1. It’s OK To Kiss Ass (To An Extent)
There are literally hundreds of thousands of people in the United States alone that want to become professional standup comedians. Probably 20 percent of them are funny, so what is going to make you stand out to show runners or club owners that book those coveted paid sets?
That’s right, good old fashioned knee-dirtying, dignity-losing ass kissing.
I myself have put on small showcases around Oklahoma City (OKC) to over tens of people, and at times other comics ask me when am I going to put them on a showcase. After the third or fourth person to ask this, it got annoying. God, I can only imagine what it must be like for someone to run a comedy club. I would of course try to book people that I thought were funny, had a different view than other comics and crowd favorites. But there are also what I like to think of as “filler spots.” Filler spots are open time slots on a show where you don’t want to book a certain person or persons because you don’t want to blow your whole wad on one show. So, you start to book people that either A) don’t draw a crowd; B) aren’t that funny; or C) haven’t been doing standup long enough for you to notice them. How would I choose the comics for filler spots? By picking people that I like as people. I wouldn’t even have to really think that they are particularly funny, I just think they are OK to be around, which is something since you tend to have to see these people several times a week. So usually you want to choose someone who isn’t going to annoy the shit out of you.
This is where your personality, or at least ability to fake one, comes into play. If you think you’re going to get booked for shows just based off your comedy, well then, you better be really fucking funny. But, if you are looking at guys like me to put you on a showcase, well chances are you haven’t really built up your set that much yet, and need guys like me to put you on for more than three minutes at a time so you can. You better hope that you haven’t pissed off anyone that puts on a great monthly/biweekly/weekly showcase. Not because these showcases will necessarily advance you in your career (they won’t), but because just getting to do longer sets more often will teach you how to structure a set, add tags and work on off-the-cuff jokes that build a rapport with the audience.
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