This week I was offered a New Years Eve gig in a town where I usually work at three times a year. The problem was, it was at a different venue than where I usually work. Though I was just featuring, I emailed the booker of my usual gig and asked if it would be a problem that I worked at a different place. He asked that I not do the gig. In retrospect, I kind of knew that would be the case and probably should’ve known ahead of time. It actually made me feel better about my career. So when is it okay to work more than one venue in the same city?
When in doubt, ask the bookers or club managers. I understand they’re not always easy to get ahold of and you’re trying to make as much money as possible so that might not be an option. For the most part (all of these are “for the most part”), if you’re MCing, they won’t mind you working both clubs if they’re on the other side of town. However, if for some reason the clubs hate each other (usually stemming from something that happened in the late 80s with Drew Carey), doing both may not be okay. So know the personalities you’re dealing with.
If you’re trying to decide which club to work in a town, take a look at the headliners on their calendar and figure out which will bring crowds that will get you better. Some cities have a club known more for their Bob & Tom acts while some experiment a little more with younger headliners. Obviously money and chance of getting promoted are additional factors. I stopped working one club at $450 for a five-night feature week in order to do a $550 two-nighter headline week. Some people may value the stage time and larger crowds more than only being away for two nights. It’s up to your preference.
When in doubt go with the club that’s been around longer. There have been a number of clubs to open and close within a few years so don’t expect any new franchises to pop up out of nowhere.
If you’re not making money yet, it won’t matter that you perform open mics at both clubs. You should be. You know what else you should do to start earning money in comedy? Order my book.