I tell jokes on stage from time to time. The question I get asked most often after, do you know Eddie Murphy (who hasn’t done stand up in more than a decade), is how do you book comedy gigs? Well it helps to be funny but from there it comes down to contacts and blind luck.
The conventional way, that I try first, is I reach out to bookers, give them DVD’s of your work, a list of referrals, etc. The booker then promises to look at them and places them along with that important letter from the Publishers Clearing House, some Zimbabwean currency and other worthless items in his cylindrical topless cabinet on the floor.
The way you actually get booked for work is: A comedian sees you do well, connects with your material or thinks you’ll buy him free drinks so he offers to introduce you to a booker. To basically say, “you book me, so we agree I know/am funny, I am now telling you this person is funny too.”
I work several clubs in the NYC but am always trying to work a few more places. One of my comedy buddies offered to vouch for me at a club where I don’t yet get work. I had tried talking to the booker on my own, giving him the info but it had ended up in the round, metal, topless, cabinet on the floor.
This week there was a night I was not working. I thought I would go to that club that I was trying to work again, this time with the comedian friend of mine. He was headlining that night. The idea would be my friend does well on stage. Walks off stage and says to the booker, “hey remember me, I just did funny on stage, right, well this is my friend, he can do the same, give him money to say jokes.”
At first everything went to plan, my friend had a great set. Then we talked to the booker, and my friend gave the little talk.
At that point the booker’s eyes glazed over. He started telling us about the new Merc he bought, then about this young comedian woman he was seeing and how she was interested in him because of his personality not because he is a booker. The conversation degenerated from there to discuss his prowess as a man. Then he excused himself to go smoke the wacky tobacky.
It was not very productive but you take the good with the bad.
Speaking of good and bad. Today I (bad) boxed with a boxer who was runner up to last years Heavy Weight New York City Golden Gloves Champion (good). http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012-03-17/news/31202809_1_empire-city-casino-ronniel-vargas-new-legend-bc
Wasn’t really able to put a glove on him. We were in the same ring. He was close enough hit me and turn my pretty little face from pink to red but I think I only glanced his face. And that being said, I know he was taking it easy on me, he outweighs me by 45 pounds.
We went 5 rounds and I hit him solid twice. Twice, in the body, zero times in the head.
It was fun and it was better than the first time we “moved” as they like to call it. That time I did not hit him even once solidly. Not once. He may as well be fighting the actual Casper instead of the guy nicknamed Casper.
The results in the ring and at the club sum up my current comedy and boxing journey. I show up, put in the time, the effort is there, but the result is not always indicative of the effort you put in.
While the big boys of comedy and boxing deal with different issues:
The average joe’s are dealing with trying to get work and keep their head above water.
You have to just keep plugging away, you have to put the time in in order to get better, and the process can be arduously slow. It may never pay off the way you want, but if you don’t put the time in, you are not even in the running.
As long as you are in it, you always have a chance. You never know, lightning could strike.