a Comedian

Are you considering hiring a comedian? Want to know what the 4 biggest mistakes are to avoid? Having been in the industry for over 30 years, we’ve heard plenty of stories of the mistakes those have made when hiring a comedian. Wouldn’t it be nice to learn from other’s mistakes so you don’t follow in their footsteps?

Here are the 4 Biggest Mistakes When Hiring a Comedian:

1) Thinking all comedians are the same

Like most live entertainment, comedy has a spectrum. Some comedians work clean, some work dirty, some work in between. Some are just starting out. Some are established headliners. Some work primarily for corporate functions. Some work mostly clubs. Often it’s hard to tell from a clip where a comedian is in his or her career. It’s important to be mindful of what kind of comedian you want and then to research the comedians you’re considering to get a better sense of what they’re capable of.

2) Not setting up the performance properly

This is probably the most common error and the easiest one to fix. If you are going to pay money to bring in a comedian, make sure you set him or her up for the best possible show. Think of them as the highlight of the evening and not just an afterthought. After all, they’ll most likely be the most memorable element of the event, so help make sure it’s a positive one!

A good comedy show is not hard to produce. Unlike bands who have a lot of production needs, comedy is very simple. All you need is:

-A sound system appropriate for the size room and audience
-A small stage
-A mic and mic stand
-Proper stage lighting
-Someone to introduce the comedian

The other very important consideration is where to place the performance in the scheme of your event.

Most times comedians are hired for corporate events in the evening. The best, time-tested format is to have the comedian go on after dinner and before any awards, speeches, giveaways, etc.

Comedy works best for a fed and focused audience with minimal distractions. Do not put the comic on during dinner. With food being served (or retrieved from a buffet), it’s unreasonable to expect people to be able to pay attention to a show. Plus, no one likes to laugh with a mouth full of food. So, let people eat and then enjoy the show.

You also want to save speeches and awards until after the performance. These things generally run long and because of their nature, can take all the energy out of the room. If the comic goes first, you build some energy and momentum going into awards and presentations, which are often dry. It’s a win-win.

If you have questions, all you have to do is ask the comic or booking agency you’re working with. They do hundreds of shows a year and can help you structure your event to set-up the show in the best way possible so your investment in good entertainment isn’t wasted.

3) Just booking the cheapest option

As with most things, you get what you pay for and as in other industries, there will always be someone willing to work for less. Be leery of the absolute cheapest option or anyone that just undercuts others.

Most professional, working acts know their worth. I’m not saying there isn’t sometimes room for negotiation; in fact, there often is. But if you want to hire a professional who will make you look good, at least look around a little to compare what’s available.

4) Not doing your research

This ties into number one. The comedian you hire can make you look great or be an embarrassment.

Booking with an agency offers some protection against this. Most agencies vet acts and have a long working relationship with the comics they book. They can offer many options in one stop and collateral materials on those acts for you to research.

Make sure you check out clips and ask questions to ensure you get the right fit for your group in terms of style, content, etc. Engage with the act or the agency. It’s a good sign if the act or the agency also asks questions about your event and audience and offers advice. If you have questions or concerns, always ask!

Are you wondering what else you should be thinking of when booking a comedian? Contact Us Now!

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