Booking A Comedy Venue
When you are looking into booking a comedy venue to do a show there are a few things you should think about.
If you are looking to start a local show, ask yourself these questions.
Is it weekly or monthly?
Open mic or booked show?
An open mic should be held at a place you care less about burning a bridge with, due to the fact anyone – I repeat ANYONE – can sign up at an open mic and say some of the worst things you ever heard. This might cause an issue with the manager or owner real quick. I always suggest starting open mics at places you normally don’t hang at or have never been to before.
If you start it at a place you are friendly with they might feel more inclined to say “Can you tell the comics to not do that” and that’s a can of worms that can become stressful for you and the comics.
No matter if this is a road gig or a show in your hometown ask yourself these questions.
Why my show?
Why should people come to watch your show?
When booking a comedy venue, I feel this is something comedians really forget about. They could have a killer show, killer venue, killer sound, and totally miss the mark on pulling in a crowd. It could be as easy as the flyer design is not pleasing or maybe the name of the show isn’t catchy enough or is too inside baseball. Really take a step back and see if how you are promoting it is working.
We all know to post it on our Facebook and Instagram but that might not be enough.
How do I add 10% more to the show? – Booking A Comedy Venue
A few things I have done is having a snack table. I have tons of quick snacks available and sodas in a cooler. The venue does not have a kitchen or really has any other events like mine.
So I added the snacks and drinks myself and I made a flyer that has prices and my Venmo to pay. I mention it at the beginning of the show and I trust people will pay for what they take. I also have a merch table and tell the comedians they can bring their stickers or any other merch to sell at that table. I also mention that at the top. Now I am working on gift bags for the comedians. When they perform in Zen Comedy I want them to know how much I appreciate their talents.
All this is possible because I have a cool venue that trusts me fully to put on a great show and clean up after myself.
When booking a comedy venue, spend time online with Yelp or Google and just look up venues in a place you want to perform. I often use yelp for touring because you can easily search dive bars with live music.
To me, that’s a great starting point for a bar that already has a microphone and if I can bring a crowd things will be good. Sometimes that is the start of something wonderful. As I mentioned earlier I run a show in a different kind of place, so I bought a sound system and this opens up where else I could pop up! In my early years of comedy, I constantly had a PA system in my trunk and was always trying to convince places to let me set up one night.
I say this to let you know it is a possible route. Comedy is hard and I could tell you a million stories about bringing a PA system and spending too much time and money on a show that had no one show up to it. So do not forget to have fun and remember why you do it.
I hope you found this helpful when booking a comedy venue or at least inspired you to add an extra spin to your current projects
Also, check out my current project The Big Laugh.
Learn more about me
ZackLymanPocast.com A Beginners Guide to Starting Stand Up Comedy in 2023