Hire the Right Comedian or Pay the Price
It’s easy to hire a stand-up comedian for your event. Comedians are everywhere. They lurk in the shadows waiting for their not yet paid for IPhone 7’s to ring and be offered work. Facebook is full of stand-up comedians, as are entertainment booking sites, such as Gig Salad and the Bash.
Just about every place you look, you’ll be able to find a stand-up comedian. Finding a good stand-up comedian, however, can be a challenge. You’ll need to do some research before handing over your money to just anyone with a cheap suit and a microphone.
Stand-up comedians are not created equal.
There are no requirements necessary before referring to yourself as a stand-up comedian. There are no special licenses or permits. You can perform at one show in front of four people and call yourself a comedian, or you can perform hundreds of shows over many years, perfect your craft, and call yourself a stand-up comedian. That’s where the confusion comes in and that’s why doing some homework before you begin looking for your comedy entertainment will ensure you hire the very best talent for your event.
5 Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Stand Up Comedian
1.) How long have you been performing stand-up comedy?
If the comedian is your main entertainment for the evening, nothing less than 10 years of steady stand-up work is an acceptable answer. (There are exceptions, of course, but 10 years is a good rule of thumb.)
2.) Do you have a video I can look at so I can see if you’re a good fit for my event?
No video? No job.
3.) Can you provide references from people you’ve worked for in the past?
A no answer to this question should signal a red flag. Every comedian should be able to provide at least 5 references from satisfied customers.
4.) Can you work clean?
Depending on the event you are planning this is a crucial question. If you’re looking for someone to perform at your best friend’s bachelor party, you may not care if the comedian you’re considering can work clean. However, if you’re planning an event for your office, your church group, or your Aunt Ethel’s 90th birthday party, you want a comedian who can work 100% clean. No cursing, no sex jokes, and nothing that would embarrass you or your guests. If your comedian cannot work clean, I suggest you keep looking.
5.) Do you have an appropriate sound system?
This is such an important question, I’ve saved it for last. The comedian you hire MUST have a professional sound system, (Speakers, amp, microphones, stands) before you make an agreement. A sound system is usually the last thing a person thinks about before hiring a comedian and it’s one of the most important. A customer simply assumes a stand-up comedian has their own PA system, much in the way you assume a plumber has his own wrench. Pros have their own sound system.
Money is a major consideration when hiring stand-up comedians. Rates for scomedians can be all over the place. I’ve seen comedians ask for as little as $25 to as much as $1500.
What I do suggest, is starting with a budget in mind and working from there. As with most things, (and it’s especially true in stand-up comedy), you get what you pay for. If you’re hiring for an important event, a lower price may sound attractive, but when it comes to showtime, you may wish you had paid extra for a true professional.
Questions About Hiring a Stand-Up Comedian?
If you still have questions, (or are in need of a professional stand up comedian for your upcoming event) call Dana at the RI Comedy Hall of Fame: 401-261-3120.