4 Comedy-Programming Mistakes To Avoid
Want to lower your risk and increase your programming satisfaction? Here are 4 pitfalls to avoid when book a comedian for an event:
1. Using video only, to program.
2. Personal agents,
3. Comedians who THINK crossing-over is easy.
4. Celebrity comedians.
Two are fiscal mistakes and two are programming mistakes. Though of course, they intertwine. Here's more on each:
1. The video trap:
Video should be a part...a part of the programming effort. But taking our 'insider' help is essential too. We know which videos are accurate and no one can know that from just viewing them.
Imagine how different it would be if you knew the comedian personally-even been on a half dozen shows with him?
Any comedian of 20+ years will tell you, some of the most intriguing comedians have awful videos. But the bad comedians with great videos are the ones who undermine well-intended event planners.
The good news is...you won't have to guess anymore.
2. Personal agencies are working against you.
KB Ent is a booking agency, not a personal agency. We maintain comedian relationships that make comics deal reasonably with us, on price.
We just sent a very good, TV-credentialed, comedian, to play a theater for $1800. We knew we'd get her yes, because we know what kind of situations she likes to play-we know her from long before she had a 'price-gatekeeper'.
Just 2 months earlier, for example, a similar theater paid her $3700. They were working directly with her "team"; professional sales people whose income increases if their higher price is agreed to. But she knew couldn't ask that price of us, because
a) We know better, and
b) We could always submit equally terrific comedians; something she and her personal agent know-and would never want to happen.
When an exclusive personal agent pitches you on one of his acts, he wants you to choose from a smaller pool of options and a higher set of prices. Not really in your best interest, is it?
3. Not all seasoned comedians are right for you.
Comedians often want to play audiences that are a) younger, b) older, c) cleaner or d) 'blue-er' than they are. But in comedy, desire and effort, are not enough. Skill and tone matter a great deal.
Don't let a comedian's wishes maneuver you into hiring an act that is 'slightly off'. We get called in often, to repair/improve a comedy series. It's almost always after a programmer has considered the bio but not the comedian's personal ettiquette. Don't worry. It's an easy fix.
4. Booking a celebrity?
If you insist on booking a celebrity comedian, I'm sorry, but we won't help you. We care too deeply about your comedy ROI.
A few years ago, Keith (our agency owner) hosted an awards dinner. In 3 hours he took the stage 19 times, improvised after each honoree, moved the evening along smoothly, and mixed in a few of his prepared comedy routines.
The next night the same group had a celebrity comedian and paid him 20 times what they had paid Keith (and Keith was paid well). The celebrity did 50 minutes from his stage act, shook the CEO's hand and left. Guess who the event planner heard more praise about? That's right...Keith.
ONstage (and the post-show glad-handing) is where touring comedians, like the ones we offer, deliver value to the client. Without fame, they feel an onstage and post-show urgency which their famous colleagues do not.
The celebrity did exactly what he was hired to do. But (in this case) Keith showed the group and its leaderhip team what a client-centric comedy show feels like. And they discovered they like it better.
If you care about laughter-generated endorphin spikes...we can help. Our comedian booking agency will find the perfect comedian for your audience and for your event type.