But first this week’s advice…You’re not going to really read the advice are you? OK fine, CLICK HERE to hear my book mentioned then comeback for the advice part. (It’s a podcast, listen in the first 10 minutes).
(See what I did there?)
In my book I mention that guest sets are one of the best ways to get into new clubs. Whether you’re looking to work there as an emcee or a feature, it’s usually a five to ten minute set right after the emcee. Occasionally a club will accidentally promise two comics a guest set. If you have the choice go after the emcee because he or she will be much easier to follow if you’re in your first few years. Just like with anything else with the word “guest” in it there is a certain etiquette to follow.
Usually the club manager will have to ask the headliner or will have you ask for yourself. It really depends on who it is. If it’s someone well known enough to get a door deal (no free passes for audience), then guest sets are normally not allowed. If it’s the average headliner, they usually understand and have no problem with it. I talked with Isaac Witty whose credits include a set on Letterman about his preferences as a headliner and here are some things we came up with… (Most of these seem like common sense, but if you’ve never done a guest set at a real comedy club before, it’s important to stress these.)
1. Stick to your time. You’re causing the show to go on even longer, so it’s important not to go over.
2. Stay as clean as possible, especially if you’re trying to get booked as an emcee. (Clean vs. dirty is discussed extensively in my book.) Isaac is a very clean comic and no guest set should be dirtier than the headliner, let alone the dirtiest comic on the show.
3. If you’re already an established comic at your home club, don’t do a guest set of your tried and true stuff (unless you’re doing a recording). Use that time to fine tune your newer jokes. It always bothers the other comics when a guy takes up seven minutes of the show to crush with his best material just to impress a girl he brought along for the night (Some comics call this “auditioning for a blowjob”). On the flip side, if you’re trying to get into a new club you should always do your best stuff.
4. Even if the club clears it for you, it’s still nice to ask (and then thank) the headliner for letting you be on the show.
5. Whether they allow it or not, don’t take advantage of the club’s free drinks or food. Buy and tip like extremely well.
The whole process is a long interview. Don’t Wear Shorts on Stage includes more information on when, who, and how to ask for guest sets and what to do if they go well.
Also, I’d like to mention that my book is now in ebook format, so whether you want it as a PDF or if you have Kindle, check it out on this link.
Thank you to all of the new readers. Click here to be able to scroll through previous entries.