Wednesday August 14th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL
One of the most unpleasant not to mention energy draining facets of the entertainment business is the constant attention that’s required to maintain a booking schedule. I’ve never enjoyed it, but there’s no choice. If one wants to be a professional comedian, the calendar needs to stay filled on a regular basis. In theory, that doesn’t sound so difficult. In reality, it’s a constant pain in the ass.
Today was a perfect example. The website “Gig Masters” sent an email a few weeks back that a corporate gig was available between Madison, WI and Milwaukee. I applied for it, and thought I had it. I heard from the person who placed the inquiry, and she told me I was the main finalist.
This person is not in the entertainment business, and has no idea how it works. I received word a few days later they were changing the date of the event to another date in October of this year. I happen to have a fairly solid October, and couldn’t do it. The lady said they’d love to have me, so I approached the booker for the date I had already booked that conflicted with the new date.
The corporate show paid three times what I was scheduled to make for the entire weekend at a club, but I really like working that particular club and I’ve had it booked for months. They treat me well there, and understood my situation. They said they’d understand and switch my week if necessary. Not every club will do that, and I can understand why. It often turns into a big hassle.
I made myself available for the corporate date, and wouldn’t you know it they changed the date AGAIN. The lady I’m dealing with dropped the ‘C’ word, and I knew I was in trouble. It’s a sure fire recipe for disaster, and the word is ‘committee’. Any time a committee is involved, it’s hell.
They’re 99.999% of the time filled with idiots that can’t make a decision, and I’ve been burned time and time again. There is always ONE self appointed crusading comedy snob in the mix that thinks he or she knows what funny is and it usually ends up being some inbred kin of theirs that plays a kazoo and works for free beer. I’ve lost out countless times to someone I never heard of.
Well, chalk up another one. I was booked for their third night, but I told them I could get out of it if they could guarantee the night at the same price. This was six times what I was to take in for a one nighter that I’d have to drive several hours to get to. Had they said yes, I’d have had to call yet a third booker and cancel a date I just booked. They wouldn’t be happy, but money is money.
I heard from the lady a few minutes later that they’d just booked someone else but she thanked me for my time and patience. I wanted to dash off a nasty note, but I’ve learned from experience that does far more harm than good. She didn’t mean to push all my buttons, but she certainly did.
In the end, I’m still booked for the one nighter I never cancelled, and the booker never knew I was even considering it. I’ll drive farther than I want to, but it’s a decent gig and I’ll hope to sell some merchandise and make it worth my while. I’m also rebooked in the comedy club as well. It could have been a lot worse as often is the case, but this time no real damage was done. Whew.
Drama scenes like this happen all the time. I’m beyond sick of them by now but what can I do? It’s an unavoidable part of the game, and if I don’t play at least a little I’m out of business by the end of the day. The average Joe assumes comedians are on a ‘circuit’ and there’s some kind of a logical and preset order. Sorry, it just doesn’t work that way. We have to fight for every booking we get, and every week we deal with a new potential crisis. And people wonder why I flip out.