What’s the right way to get work at a local room?

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.

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About Rob Durham

With an English Degree, three years as a doorman at the Columbus Funnybone, over a decade of stand-up experience, and a recent certification in teaching high school English class, writing a book seemed like the next inevitable step for Rob Durham. The son of a coach, Rob has an excellent ability to teach and explain things in the easiest and most direct way possible. His (often labeled ridiculous) memory allows him to think of every possible situation that a new comic might face because at one point he was there too. Rob gives an inside look at comedy that doesn’t sugarcoat the challenges every performer faces. Without ego and the myth that “anyone can do it” Rob gives the reader a true feel of what living the so-called dream feels like, from preparing for that first open mic night to touring the country. View all posts by Rob Durham

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