Being a novice comedian isn’t always a barrel of laughs, at least not when you’re struggling to secure gigs. Starting out, it can be hard knowing how to book a comedy show. There’s a lot of competition out there, and it seems like everyone has an in but you. The truth is, though, that everyone starts out in the same situation. If all those other comedians can find work and success, so can you.
Attend open mic nights
The hardest part of getting started as a comedian is simply getting yourself out there enough to build up a reputation as a funny, reliable, and bankable talent. The goal of any performer should be to land paying gigs, but early on you may need to sacrifice payment in order to make a name for yourself. Most comedy clubs feature open mic nights where anybody can get on stage and tell a few jokes. It won’t help you pay the bills, but it’s a good way to get both audiences and venue owners to start noticing you.
Grow your social media
To be successful in any live performance field you used to have to pay out of pocket for advertising, or you had to sign a contract with a talent agent. Today, though, the internet makes it easy to be your own agent, with social media as the biggest form of free advertising around. Post videos telling jokes on YouTube or performing skits on TikTok. Sign up for Twitter and Facebook to start interacting directly with your audience. Develop an online following and venue owners will soon come calling.
Have more than one set
A key to success in stand-up comedy is to develop a persona and style that is unique to you. That doesn’t mean that you should diversify, though. Experiment with shorter and longer sets. Develop a clean version for family-friendly audiences. Customize your material for audiences of different age groups and backgrounds. If you want to get more bookings, you need to be able to meet the needs of different venue owners, which means having a variety of sets to accommodate a variety of situations.
Never stop networking
Sometimes getting ahead in this business is simply about knowing the right people. That’s why it’s important to constantly work at building connections, making friends, and keeping in contact with those you’ve worked with. A traveling headliner might end up putting in a good word for you with future venues they work at. Your local peers might include you in a package show they’re putting together. A venue owner might need you to fill in when someone else cancels. Being personable pays off.