Flying under the radar to avoid Bad First Impression Land

May 2, 2016

Hey Dave – How do you know it’s time to start applying to the bigger clubs for MC spots? I know you said that the person booking talent will let you know, but I guess I mean on a more personal level knowing when it is time. I have been really good at keeping myself in check to not think I am better than I am and trying to do things I am not ready for (this could be a blessing and a curse), but I am coming off two comedy contest wins where I didn’t bring anyone and no one knew me, which I think is notable. But I am not sure if that translates into me being ready for something bigger. Thanks – CC

Under the radar

Under the radar

Hey CC – Thanks for asking this question because it reminds me about a very good friend who didn’t “keep himself in check” long enough and tried to move ahead into the bigger clubs before he was ready. The end result stranded him in Bad First Impression Land, which in his case was located in a place where impressions can make or break a career – New York City.

Here’s the story…

My pal had been doing comedy on and off for at least five or six years before I even met him. I was just getting into the comedy biz by running a small club in the Gramercy Park area and invited him to do a set.

My first impression seeing him on stage was that this guy was going to be a star! He simply TORE the house down! He was extremely funny and the audience LOVED him. It was obvious he had the experience, material and a great stage presence. But I couldn’t figure out why he was so willing and available to play our small club for free on a Saturday night, when the best comics played paid sets in the big-name NYC rooms.

A few months later I had a major “IN” at the top club in NYC. My friends and cohorts know the one I’m talking about. This also meant I was my pal’s Golden Ticket. In other words, I could invite him to skip the audition process and just do a guest set. After that I figured he would be a paid regular at the club because he was that good.

My pal said he didn’t think that would happen.

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Say what?!

Then he explained he had auditioned at the club way before he was ready. He had only done about three open-mics, but thought they had gone great. The crowd laughed, he assumed he was a natural comedian, so he started showing up at auditions for the major clubs.

In those days we had the lottery system. A hundred or so comics would stand in line outside the club once a month in pavement melting heat (summer) or sub-zero temps (winter) hoping to pull an audition number. There were usually about 100 blank pieces of paper in a champagne bucket and fifteen printed with a number.

If you pulled out a number you auditioned that same night.

My pal would’ve been better off playing the Power Ball Lottery instead. He considered himself lucky by pulling audition numbers at the best clubs. The unlucky part was that he had only been on stage three times before his chance to make lasting-impression auditions in front of the most powerful club owners and talent bookers in New York City.

According to his painful memory, he bombed horribly. He hadn’t been ready and when faced with a real-life comedy audience, as opposed to a group of comics drinking beer in a late night open-mic, he didn’t have the material and experience.

Still, I told him that had been years ago and it shouldn’t be a problem now. I had seen him and knew he was funny. I approached a powerful club owner with his name and immediately learned a lesson in the importance of making a good first impression.

Oh, I’ve seen him. He’s not very good. Use that guest set to see someone we don’t already know.

His audition had been years before, but it was enough to keep him out of the clubs he couldn’t wait to play when he first started.

So when do you know it’s time to move up to the bigger clubs?

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That’s not an easy question and there’s no standard answer, but here’s how I see it…

You never want to get stuck in the open-mic scene. Too many comedians (again, from what I’ve seen) make it their social life. It’s a night out with friends who have something in common (comedy) and it eventually turns out to be almost an after-thought to take a break from partying to run up on stage and do 3-5 minutes of “inside” jokes. After that, it’s back to socializing around the bar.

Potential working comics don’t do that. They use the open-mics for what they’re meant to be: a place to work on material and get on stage experience. The goal is to create an act that a talent booker would be willing to pay for.

So when is it time to get out of open-mics and into bigger clubs?

laughing crowd

You’re honestly funny!

One is when you honestly (important factor) feel you can consistently get as many laughs (that’s the type of performance talent bookers pay for) as the acts already MC’ing at the bigger clubs. You know who they are because you’re part of your area comedy scene (correct?) and you know who’s MC’ing at the bigger clubs (correct again?).

If you honestly think you’re on the same level as the MC’s at those clubs, then it’s time to arrange an audition. If it’s a lottery system – start standing in line. If there’s a contest with the winner getting a booking at the club – enter. If the booker watches videos – send him or her a link to your website (you have one – correct?) with a video. If they ask for DVD submissions – send one.

Another is by using the Golden Ticket I’ve talked about a LOT in these articles. If you’re a good comic, the other comics will know about you since you’re part of the same scene (again, correct?). If they really like your act and are already playing the bigger clubs you want to play, ask if they’ll put in a good word for you and help arrange a showcase.

If you’re not ready, they’ll let you know because they don’t want to make a bad impression with a talent booker by recommending someone who’s not ready. And then again, I’ve known others who won’t recommend because the newer comic is funnier and they don’t want to risk losing their spots!

So how do you know if you’re ready?

Listen to the audience and honestly evaluate how you compare with comics already working the MC spots in the clubs you want to play. If you (and here’s that word again) honestly think you have the on stage experience you need and comedy material you know works, then it’s probably time to take the next step.

FAQs 150 pix jpegWhat are talent bookers looking for? To make it clear, here’s a line from my book Comedy FAQs And Answers that’s worth remembering:

They may call it amateur night – but no one is looking to hire an amateur.

Get your experience under the radar first. This means in open-mic rooms and other venues where talent bookers are not as likely to see you. Be prepared when you have an opportunity to make a first impression that will get you out of the open-mics – rather than one sending you back to a long term residency in Bad First Impression Land.

Have a comment? Please use the form below.

Thanks for reading and as always – keep laughing!

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Dave Schwensen is the author of How To Be A Working Comic: An Insider’s Business Guide To A Career In Stand-Up ComedyComedy FAQs And Answers: How The Stand-Up Biz Really Works, and Comedy Workshop: Creating & Writing Comedy Material for Comedians & Humorous Speakers.

For details about upcoming comedy workshops at the Chicago, Cleveland and Tampa Improv Comedy Clubs, and private coaching by Skype or phone visit www.TheComedyBook.com

Copyright 2016 – North Shore Publishing.

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When are you NOT allowed to use your promo video?

April 18, 2016

Hey Dave – I played a (known) comedy club and it went very well. I got constant laughs and had so much fun. But I’m a bit confused about something. The club sent me a video of my set and said “feel free to use it as you want, just as long as it’s not used publicly.” What does that mean? How else can I use it? Can I send it to other clubs? Am I allowed to post pictures? I wanted to use it for my website, but I am in total limbo with this. Thanks in advance for clearing up my confusion – ha! Talk to you soon – R.Y.

camera adventure

How NOT to use a video camera

Hey R.Y. – I just checked on YouTube and found more than a few comedian videos taped at the same (known) club. So I’m really not sure what they mean about “not used publicly.” I’ll tell you at the end of this how to find out, but right now I’ll take a couple guesses and explain why…

The known clubs – and many that are not so well known – are very protective of their images. In business terms, it’s called their brand. When you see an advertisement or commercial promoting an upcoming show, it’s going to be for a comedian that will deliver a performance the audience will expect from that caliber of a club.

Let me clear that up a bit. I won’t single out one particular known club because there are too many. So just pick out your favorite…

These clubs are in business. How they stay in business in this competitive field is by bringing in comedians audiences will pay to see. This builds their reputation (brand) with consumers (ticket buyers). They want you to feel confident that if you attend a show at their club you’ll see a very funny comedian.

That’s the image they want potential and returning customers to have. Buy a ticket to this (known) club on the “nights advertised” and you’ll have a great time.

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But these clubs are also interested in finding new talent. Again, it’s part of the business. They can’t bring in the same comics over and over and over because a large segment of their audiences are returning customers. Yes, there are certain comics that are more popular than others, which is why they will have more return engagements. But especially in the clubs where using three comics (MC, feature and headliner) are standard, they don’t want the exact same show. Talent bookers will schedule different opening acts for that reason.

To help find these new comedians or to give local comics more experience, known clubs might have an open-mic night, showcase (where management is auditioning) or host a comedy class that includes a performance night. Usually the comedians can get a video of his or her performance.

watching-scary-movie

THAT’S my act?!!

For some it’s a souvenir of a memorable night. For comics serious about building a career, they’ll use the video to get better. They watch to see how they look on stage, what material worked and what needs work, and to analyze timing and delivery.

But we also know video is the best way to promote your career. If you have a great video the goal is to get it in front of talent bookers. But sometimes depending on “where” you filmed that great set it can be a little confusing on how you’re allowed to use it.

Let’s say you’ve done an open-mic at a known club and have the video. Let’s also say you’ve had some experience and might be ready for paying gigs at lesser known clubs, but not where you made this great video. And even if you are, you’re not the headliner the club would promote to sell tickets.

If you put this video online and make it seem like you were a paid “regular” performer at this club, it’s not going to live up to their brand. That’s an important factor for the club because they’ve worked hard to build their reputation. This happens (a lot) with newer comedians. They’re proud of what they’ve done, but need to remember the clubs are also proud of their brands. I know club managers that have contacted comics and demanded they take the videos down.

It’s business.

That’s also why many clubs hide their onstage logos during open-mic and showcase nights. When their brand is presented publicly they want the public to only associate it with the best comics.

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Another answer to this question would be using it for publicity. You might score a gig at another club or even a benefit show and a clip from your video at the known club is used to sell tickets. Without written permission it’s not a good idea to use video showing their brand (the logo on stage) in the background while you promote a show at a different venue. That could cause more headaches than you’d care to have, so never use one club to promote another.

Again, it’s business.

In your state of confusion, the best bet is to call or email the club and find out exactly what they mean. And since we’re talking about business that’s also a good way to stay in touch. Any time your name is mentioned to a talent booker, you’re promoting yourself (your brand). This is a legitimate reason, rather than an email or postcard just “saying hello and keep me in mind for work…

Be honest. Tell them you’ve received the video and you’re not sure what you’re allowed to do with it. Then let them tell you. You don’t have to say you want to post it on your website, YouTube or send to other clubs. The club manager / booker should fill in the blanks. Then just follow what they say. Either way they’re doing you a favor. You’ll have a video to help you improve as a comedian or help promote yourself as a comedian – or both.

Have a comment? Please use the form below.

Thanks for reading and as always – keep laughing!

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Dave Schwensen is the author of How To Be A Working Comic: An Insider’s Business Guide To A Career In Stand-Up ComedyComedy FAQs And Answers: How The Stand-Up Biz Really Works, and Comedy Workshop: Creating & Writing Comedy Material for Comedians & Humorous Speakers.

For details about upcoming comedy workshops at the Chicago, Cleveland and Tampa Improv Comedy Clubs, and private coaching by Skype or phone visit www.TheComedyBook.com

Copyright 2016 – North Shore Publishing.

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How old is too old to start?

April 4, 2016

Hi Dave – I worked as a comedian for ten years, opening and featuring. Is 51 years of age too old to go back into it? – D.K.

Hey D.K. – You know what? That’s one of those questions only you – and anyone else who checks out a calendar before making a move – can answer for sure. But also “fer’sure” I have a few thoughts about this, so here we go…

First of all, I consider comedy – writing and performing – to be a creative art. I’ve written that countless times in countless FAQs And Answers, so no detailed explanation is needed. It’s just the way it is.

Fountain of youthI also believe using your creativity and being psyched (excited) about sharing your “art” with others is like a Fountain of Youth. Don’t laugh. Again, I’m serious. I’ve had too many former friends (and I mean former because I have no interest in hanging out with people like this) hit a lazy-boy chair (yeah, I know it’s La-Z-Boy, but I don’t feel like getting sued) at the age of 30 and announce they’re over the hill. They hang onto jobs they hate because it’s too much work to find another. Their free time is spent vegging and basically, watching and critiquing other people that are doing or creating other things.

They never seem to create anything except annoyance. And at least to me, they always seem to look and act a lot older than they really are. The only thing they accomplish is getting older.

Am I being too hard on these people? Maybe, but they won’t read this anyway.

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And now that I’ve made my opinion perfectly clear, let me tell you about another creative artist who doesn’t look at his age as a barrier. Oh yeah, and we’re still friends…

A musician pal I hung with during my years living in NYC was deeply into heavy metal rock’n roll. We’re talking Led Zeppelin, KISS and Guns & Roses type of screaming vocals, guitars, drums and, as expected, The Look of being a rock star. He didn’t make it as a teenager, or even into his 20′s or 30′s. But you know what?

He’s now in his 50′s and rockin’ out harder than ever.

SimpsonHe has a real job to support his creative endeavors, but instead of investing his salary into buying a more comfortable chair and big screen TV experience, he build a recording studio in his basement. He’s continually writing (creating) and recording (performing). It’s his creative outlet and passion, but also more than just a hobby similar to playing in a local band on the weekends.

It’s a business.

About once a year he has enough material to release a CD of hard rock originals on his own independent label (same as self-publishing your book). Through the internet and YouTube he’s developed a fan base in Germany and some Eastern European countries that the more youthful independent (and inexperienced) bands haven’t even discovered yet. It keeps him off the couch and more importantly, from wondering:

“What if…?”

So, how would you answer that question ten years from now? You might think 51 is old – but it’s not as old as you’ll be tomorrow, next week or next year. If you have a creative passion and want to give comedy a shot, there’s no better time than now.

And yeah, I know. That sounds like such an overused, tired and old cliche. But it wouldn’t be overused, tired and old if it didn’t make sense.

I won’t even get into stories of creative artists making it in their careers until they were older (Google Grandma Moses if you really need an example). I’ve heard Rodney Dangerfield sold paint until he was 40. Not sure how true that is (anyone want to throw me some facts?) but I tend to believe it.

There are different ways you can get back into the comedy game at a more advanced age.

You need to consider your material and audience. But then again, that’s what just about every comic needs to do anyway.

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For instance, you have a better chance of winning the Lottery than making a comedy career on the college circuit. Through my experience as a college agent I know that’s true. And as father to a teenager, there’s nothing easier for them to tune-out than an old person (think over 30) trying to make them laugh.

I remember interviewing Bill Engvall for my book Comedy FAQs And Answers and mentioning that I thought he’d get a lot of work in the college market. He told me I was nuts. He said his material was about being married and raising a family, which ain’t exactly what college audiences relate to.

I’m only surprised he didn’t hand me the invisible sign that read, “Here’s your sign!” He was sooo right…

But as you know, I also talk about the potential for work in more mature (think again over 30) markets, which means pretty much anything other than college and high school prom shows. Your open-mic circuit can include Rotary Clubs as well as comedy clubs. It’s a matter of writing material your potential audience will relate to and laugh at – and then finding the best venues to deliver it to them.

It’s also about telling yourself you’re not too old to do something you really want to do.

So for another inspiring example to get you off the lazy-boy and onto the stage…

The age range in my comedy workshops has been pretty wide. We’ll go as young as 13 and as old as… well, there’s no limit. The record so far is 72 years young. And you know what?

He ended up working a lot more than some of the much younger members.

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This late-starting comedian knew what he was interested in talking about and what potential audience would be interested in hearing it. His material was about being 72 and some of the things he – and others near his age – was doing and dealing with. He was fun, funny, active and creative. And believe it or not, he started working almost immediately because he was an original rarity.

An older adult doing comedy.

He booked MC spots in good clubs, but made a financial KILLING playing events for senior citizens. I kid you not! Last time we talked – and this was a few years ago – he was a working comic and bouncing around like a guy half his age.

Okay, maybe except for the ones half his age that are stuck in comfortable chairs and critiquing him for being “too old” to do that sort of thing…

So, are you too old at age 51?

It’s up to you, but I don’t know if that reason alone could truly hold a creative artist back from at least giving it a shot. As far as I’m concerned, it beats the heck out of vegging in a chair and watching someone else go for it on your large screen TV…

Have a comment? Please use the form below.

Thanks for reading and as always – keep laughing!

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Dave Schwensen is the author of How To Be A Working Comic: An Insider’s Business Guide To A Career In Stand-Up ComedyComedy FAQs And Answers: How The Stand-Up Biz Really Works, and Comedy Workshop: Creating & Writing Comedy Material for Comedians & Humorous Speakers.

For details about upcoming comedy workshops at the Chicago, Cleveland and Tampa Improv Comedy Clubs, and private coaching by Skype or phone visit www.TheComedyBook.com

Copyright 2016 – North Shore Publishing.

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Record for your own protection

March 21, 2016

Hi Dave – I was talking with another comic about that court case in Canada a few years ago. A customer in a comedy club sued the comic over his (adult) language. She claimed to be stressed and shocked and won the case. We record every set mainly so we can hear which jokes work and how well. Now it’s important to document what was actually said. This was a case of a comic being accused of using inappropriate language in a mandatory “clean” show. – BM

"Say WHAT?!"

“Say WHAT?!”

Hey BM – I remember that case and wrote about it in a FAQs article when the verdict came down. A lot of people in the comedy biz were shocked over what happened. To borrow a phrase from an influential club booker who seems to repeat it every time we talk, comedy clubs are “The Last Bastion of Free Speech.” In other words, he feels as long as the comedian is funny it’s okay to have an opinion to say what he or she wants on stage and not worry about being politically correct.

But it’s not that simple.

It didn’t take a court case for most working comics to understand there are limits on language and topics depending on the venue, audience and event. For example, what you can expect to hear during a late night show in a comedy club vs. a corporate event will be different.

As you mentioned, it’s important to record all your sets. This is a great way to help you improve as a writer and performer. If your performance is funny the audience will laugh. If it sucks, you’ll hear crickets from the segments of the room where your family and friends are not sitting. You can develop your act off their response.

As you also mentioned, recording your set is a way to “document” what is said on stage. Based on the result of the court case, having proof of what you said can be just as important.

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Some performers may not realize this, but did you know that some club owners or managers record the shows? It’s nothing new. Many clubs have a permanent camera installed and aimed toward the stage. Before that in “ancient times” (pre video cameras) quite a few had an audio recorder going.

Ancient Times

Ancient Times

I know. I’ve been around since the “ancient times” and saw this happening.

I’ve also seen this documentation (proof) used to show performers that what they advertised (promised) was not what they delivered. And in some cases, it justified the talent booker not paying the performer.

Example…

This past winter I received a call from a booker to warn me about a certain comedian who was promoting himself as a clean (G-rated) act. He had scheduled the comic for a corporate show and was called-out by the client because the comic not only talked graphically about sex, but also dropped the F-bomb in the process.

Of course the comic protested. He said his material was not that dirty.

So the talent booker told him to prove it. Send the audio or video. The comic couldn’t because he didn’t record. So it came down to the client’s word vs. the comic’s word.

Can you guess who won?

Yeah, the angry and offended client with big corporate $$’s to spend on his next event. The booker still hoped some of that money would be spent on one of his performers, so case closed. The client demanded and received a refund, so neither the talent booker or the comic was paid. And since the talent booker wasn’t used to getting yelled at by clients because the performers he works with are expected to understand the event and “know the audience,” he called other talent bookers to warn them of the potential nightmare that comes from working with that particular comic.

That’s how I heard about it.

So now getting back to the article you mentioned, I’m guessing the judge made a ruling based on whose lawyer sounded most convincing. I don’t remember reading about the comedian recording his set. If he had, it might (or might not) have saved him time, trouble, money and future work. It’s important for creative artists to have freedom of expression, but I’ll also add this from a business side of the creative entertainment business:

There are certain limits.

What do I mean by that stipulation?

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A comedy club normally is for people ages 21 and over. If someone fits that demographic but is easily offended, then they need to follow the rule of “buyer beware.” If the show is announced for mature audiences only you can bet the comic on stage will practice his or her right of free speech at some point or another. If someone doesn’t like it – they should leave.

It’s similar to watching television. If I don’t like a show I’ll change the channel. But I won’t impose my beliefs on someone else who might enjoy it. As an example I’ll use all the violent murder and detective shows on prime time that I have no desire to watch. But they pull in high ratings, so who am I to prevent others from tuning in? Instead, I’ll just change the channel to The Voice or a rerun of Seinfeld. Those are the types of shows I enjoy watching.

But performers also need to be aware of the event and audience.

As mentioned above, a late night comedy club show will be different than a corporate event. Comedy clubs are where comedians can practice free speech, while corporate comics need to be funny using G-rated material.

To prove (document) my point, here’s an experience with someone that “did not know his audience” that I still find unforgettable and unforgivable…

Says it all.

Says it all.

Many years ago I took our then 5 year-old son to a very well-known amusement park. It wasn’t Disney because they have standards about this stuff. But as we walked around all these rides and games meant for little kids, I saw a guy wearing a white t-shirt with the F-Bomb spelled out in all it’s four-letter glory in BIG bold black lettering as in “F(bomb) YOU!

Sorry Mr. Living-On-The-Edge, but that was not the time or place for your political incorrectness. Performers who work in the comedy and speaking biz will understand. It’s called knowing your audience and the audience this idiot had was a bunch of 5-year old kids with their parents.

This goes both ways.

Performers must know your audience. Audiences must realize where they are. If it’s a corporate show it’ll be clean. If it’s a comedy club, chances are something will be said that’s not appropriate for 5 year old kids or anyone easily offended.

When you cross the line, that’s when the trouble – and bad-mouthing phone calls – can start. Your best defense is to always record your set and be sure it backs up what you’ve been hired to do.

Have a comment? Please use the form below.

Thanks for reading and as always – keep laughing!

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Dave Schwensen is the author of How To Be A Working Comic: An Insider’s Business Guide To A Career In Stand-Up ComedyComedy FAQs And Answers: How The Stand-Up Biz Really Works, and Comedy Workshop: Creating & Writing Comedy Material for Comedians & Humorous Speakers.

For details about upcoming comedy workshops at the Chicago, Cleveland and Tampa Improv Comedy Clubs, and private coaching by Skype or phone visit www.TheComedyBook.com

Copyright 2016 – North Shore Publishing.

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BOR sales at corporate events

March 7, 2016

Hi Dave – Your recent discussions about corporate comedy and speaking raises a question about back-of-room (BOR) sales. Merchandise sales are common in comedy shows and speaking engagements open to the public. But what about corporate gigs where the company is paying you? Is that something most companies accept, or is it generally frowned upon? How do you handle this? Thanks! DG

Hey DG – Like just about everything else in the speaking and comedy biz, it depends.

carnival-barker-imageBOR sales of merchandise is so common today that I’m always surprised when the speaker – or comedy headliner AND feature act AND opening act – isn’t camped behind a table full of merch (show-biz slang) and selling everything that isn’t nailed down after the show.

It’s a big source of income. In fact, it’s not even looked at anymore as extra income. In some cases BOR sales can add up to more money than what the comic or speaker is being paid by the talent booker just to do the gig.

For a big-time, big money example…

A few years ago I was talking to a comedian friend (who will remain nameless because I’ll drop dollar amounts in this story, but as a hint she’s in my book Comedy FAQs And Answers). She was in a panic going from a theater show in Florida to another in Cleveland because she had completely sold-out all her BOR merch. She needed her agent to send a shipment over-night so her money-making DVDs, CDs, T-Shirts, photos (to autograph for $$’s) and books would be available for fans to purchase after her Cleveland show.

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If I remember correctly, she was paid about $10 grand for the performance itself. What I do remember correctly is that she told me she made $22 grand selling merchandise after the Florida show.

Yeah, I’d be in a panic too.

Comics and speakers sell all kinds of stuff. Audience members can look at these items as souvenirs of a fun night and also a chance to get an autographed copy of something. And just in case the performer becomes famous the fan can make some money selling it on eBay. But that’s a totally different business proposition…

But you’re definitely correct it’s different when playing a corporate-paid gig. It can be done – and is quite often, but in my opinion you need permission in advance from the person signing your check.

You don’t ever want to surprise a corporate client or event planner by setting up your mini-store at an important training seminar or formal banquet without an agreement made in advance. In fact, I recommend you get the permission in writing and that it’s included in your signed contract. I use a contract rider that includes everything from BOR sales to the exact wording of my introduction and what type of microphone I prefer.

So even if they don’t remember giving you permission for BOR sales and ask you to start putting all your merch back into the trunk of your car, you’ll have proof of the prior agreement.

So how do I handle all this? Thank you for asking. As usual, it depends…

I do two separate corporate programs. One presentation is based on my comedy workshops and communications course I designed for Cleveland State University. It has a 60-page workbook, but it’s not for BOR sales and I don’t pitch it during my program. The client has an option to purchase copies in advance for audience giveaways. If it’s a half or full day training seminar, it’s added into my fee so everyone in attendance will have one because we’ll use it during the program. Either way I’ll know how many are needed and can have them printed up in advance.

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Corporate material, business tools, networking & promotion

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7 Day FREE trial – CLICK HERE for details!

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So I won’t even make a 30 second pitch for BOR sales during this particular corporate-paid program. I’ll stay afterwards to talk and trade business cards because as you should already know, it’s all about networking. You never know who’s in the audience that might want to hire you for a future gig.

And when that happens, ask them in advance about BOR sales!

AROTR

Who’s the guy stealing my spotlight?

My second program is not for training purposes, but as entertainment. Since this is what comedians do in clubs, pay attention…

This is a pop culture program based on my books The Beatles At Shea Stadium and The Beatles In Cleveland. For this one it’s already in the contract that I do BOR sales. Like I mentioned above – and how most comedians and other entertainers should look at it – I consider this as part of my payment for doing the gig. It also helps in negotiating since BOR sales will allow me to come in for a lower fee than a no BOR sales training seminar. Book sales make up the difference.

Then again, that’s what I do and I’m only spelling it out because you asked. I’m in no-way a know-it-all about this and I’m sure there are working comics and speakers reading who will have more thoughts and personal experiences about this topic.

Care to share? We’d love to hear from you. Please use the comment form below.

Thanks for reading and as always – keep laughing!

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Dave Schwensen is the author of How To Be A Working Comic: An Insider’s Business Guide To A Career In Stand-Up ComedyComedy FAQs And Answers: How The Stand-Up Biz Really Works, and Comedy Workshop: Creating & Writing Comedy Material for Comedians & Humorous Speakers.

For details about upcoming comedy workshops at the Chicago, Cleveland and Tampa Improv Comedy Clubs, and private coaching by Skype or phone visit www.TheComedyBook.com

Copyright 2016 – North Shore Publishing.

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Finding corporate gigs and dealing with gatekeepers

February 22, 2016

Dave – I’ve taken your comedy workshop and it was a wonderful experience. Okay, now that I’ve saved you the time of promoting it, I did have a question. You recently wrote about using humor to gain corporate gigs. How does one go about finding these speaking opportunities? Who do you contact – event planners, Human Resources or some other person at the corporate office? What is a gatekeeper and how should one approach that gatekeeper? – B.T.

Hey B.T. – Come on… You know me. Just because you plugged my workshop (thank you btw) doesn’t mean I’m not going to plug it again. It’s called promoting, which is what you also need to do if you want to book corporate gigs.

Blues car

Let them know!

That’s true whether you’re a comedian, humorous speaker, or any type of presenter or entertainer. No one will hire you unless they know you’re out there and available for work.

The article you’re referring to was about using humor during your program at corporate events. It was posted in two parts, January 11 and 24 in case anyone wants to scroll down for a reminder. But your question has given it a different spin:

How would you use humor to find and schedule corporate gigs? Here’s my take on it…

* But first of all I’d like to throw this question out to anyone working as an entertainer or speaker in the corporate market. What is your best advice on how to find corporate gigs? Use the contact form below or send to dave@thecomedybook.com and I’ll share them in an upcoming newsletter.

I go through phases, but guess I could admit to being a big cold caller. It sounds miserable (think telemarketer) and was at first. I dreaded those work-related calls. But after much practice and bad experiences, I came up with an idea to make these calls semi-humorous. After all, I talk about humor and it was time to start using it.

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Comedy Workshop at The Tampa Improv

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Meets Saturday, March 5, 12 and 19, 2016

We’ll skip Easter Weekend and then…

All workshop members perform at The Improv on

Wednesday, March 30 at 8 pm

Space limited to 10 people

Visit TheComedyBook.com for details, reviews & to register now!

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In the corporate market you really can’t be a one-liner, class clown or jokester when first contacting a gatekeeper (we’ll get to that term in a moment) by phone. You’ll either get the Rodney Dangerfield treatment (no respect) or treated to an entire symphony of Musak when they put your call on hold.

It’s a business call and you have to treat it that way. BUT it’s important to have an opening line that grabs interest. It’s like writing the beginning of a comedy bit or speaker’s presentation. You want to grab your listener’s attention as soon as possible. And since you also work in the humor industry, there’s no reason why you can’t use a fun(ny) opening line as a conversation starter.

Here’s an example that I’ve used and it’s worked – no BS:

Hello, this is (your name) and I’m calling from “beautiful” or “hot and humid” or “snowy and cold” (name the city closest to you that you know they’ve heard of).”

THEN WAIT.

More times than not, the person answering the phone will have a comment about the city. They’ve been there; have relatives or friends living there; know something about it (good or bad – doesn’t matter); or will have at least heard of it.

BINGO!!! Conversation starter.

Let them talk and all you have to do is work off of what they’ve just given you. Get it? To continue this random example, they might go with the “weather option” you gave them in your opening line, or want to talk about the city’s sports teams (I get that one a lot). Then once we have a (hopefully) friendly and/or funny conversation going I ease into my sales pitch.

I have a program that would be great for your company’s next event. Let me tell you about it…

And here’s another secret. If my opener is greeted by silence or a negative reaction I don’t waste a lot of time on the call. Since I deal with humor, this is obviously not a good fit for what I do. I’ll move onto the next one.

* Once again, I’m sure we’d all be interested in YOUR tips. Send to dave@thecomedybook.com

How do you find speaking opportunities?

Cold calling is just one way – and usually everyone’s least favorite. The best is always in person networking. I talk about this in much more detail in my online program How To Be A Working Corporate Comedian, but in a nutshell, every community has business organizations looking for presenters. Play detective and find the person that schedules these meetings and volunteer to speak for FREE.

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Corporate material, business tools, networking & promotion

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7 Day FREE trial – CLICK HERE for details!

—————————————————————

This is a major source for contacts. Not only can you showcase in front of potential clients, but they’ll also usually feed you for FREE. Do a meet and greet and liberally hand out your business cards while trying to collect as many as you can. Some audience members might have an event coming up and would be interested in hiring you based on your FREE showcase presentation.

I’ve booked quite a few paying gigs this way and gained a few pounds at the same time.

As far as who you should contact…

You’ll need to play detective again to find out that info for individual corporate events. I’ve learned firsthand it can be just about anyone from an assistant to the head honcho of the company. Go online and learn what you can about the company before calling. You can also ask the gatekeeper…

Who??

do not enterThe gatekeeper is the person that answers the phone during your cold calls and considers it to be his or her personal mission to keep you from talking to the decision maker. And in case you need a refresher, the decision maker is the person that can hire you.

You need to convince the gatekeeper that you and (especially) your comedy act or speaking presentation is worthy of personal contact with the decision maker.

Sometimes the above-mentioned creative (humorous) example can be the needed cold call icebreaker. Other times it turns into a longer process. This would involve sending information and promotional videos showing what you can offer to make their event successful – and hope the decision maker sees it. Then you need to follow-up without being a pain in the you-know-what.

How do you do that? It’s in my book How To Be A Working Comic (another plug!) and involves a timely use of phone calls, emails and postcards. There are no guarantees, but gatekeepers, event planners, humor resources, assistants and head honchos will never know you’re even out there and available unless you present yourself.

It’s called promoting. And in my opinion, an element of humor can help you stand out from the competition.

Comment? Please use the form below. Thanks for reading and as always – keep laughing!

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Dave Schwensen is the author of How To Be A Working Comic: An Insider’s Business Guide To A Career In Stand-Up ComedyComedy FAQs And Answers: How The Stand-Up Biz Really Works, and Comedy Workshop: Creating & Writing Comedy Material for Comedians & Humorous Speakers.

For details about upcoming comedy workshops at the Chicago, Cleveland and Tampa Improv Comedy Clubs, and private coaching by Skype or phone visit www.TheComedyBook.com

Copyright 2016 – North Shore Publishing.

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Doing new material for a comedy contest

February 8, 2016

Hey Dave – I won a spot in the amateur contest finale show next week. My question to you is this: I used my same set that you saw and it rocked. Should I go back there with that exact same set or a completely new one untested? Can I put in a few new bits and keep the rest the same? Thanks for your time – N.D.

Hey N.D. – That’s great news – congrats! Good things can happen when you “rock” on stage.

To answer your question, I’ll need to rely on what I’ve been told by too many comedians and behind the scenes people over the years. I’ve been involved with many auditions, which are different than contests. At an audition the comedians would do about five to seven minutes to be considered for a booking. When I was in Los Angeles it was three to five minutes when auditioning for most of the television shows, including The Tonight Show and on down the list.

comedy stage

What gets you there?

We didn’t see the same material twice because there were no preliminaries and finals like in a comedy contest. The comic either got the gig or didn’t. If one of one of the talent bookers wanted to see the comic again it meant he/she was interested, but also wanted to see different material.

In comedy contests you have to know “what got you there” and what will keep you around until the end. In my book Comedy FAQs And Answers I asked the same question to an important Hollywood television producer (you’ll have to read the book to find out). His answer?

Always go with your A-Game.

In other words, never do an audition, showcase or (important) contest with untested material. Otherwise just consider it “stage time” (practice) and use it as that. Use it to work on material, delivery, timing, stage fright or whatever you need to improve to get better.

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Comedy Workshops March – April 2016

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The Tampa Improv Comedy Club starts March 5

The Cleveland Improv starts April 9

Includes an evening showcase performance

Space limited to 10 people

Spring 2016 dates for The Chicago Improv TBA

Visit TheComedyBook.com for details, reviews & to register now!

*

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But since you’re excited by going this far in the contest you should follow the above advice. Go with your A-Game and don’t do the untested set.

Since this is during a live show and not a repeat performance in front of a small panel of judges you’re going to have a different audience. So don’t worry about people having heard your material earlier. And as for the club staff, the hard workers behind the scenes are there every night and know many comedians do essentially the same act every show.

But now we’ll throw a little variation into the mix…

Comedians – good comedians anyway – are creative artists. I’ve said that many times before because it’s true. They are constantly writing and constantly anxious to try out new material to see how an audience will react. Many of my favorites that I’ve seen dozens of times over the years always have something new to say. But they also know “what got them there” as far as paid bookings and fans. They already know through experience what material is proven to work, whether it’s a great opening, closing or a solid punch to the funny bone in the middle of their set, and they’ll deliver it.

When a comedian does a Comedy Central special, you can bet the material has been tried out more than a few times before the show is filmed. The stakes are too high and no one including the comedian, management, producer, network and beyond can afford a “bomb.” It wouldn’t help anyone’s career.

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves…

You are going up in an amateur contest next week, which isn’t Comedy Central, but it can also be an important step in your career. If your creativity is telling you to try something new, it’s probably a good idea to try it out somewhere else first. Do some open mics and get a feel for the delivery and audience response. It’s what you did anyway in putting together the material that “got you there” and the process shouldn’t stop now.

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Corporate material, business tools, networking & promotion

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7 Day FREE trial – CLICK HERE for details!

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When it comes to the contest performance, do the material that really works best. If it’s the same set you did it at the earlier show, the new audience won’t know. And unless the contest judges requested something new – and obviously they didn’t or we wouldn’t be having this discussion – they should make their decisions based on audience response. Of course it doesn’t always happen that way, but your main goal should be entertaining the audience. If you get a great response and don’t get crowned the winner (especially by Steve Harvey) it’s not the end of the world – or your career.

talentYou still win. You’ve had more stage time, which is an opportunity to get better. And as far as I know and from what I’ve been told, that’s what’s important to a creative artist.

Remember what got you there – a set that rocked. You want to rock again and that could be a crapshoot for a newer comedian with untested material. In these situations give them your best – your A-Game. But keep writing and looking for more opportunities to get on stage because in the long run, that’s how you’ll put together the material “that got you there” if Comedy Central ever calls.

Comment? Please use the form below. Thanks for reading and as always – keep laughing!

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Dave Schwensen is the author of How To Be A Working Comic: An Insider’s Business Guide To A Career In Stand-Up ComedyComedy FAQs And Answers: How The Stand-Up Biz Really Works, and Comedy Workshop: Creating & Writing Comedy Material for Comedians & Humorous Speakers.

For details about upcoming comedy workshops at the Chicago, Cleveland and Tampa Improv Comedy Clubs, and private coaching by Skype or phone visit www.TheComedyBook.com

Copyright 2016 – North Shore Publishing.

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Use humor to get corporate gigs part 2

January 24, 2016

I just completed a comedy workshop and also I’m reading your book How To Be A Working Comic. I would also like to learn about humorous presentations and keynote opportunities. – Sincerely, EM

Okay, if you’re following along that’s the same question from our last newsletter. You’ll also remember the answer was getting a bit long and the executive decision was made to break it up into two parts. If you’d like to check out Part 1 just scroll down.

To continue where we left off…

Now, before you shake your head and think I’m nuts because there’s “no way” you could ever relate to corporate event themes, here’s a news update:

Chances are you can.

Identify_Your_AudienceI say that because I’ve worked with and watched dozens of talented local and national comedians turn themselves into corporate comedians or humorists by taking their comedy material and focusing it on the audience and the event.

They’ve done this through simple research. Usually by emailing a short survey to the event planner or a phone interview with the client. They find out the “theme” for the event, the company’s product and the focus of the conference training seminars. Then they can take this information and see how his/her existing comedy material relates.

Stop shaking your head because I’m not done yet. For example…

If you have a family you’re probably an “expert” on communications, team building and customer service. Yeah, it may sound ridiculous because it might only be about communicating with your parents, spouse, kids or other relatives. But since these are important topics within the “business world” and focused on during the conference, your performance would be “entertainment” that is based on the “theme.”

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Corporate material, business tools, networking & promotion

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7 Day FREE trial – CLICK HERE for details!

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The topics are the same. You’re just relating to them in a different way as a comedian. Put focus on the conference theme (ex: the importance of communicating) and how you deal with it on a personal level (ex: “I don’t understand how my family communicates“) and it becomes info-tainment.

Still shaking your head? I’ll continue…

A couple years ago I did a breakout session at a medical conference. And here’s a confession – I ain’t no doctor. But one of the conference topics was stress relief. I’m a comedy coach and talk about humor. One of the benefits of humor is relieving stress. I was the only person in the room without a medical degree, white coat and stethoscope – and probably the only one that got paid for that particular hour. I made sure my topic – finding humor in stressful situations – related to their event.

StoogesMy topic, or expertise, was a good example of what the doctors were talking about in their training seminars (info) and we had more than a few laughs (entertainment).

The event planner may have hired a big-time keynote speaker or high-priced entertainer for a highlight event during the conference, but to make it a highlight they would probably need big-time doctor credentials (keynote) or television credits (entertainer). If you can compete for those gigs then go for it. Otherwise, start thinking about how your comedy expertise can get you booked for one of the many other (paying) speaker opportunities.

A stand-up comedian who doesn’t customize his material for the event can still get hired as the entertainment. A humorous speaker can be hired for keynotestraining seminarsbreak out sessions – and as the entertainment.

What this means is that you don’t need to work laughs into a strict business training program about… well, corporate stuff such as taxes, law, productivity, networking, increasing sales and all that. If you have experience in those fields and can speak as a “trainer” with humor you should be in demand. But even if you don’t, you might have comedy material that is relatable to those topics. So find a creative way to relate what you already talk about to the audience and the event.

This is another way of saying know your audience.

The topic of the conference could be anything from business techniques such as learning power point or relieving office stress, to more personal topics like juggling a family and a career, to improving your golf game.

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Were you ever a parent, child, golfer, lawyer, teacher, minister, truck driver, bartender or anything other than a comedian? Then you have a business or personal topic you can share. Talk about your business or personal experiences (I’ll bet you already do in your act) while making it funny and entertaining, and you’ll be considered a humorous speaker.

For example…

I’m sure a comedian with teaching experience would have some very funny stories and advice to share if team-building was a corporate breakout session topic. So would soccer moms and dads, military vets, sports fans, frat boys, factory workers, gang members – and anyone else that has ever been part of a team.

This also works if you have a particular message.

Have you or anyone close to you survived a disease, injury or other tragedy? I hate to list those suggestions as moneymakers, but I’ve seen many comedians on the corporate and college circuits turning negatives into positives as humorous motivational speakers. If your story can help someone else – then it’s worthy of telling. And if you can make it entertaining, your audience will tend to listen and “get” your message. The same idea holds true for insights on bullying, alcohol awareness and other important topics. Do you have experience in these fields? Talk, share, motivate, teach, train and entertain as a comedian.

That’s what sells in the corporate market.

The idea is not to be limited to only going for the corporate entertainment gigs that seem to peak during holidays and slow down the rest of the year. If your material and performance relates to the event and is funny you’ll find more opportunities for work.

I’ll talk more about this topic in the coming weeks because I have a lot to share. But here’s another big chunk of advice that I’ve shared numerous times in earlier newsletters.

Keep it clean!

For corporate shows, we’re talking G and PG (at the max) rated. Don’t even try to test that warning in an attempt to prove me wrong. You won’t – and you also won’t work corporate gigs where you can make more money in an hour than you can during an entire weekend at a comedy club.

And if you remember how we started in Part 1 of this discussion, that’s a correct answer to a big-money topic. And now for my brilliant callback…

I guess I should’ve been a game show host.

Comment? That’s what the form below is for.

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Dave Schwensen is the author of How To Be A Working Comic: An Insider’s Business Guide To A Career In Stand-Up ComedyComedy FAQs And Answers: How The Stand-Up Biz Really Works, and Comedy Workshop: Creating & Writing Comedy Material for Comedians & Humorous Speakers.

For details about upcoming comedy workshops at the Chicago, Cleveland and Tampa Improv Comedy Clubs, and private coaching by Skype or phone visit www.TheComedyBook.com

Copyright 2016 – North Shore Publishing.

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Use humor to get corporate gigs

January 11, 2016

Mr. Schwensen – I just completed a comedy workshop and also I’m reading your book How To Be A Working Comic. I would also like to learn about humorous presentations and keynote opportunities. – Sincerely, EM

Hey EM – First of all, I write these newsletters for a bunch of funny comedians and humorous speakers. We’re not exactly standing up on the top tier of formality in our biz, so “Mr. Schwensen” and “Sincerelywill have to go. Our favorite terms of endearment are…

Well, since I’ve promised to keep this newsletter rated G and PG for our younger readers (and the parents that screen them) I won’t make a list. But next time, “Hey Dave” will work just fine.

Second, thanks for the book plug. Saves me from having to do it myself this week… ha!

“Humorous presentations and keynote opportunities.”

GameShowHost

You win!

If I was a game show host we’d be celebrating right now because you just hit on a big-money topic. It also happens to be one that I don’t think enough comedians are taking advantage of:

Humorous speaking gigs.

Of course there are comedy and speaking gigs available in the club, college and cruise ship markets, but when you mention presentations and keynotes, my mind races to the corporate market (includes businesses, associations and social organizations) where there are a lot of opportunities for speakers that are humorous.

Corporate events will hire entertainers, such as comedians, musicians and variety acts for special occasions, holiday parties, retirement banquets and in general, when they need entertainment. Usually, that will be one big blow-out show as the entertainment highlight of the conference. The entertainer who scores that spot could be in line for a big payday. But you know what? At many conferences there are keynotes (breakfast, lunch and dinner), training seminars and breakout sessions throughout the day – for as many days as the conference runs.

That’s a lot of spots to fill – with speakers.

At corporate functions there are more opportunities for presenters who can inform as well as entertain. And when that info-tainment requirement includes laughter, event planners seem to be more open to hire humorous speakers.

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Comedy Workshop at The Tampa Improv

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Starts Saturday, January 23, 2016

Includes a performance at The Tampa Improv on Wednesday, February 10th at 8 pm

Visit TheComedyBook.com for details, reviews & to register now!

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Winter 2016 workshop dates for Chicago and Cleveland TBA

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Speakers bureaus (which operate like entertainment agencies) list more humorous speakers on their rosters than entertainers. Why? Because they get more work in the corporate market and that’s how the bureaus stay in business. And if you look into it (Google a few) you’ll find the humorous speakers have at least a few general topics that could fit into various events.

They’re still doing comedy, but it relates to the audience and theme of the event.

Ludwig_Von_drake_d23

Corporate Trainer?

Most conference training seminars and keynotes consist of the “hands-on” experienced information attendees need for professional development. That’s the reason to have a conference.

For example…

If it’s a conference on law enforcement, the training seminars might teach the best way to bust crooks. If it’s about being a grocery store clerk, they’ll learn new techniques in bagging groceries. Since the majority of entertainers won’t have experience in either profession their best chance to book the gig at either conference is if entertainment is needed.

With budget cuts, time restrictions and other factors dictating how business conferences are planned, hiring someone purely for entertainment purposes is usually the first casualty. Sure, CEO’s and event planners want their events to be fun and memorable for the employees and associates, but they also need to serve a purpose.

Usually it involves training and how to do their business better.

So a big chunk of the budget will be used to bring in the trainers and speakers who do just that. And instead of hiring a high-priced comedian to perform an after dinner show as the highlight entertainer, they might bring in a karaoke machine or local deejay.

Believe me, not only are comics frustrated by that – so are their agents.

But good event planners also know it’s important for conference attendees to have a positive experience. You know what they say about all work and no play… So entertainment can still be a factor, especially if it relates to the event.

For example…

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An 8-week online course

Corporate material, business tools, networking & promotion

Corp Program Square Banner 150

7 Day FREE trial – CLICK HERE for details!

———————————————————————

Even if a comedian or speaker doesn’t have experience or training in a certain profession they can still be booked for a presentation if they have topics pertaining to these services. If we stick with law enforcement and grocery bagging, it’s a good bet there will be training seminars on communications, customer service and team building. Do you have any comedy material or experiences that might even come close to any of those topics?

Then your goal is to customize it for the event.

Now, before you shake your head and think I’m nuts because there’s “no way” you can relate to corporate event themes, chances are you can. I say that because I’ve worked with and watched dozens of talented local and national comedians turn themselves into “corporate humorists” by taking their comedy material and focusing it on their audience and the event.

But you know what? This is turning into one of my longer ramblings, so it might be a good idea to take a break. We’ll “focus” on that topic next week in Part 2. Until then – keep laughing!

Comment? That’s what the form below is for.

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Dave Schwensen is the author of How To Be A Working Comic: An Insider’s Business Guide To A Career In Stand-Up ComedyComedy FAQs And Answers: How The Stand-Up Biz Really Works, and Comedy Workshop: Creating & Writing Comedy Material for Comedians & Humorous Speakers.

For details about upcoming comedy workshops at the Chicago, Cleveland and Tampa Improv Comedy Clubs, and private coaching by Skype or phone visit www.TheComedyBook.com

Copyright 2016 – North Shore Publishing.

————————————————————————————-

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Sign up now through this LINK for Dave’s free newsletter

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Top 10 Networking Jokes For 2015

December 27, 2015

Another year with more laughs? Sounds good to me. But before we move ahead, let’s take a look back at what made us laugh in 2015. And in case you haven’t caught on yet, that’s a good excuse to list The Top 10 Networking Jokes For 2015.

Though I’ve been doing this newsletter for a lot longer, I didn’t come up with the brilliant idea of sharing your jokes with links to your websites, videos and other marketing sites until the last few months of 2010. Since then there have been 224 jokes shared in this newsletter. If we put them all together (35 pages!) it might make a good Comedy Central special or at least a decent open-mic set – ha!

So to ring out the old and ring in the new, here in no special order are 2015’s Top 10 Networking Jokes for How To Be A Working Comic and Humorous Speaker. We’ll pick up where we left off in 2016, so if you have a website, video, upcoming show, Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn or other site you’d like to promote to your fellow readers, send me an email. After all, it’s all about networking…

Thanks for reading and being an important part of this large circle of comedians, humorous speakers, talent reps and talent bookers. I hope you have a very productive and laugh-filled New Year!

Keep Laughing!

Dave Schwensen

*

TOP 10 NETWORKING JOKES FOR 2015

1. Three women die together in an accident and go to heaven. When they get there, St. Peter says, “We only have one rule here in heaven. Don’t step on the ducks!”

So they enter heaven and sure enough, there are ducks all over the place. It is almost impossible not to step on a duck, and although they try their best to avoid them, the first woman accidentally steps on one. Along comes St. Peter with the ugliest man she ever saw.

St. Peter chains them together and says, “Your punishment for stepping on a duck is to spend eternity chained to this ugly man!” The next day the second woman steps accidentally on a duck and along comes St. Peter, who doesn’t miss a thing. With him is another extremely ugly man. He chains them together with the same admonishment as for the first woman.

The third woman has observed all this and, not wanting to be chained for all eternity to an ugly man, is very, VERY careful where she steps. She manages to go months without stepping on any ducks, but one day St. Peter comes up to her with the most handsome man she has ever laid eyes on… very tall, long eyelashes, muscular, and thin. St. Peter chains them together without saying a word.

The happy woman says, “I wonder what I did to deserve being chained to you for all of eternity?” The handsome guys says, “I don’t know about you, but I stepped on a duck.” – Brian Luoma

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2. Last night I decided to go out to just hang out and have a beer, then I fell asleep while planning what to wear. This morning I realized, my trash goes out more than I do. – Vernon Davis

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3. I was reading an article last week about Fathers and Daughters, and memories came flooding back of the time I took my Daughter out for her first drink. Off we went to our local Pub, which is only two blocks from the house. I got her a Guinness Stout. She didn’t like it – so I drank it. Then I got her an Old Style – she didn’t like it either, so I drank it. It was the same with the Coors and the Bud. By the time we got down to the Irish whiskey . . . I could hardly push the stroller back home. – Bob Stefani

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4. “It’s not that I’m fat. It’s just that I’m modest and don’t want my bones to show.” – Lynn B. Johnson

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5. A man and a little boy entered a barbershop together. After the man received the full treatment – shave, shampoo, manicure and haircut, he placed the boy in the chair. “I’m going to buy a green tie to wear for the parade,” he said. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

When the boy’s haircut was completed and the man still hadn’t returned, the barber said, “Looks like your daddy’s forgotten all about you.”

“That wasn’t my daddy,” said the boy. “He just walked up, took me by the hand and said, “Come on son, we’re gonna get a free haircut!” – No Name.

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Comedy Workshop at The Tampa Improv

Workshop Marquee 150

Starts Saturday, January 23, 2016

Includes a performance at The Tampa Improv on Wednesday, February 10th at 8 pm!

Visit TheComedyBook.com for details, reviews & registration

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Winter 2016 workshop dates for Chicago and Cleveland TBA

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6. “Things are so bad in the world, I just started my own Kickstarter campaign for world peace – and now I owe them money. 42,000,000 dollars and a Get Out Of The USA Free card… Oy!!!” – Dave Weiser

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7. “Middle life is not a crisis. It’s a waterslide to old age.” – Marilyn Mandel 

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8. “I went skydiving the other day. It was the most exciting thing I’d ever done and the scariest. Like marriage. Except skydiving has a higher success rate.” – Don Cooper

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9. The shark had punched a hole in the bottom of the boat and we started taking on water. With nothing to plug the hole the Captain said, just sit on it. I did but the leak got worst. Remembering JAWS, I yelled “We’re gonna need a bigger Butt!” – Bob Moher

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10. “A guy walking along the beach finds a bottle. He pulls out the cork, and a genie appears and tells him he has three wishes. “But,” the genie says, “I have to warn you, whatever you receive, your worst enemy will get twice as much as you.”

“Okay,” says the guy, “first, I want ten million dollars.” The genie grants the wish and reminds him that his worst enemy now has twenty million dollars.

“Next wish, I want a thirty-room mansion in the Bahamas.” The genie builds the mansion for him, and lets him know that his worst enemy now has a home twice as big.

“Fine. For the last wish,” the guy picks up a big stick and hands it to the genie, “beat me HALF to death.” – Debbie (my wife who thinks she’s funny telling old jokes..).

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Comment? That’s what the form below is for. In the meantime, thanks for reading and as always – keep laughing!

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Dave Schwensen is the author of How To Be A Working Comic: An Insider’s Business Guide To A Career In Stand-Up ComedyComedy FAQs And Answers: How The Stand-Up Biz Really Works, and Comedy Workshop: Creating & Writing Comedy Material for Comedians & Humorous Speakers.

For details about upcoming comedy workshops at the Chicago, Cleveland and Tampa Improv Comedy Clubs, and private coaching by Skype or phone visit www.TheComedyBook.com

Copyright 2015 – North Shore Publishing.

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