Last week one of the St. Louis comics did something that more of us should do. She said no. Micaela Mohr has been running an open mic at a bar on the south side of St. Louis on Friday nights. I’ve noticed that there have been a few conflicts with this bar’s scheduling and comedy has been pushed aside on certain nights. I haven’t even talked to her about it, but the bottom line is they weren’t respectful to the open mic or her and so she ended it. Good! The worst thing we can do as comics is continue to allow the disrespect when there are other options. The key is figuring out when those times are. It’s showbiz, so you’re going to have to learn to take a lot of crap, but there are some instances when enough is enough and this was definitely one of those times.
Several months ago I wrote a post about how much you should charge when doing a gig that a booker or club didn’t set up. The best thing you can do for the industry is say no if the money isn’t enough. It’s hard to turn things down when you have bills to pay, but in the long run you’ll have much better gigs when they’re willing to take you serious enough to provide real pay. The problem with low-dough shows is that the bar will put little to no investment in their promotion. You might drive 7 hours for a gig in front of 8 people. Ever notice how they always say, “I don’t get it, it was packed last time?” They’re lying. It’s never packed.
As a feature it’s harder to negotiate because you just want to make money and it’s already a set amount determined ahead of time, but if you’re putting together you’re own show, get something other than a “percentage of the door” up front. In the meantime, learn to say no. Quit giving comedy away.
For more tips on comedy and the business side of it, order Don’t Wear Shorts on Stage. Also available on iTunes!