‘Tis the season It’s time to finally chip away at those credit card bills by booking a few corporate Christmas parties. Not everyone can do these well as they’re very challenging. If you’re headlining Christmas parties, you probably don’t need this blog. If you’re an opener, follow these tips:
1. Ask for a little more if a headliner asks you to open. In other words, $100 or even $150 is probably way less than the close to $1000 they’re getting. These gigs are challenging and you should be compensated for that.
2. Stay clean and universal. This month alone is the main reason to have a clean set in your notebook. If you can establish to a headliner that you can work clean, the gigs will keep coming. Also, during a work party, a lot of people won’t laugh at something they think will offend their boss or coworkers. It’s not just material about sex–talking about politics, homosexuality, race, religion or anything edgy is going to make them feel uncomfortable. Even if it works at every other show during the year, this crowd will be tougher. If you can, write some quick local humor. Stay away from making fun of the boss. Save crowd work like that for the headliner.
3. Don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t go well. It probably won’t. That’s why headliners set such high prices for these. They’re almost secretly hoping it’s declined. You were brought to break the ice for them, not to kill. The conditions you’ll perform in are often the furthest thing from a comedy club. The headliner will understand this and appreciate you being the sacrificial lamb. If you do somehow do well, great!
I wrote about several of these experiences in my book Don’t Wear Shorts on Stage including the time I did a noon gig in a break room with no mic for $50 (there are at least 4 things wrong with that booking). It also discusses how to handle a lot of other types of shows you’ll perform at over the years. Today is cyber Monday, so pick one up on Amazon, iTunes, Nook, Kindle, etc.