Writing a bio is painful. Yes, we often like attention but most comics wish they could just post a picture from their Instagram to serve as their bio. “Look at me, I’m bacon.” You want to be funny enough so that the reader chuckles a little bit, but you don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard. You know those headliners who give the MC an intro that includes a lame joke in it? Avoid stuff like that.
You should at least try to write an original bio, so avoid these clichés that we’re all guilty of at some point in our career.
1. Brutally honest–Pretty much all comedy is “brutally” honest. You’re not George Carlin. They’re still going to moan at your edgiest stuff despite your bio’s warning.
2. He/she doesn’t normally refer to himself/herself in the third person. You don’t want to seem pompous for writing in third person, but it’s part of the process. Enough people have pointed out how awkward they feel. Just pretend and the patrons who actually read these things will have no idea they’re your own words about you.
3. Finalist in the 2007 Springfield Comedy Festival… Unless you’ve won anything recently in a city with over several million people, your credentials will get scoffed at.
4. Quit his/her cushy day job to do comedy full-time… It’s amazing how many of us had “cushy” day jobs. Like we were sitting in a cubicle with a massage chair making $80K a year building our 401K and stock portfolios while sipping bourbon like the cast of Mad Men. Yes, many of us have put an end to our office jobs, but that’s usually because those jobs weren’t worth our sanity. I think it’s just the word :cushy” and how many times I’ve read it over the years. You’re not a hero.
5. Young… If you’re in your mid-30s you’re not young anymore. Time to admit it to yourself and your headshot (writes the guy whose headshot turned 10 last month).
I’ll admit that my bio is far from perfect. They’re hard to get right until you get to the level where you have management who writes them for you. One last tip: When a booker asks you to send your bio and headshot, do it immediately. This isn’t your high school term paper, it’s your career and they’re trying to promote it (think back to how on-the-ball you were at that cushy office job).
For more advice on how to write your comedy bio and other tips to make money in stand-up comedy, check out my book Don’t Wear Shorts on Stage on Amazon, Kindle, iTunes, Nook, etc.