Finding the best comedy gigs is a lot like finding the right partner. You can have the best, most brilliant idea in the world—and it probably won’t work until you find the right partner to execute it.
So much of what makes a gig good is out of your control, whether that’s whether or not there will be another act on at any given time, or if you’re competing against other comedians for spots on different bills.
Luckily, with a little bit of research and some dedicated networking – you can end up with more than enough opportunities to choose from. To help you along your way, we’ve put together this guide full of tips and tricks that will get you find comedy gigs as many as possible!
What to consider when looking for comedy gigs
Who’s doing the event? – Is it a place you’d like to perform? – Who’s on the bill? – What else is on the bill? – When is it? – Is there an audience limit? Also, is there a dress code? – Is there a chance for you to get on-stage time? – Is there a cash prize?
Network like crazy
Don’t just network with people from your scene. Chances are, they’re not going to be the best fit for you. You’re much better off finding out who might be good at networking with people from other areas, or even different scenes altogether. What’s the best way to find this kind of person?
Pick up a copy of the paper or check out Google News. Find something, anything, that you’re interested in. Something that relates to your show. Maybe it’s a current event that you’re interested in. Also, maybe you’re into a certain sport. Maybe you’re into royal baby names. Whatever it is – make it the focus of your search.
When you find something, pick up the paper again and start looking for people who have written about that topic. Keep doing this as often as you can, but don’t make it your sole focus. You’re not trying to find every person who has ever said anything about your topic. You’re just trying to find people who you think might know people you can meet.
Make it a goal to pick up the paper at least once a day. That’ll give you time to find some new people to network with while also keeping your mind off of what you need to do next.
Register with sites like ShowOff and Chuffed
So you’ve got a bunch of gigs lined up, and you’ve already got your ticket-printing machine set up and in action – but then you realize, you’ve only got one of each! There’s no time to go back out into the wild and try to hand out more of these tickets, so what are your options?
Register both of the events you’re going to perform at on the ticket-printing sites. – It’s a lot like CV writing. You might write “long-form journalism” when what you really mean is “long-form comedy.” If it doesn’t really matter which one you put first on the registration, just register both of them in the same place.
This will give you a little bit of a boost when it comes to ticket sales. Imagine going to an event and seeing this on the poster – it almost seems unfair! So You’re excited to perform at a gig, but then you see on the poster that they only have a single ticket available – not even a pair! You’re going to have to get up and leave before you even get to perform, and now you have to go back out into the wild to try and hand out more tickets.
Be aware of deadlines
Deadlines give you a lot more flexibility than you may think. They can help you decide to move on from a gig if it’s not working out, and give you more time to get another slot lined up should you fail to sell tickets. Keep in mind, though, that some deadlines are set by the programme owners, and some are set by the event organizer.
It’s also possible that there will be a mix of both. If a deadline is set by the programme owner, be sure to check the event listing carefully to find out what the deadline is for selling tickets, and what the organizers are willing to accept. If you have any questions about the event itself, or the selling of tickets, you should reach out to the organizers.
Also, if the deadline is set by the event organizers, then you’ll want to make sure that you’re not just hoping to sell enough tickets to make the event financially viable, but that you are actually going to have a good time with your fellow audience members as well.
Reach out to promoters, agents and managers on the scene
One of the best ways to find new gigs is to reach out to local promoters, agents and managers. They’re the people who are going to know where all of the best gigs are happening, and often they’ll be happy to help a fellow comedian out. – Reach out to promoters, agents and managers that have shows with comedians who are similar to you – when it comes to your style of comedy, and the audience you appeal to.
You want to make sure they see your material first, but they usually will. They’re usually interested in seeing what kind of performers they want to book for their next show, not just anybody who sends them a link. You want to make sure you’re including a link to your website/channel/material and a pitch as to why they should consider booking you for their show.
If you’re really feeling confident, try pitching them an idea for a show that’s similar to the kind of shows they’re promoting. – Just remember, you want to make sure it’s not a show just for your friends. You want to make sure there’s an audience for the show as well.
Keep track of the gigs you’ve been invited to
Nothing is more annoying than going to an event and being the only comedian on the bill. You have to play second fiddle to everything and have to be the one to make sparks fly on stage as you get no time to speak your mind. That’s why it’s worth keeping track of the gigs you’ve been sent an invite to and reaching out to the promoters or agents that run those events if you don’t get an invite. Reaching out to the organizers or promoters of the events you’ve been invited to also keeps you on their radar, and gives you a chance to promote yourself to potential future bookings as well.
– Don’t let a lack of experience or confidence stop you from trying comedy gigs. Everyone has to start somewhere. – Believe in your material, and know that you’re never as good as you think you are. – Always be ready to move on if a gig doesn’t work out. You never know when a chance will come along. – Take care of yourself as much as you take care of your comedy. If you’re not feeling your best, you’re not going to be as good as you could be. If you’d like to learn more, make sure you check out these resources.