I am a huge soccer fan. I play on 4 teams a week and usually spend my Saturday and Sunday mornings watching the English Premier League.
I’ve been playing on and off, competitively and recreationally, since I was about four years old. Playing a sport typically teaches someone things that are applicable to other areas of their lives, and soccer is no exception.
So, what can soccer teach you about hiring a comedian?
You are part of a team
Soccer is definitely a team sport. Individual players can make a huge difference, but they can’t carry a team.
When you book a comedian, you’re not just booking them for yourself, but for your entire group. What you might like in comedy might differ from what your group would like. So be aware of your own biases, and remember to think about what your group will like the most. Sometimes it’s helpful to run ideas by a few other team members to get their feedback, too.
If one way doesn’t work, go back and try another
Often in soccer when you’re trying to move the ball up the field, you’ll encounter pressure and blocked passing lanes. Rather than try and jam the ball through and risk losing possession, it’s better to pass the ball backward and then move horizontally to the other end of the field where there may be more space.
Sometimes when you’re trying to book a comedian, you can’t decide who you like best or you can’t find consensus with your committee. At this point, it’s best to move backward and talk to an agent to find new ideas or more information about the acts you are looking at.
There are rules
You can’t use your hands in soccer, unless you’re the goalie and you’re inside the 18 yard box. When you throw in the ball, both feet need to be touching the ground. These are just a few rules.
Just like in soccer, there are rules when you hire a comedian. Where is the rule book? It’s the offer you make to the agency or comedian. That includes the terms that are negotiated and agreed upon. Finally it is the contract that memorializes those terms.
Fortunately, the interpretations and judgments of the rules aren’t as hotly contested as a referees’ during a soccer match!
So when you draw up a contract, make sure every detail is covered and stated plainly and clearly. Go over your expectations beforehand so there are no surprises once the contract is generated. Or have an experienced entertainment agent do it all for you.
Recognizing and recruiting good talent makes a world of difference
There’s a reason teams pay ridiculously huge amounts of money to bring players to their teams. Paul Pogba and Gareth Bale are just two of the most recent and most expensive soccer signings.
But keep in mind – world class talent doesn’t need to be expensive. The best soccer clubs have strong academy programs to nurture and develop young talent.
And even though soccer is a team sport (as mentioned before), one or two players can make an impact, whether through key assists, goals, or influence on and off the field.
The caliber of talent you decide on for a comedian makes a huge difference. Are you going to book a “world class” player, or a quality team player?
Appearances can be deceiving
When I’m warming up for a game, I make assumptions about the other team. If they’re young, I expect a more energetic competition. I used to be a little intimidated by especially athletic looking players. I thought because they looked athletic, that they’d make for hard competition. Lately, however, I’ve found that this isn’t always the case. On the field, they don’t have very good ball control, passing ability, or knowledge of the game.
The same goes for when you’re looking at which comedian to hire. At first glance they might look good, but their true quality really shows when they’re up there on stage. Did they look good on a 5 minute video clip, but are now struggling to do 30-45 minutes? Are they clean, but don’t really relate to your corporate or fundraising audience? Do your homework and learn as much as possible about the talent you’re considering. Or, again, find a trusted comedy agency that vets and curates the best type of performers for your type of event
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