When You Want To Hire A Comedy Performer For Your Event
Choose The Right Act:
If you haven’t already got a comedian in mind, or even if you have, it’s useful to consider the following before you make a booking:
- What sort of material will go down well? Are your audience easily shocked or are they up for more daring content? If you are unsure of an act’s suitability check out clips of their work on youtube or on their website.
- Location is not too much of an issue. Comedy performers are used to travelling round the country (and abroad) for work, so don’t feel you are limited to considering only local acts, although an unusually long journey may command a higher fee and possibly accommodation.
- Think about the space for performance. Will it work with the type of entertainment you have in mind? Single stand-ups are straightforward, but if you want to book a more physical act, or one that has multiple members, make sure you have adequate space, and the lighting and sound equipment to do so.
- If there is an option, try and avoid arranging the event for a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night. These are the busiest nights of a performer’s week, the nights when they are likely to be already booked – often doing several gigs in one night – and so may be unavailable. If money is an issue then booking an act for a less busy week-night may also be less expensive.
Once you’ve chosen your act(s), whether you contact them directly, through their agent, or through a third party booking or speakers’ agency, it’s helpful if you can supply as much information as possible – timings, audience size, reason for event etc. Make sure you can speak to the comedian at some point beforehand, not just to their management, and let them have a contact number for you for any further questions.
What The Comedians Have To Say:
“It rarely works to book a comic you like and then ask them to do anything out of character, eg. “we love that routine, but could you tone the language down a bit?” They won’t, they’ll just feel nervous and swear anyway.” – Simon Evans
“Don’t ask them to turn up at 7.30 & then say,” we’ll start the show after the dinner, at about 10.30.”" – Jane Hill
“”Can you do an hour and a half after dinner” is usually a no-no. 30 minutes is more than adequate.” – Bennett Arron
“Don’t make the front row/table any more than 5 feet away from your comic. A gig is like a gynaecological examination – it’s all about intimacy. The physicality of a room is more important than people think. Also if your staff and clients have a modicum of respect for your “turn” then everyone will enjoy the show. Don’t be offended if your comedian declines to dine with you before the show, s/he’ll be nervous, trying to get their head together and in no mood for grub. Offer them a drink, tea, coffee, or booze and maybe a makeshift green room- this is what they’re used to. We’re animals of habit see” – Susan Murray
“Do not have a massive gap/dance floor between the comic and the audience. Get the audience to face the stage. Get a decent PA.” – Mike Gunn
“Don’t have a disco, then stop the music and tell everyone to sit down and listen to the comedian. Do some research and make sure you book the right comic for your event. Don’t wait until the comic is about to go on to tell them it has to be a clean set. I agree with Mike about the seating, but don’t make it so close that your front row can vomit on the comic’s shoes.” - Angie McEvoy
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