Booking a comedian and putting on a comedy show can be a great idea for an entertaining fundraiser or event. But if you’re new to the world of comics, finding the right comedian to perform at your show can be rather challenging. Comics are not a one-size-fits-all solution; there are a wide range of comedy styles, even within the realm of stand-up comedy.
Comedy consultant Gail Stocker, owner of a Los Angeles-based firm called Gail A. Stocker Presents specializes in helping clients to find the right comedian for their event or happening. She offered a few tips to individuals who are looking for tips on how to book a comedian and put on a comedy show.
“First of all, get all your technical requirements down….If you have questions, ask them,” Stocker explained, adding, “[The technicians are] all there to make the show easier, to make the show better. You need professional sound so you can hear the comic. You need professional lighting so you can see the comic. You need a stage so people can look up to the comic. And you want to arrange the audience so they’re seated as close as possible to the stage and you want them close because laughter is contagious. If people start laughing, then everyone around them will start laughing as well.”
In addition to properly planning for the technical aspects of the show and arranging the stage and audience in a way that will enhance their experience, it’s also important to avoid distractions, which may detract from the show. For instance, waiters walking from table to table can serve to distract the audience. Audience members tend to get drawn in and absorbed in the show; these distractions can cause them to “snap out of it” and lose focus.
Dimming the lights is another way to help minimize audience distractions during a comedy show. What’s more, dimming the lights is an effective way to signal that the show is about to begin. Stocker also recommends that you have a host or another individual come on stage to introduce the comedian and prepare the audience for the show they’re about to view.
“I recommend that you get to know your comedian, whether it’s directly or through their representative. Ask them what they need. A comedian has been on stage thousands of times and they know what they need better than anyone,” Stocker explained. She concluded, “Treat the comedian as you would like to be treated. Ask them if they need a drink or a sandwich or ask them what type of microphone will best serve them. Make them feel welcome. They’re pros; they’ll do their job. But everything is better and easier if you’re in a good mood.”