Tuesday November 13th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL
If I had to focus all of my energy for the next couple of years on only one aspect of the standup comedy experience, without a doubt it would be finding and securing quality places to perform at on a regular basis. That’s IT. Nothing else comes close, and if I’m smart I’ll start doing it ASAP.
As much as I don’t want to hear it, I don’t ever have to write even one more joke as long as I’m above ground. I can still make a living at standup comedy, because I’ve learned the craft and can consistently entertain an English speaking audience for an hour with little difficulty. I’ve got that part down pretty well if I do say so myself. The hard part is getting people in a room to watch it.
And even when it’s happened, I’m always concerned with when it will happen again. There are not any guarantees, and no matter how funny anybody is isn’t important if nobody else is around to witness it. I always thought building a funny act would be enough, but that’s only a small part.
The trouble is, that’s the only part I truly care about. I love working on polishing new material or individually tailoring a show to a particular audience on a given evening. To me, that’s where the lion’s share of the fun of being a comedian lies. That’s what makes up for all of the insanity.
But nobody cares about that. Audiences want to see someone they’ve heard of. Period. It’s how the entertainment game is played these days, and if I don’t adapt in a hurry I’ll soon be wearing a name tag that matches the color of my mop handle. It all really stings - but it’s the honest truth.
I was genuinely excited yesterday as I looked over all of my comedy notes from my lifetime of hard work and sacrifice, but today I realize none of it means anything if I can’t find anyone that’s interested in paying to either read it or see me perform it live or on a recording. I need customers.
I do have some, and the ones I do have are more often than not repeat buyers of my services on at least a semi regular basis. I have some scattered comedy clubs and a variety of booking agents who call me. There are a lot less than there used to be, but they exist. I have to chase all the rest.
Today I received about a half a dozen promising calls, and I’m starting to book random shows for 2013. I’ve got one each in Pennsylvania and Minnesota in January, and had an opportunity to send my resume in to the new booking agent at a cruise line. This is exactly what I need to do.
I also received an inquiry about a corporate date in Wisconsin in March that should pay rather well. I was referred by someone who did it last year, and passed my name along. That’s never an imposition, and I’m grateful to be thought of. Now I just need to get thought of more regularly to keep my name on the tops of as many minds that make hiring decisions as possible. It’s all sales.
I guess it’s always been sales, but circumstances have changed on every level since I started on my journey. I now put out a solid product, but it’s in a completely different market. Had I owned a product then like I do now, I’d be rolling in money. That’s not the case now. Competition is not the issue, it’s the market itself. More comedians are fighting for fewer gigs that don’t pay well.