I’m going to brag on St. Louis again. We have at least four consistent paying gigs that are booked by local comics outside of our comedy club . We have a steady amount of headliners and features to fill these rooms as well as a lot of comics beginning to feature. These rooms are a good place for a comic to get a chance to do a longer set for the first time. Often, these rooms have a more narrow demographic so success or failure has a wider range depending on how well you connect with that particular type of crowd/community. (I think I bitched about the time I ate it in front of some hipsters on here last year.)
Often, as it is in St. Louis, your peers are the bookers of these rooms. There are many tiffs in open mic communities, but you have to pretend to like people sometimes. So how do you get yourself booked other than being nice? I’ve heard various comics who book these rooms vent their frustration. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Go as a patron. Support the cause and pay the cover a few times.
2. See if you can do a guest set without getting paid.
3. Invite the booker to do an open mic or show that you have a hand in.
4. Buy alcohol for the booker/comic in charge while at a different open mic with him/her.
5. Promote the show on Facebook (without inviting people who you barely know from a different time zone).
Honestly, 1 and 5 are the most important. If you bitch about not being on, it will get back to them and you’ll never get a chance. When you do, be sure you bring a lot of paying customers as a thank you for giving you a chance.
For more tips on making money in comedy, read Don’t Wear Shorts on Stage.