How to Become a Stand Up Comedian Business Overview:

If your friends have ever urged you to put your comic talent to the test, it might be time to look more seriously at how to become a stand up comedian. Though it may seem like an unnecessarily simple “how to,” stand up comedy as a business can be more rewarding than just open mic night at the local pub. The comedy business is much like any customer-driven venture; you provide the customer with what they want and your business thrives. While you might be interested in learning how to be a stand up comic yourself, you might also consider hiring comic talent to work for you. In this sense, the business is very much like a talent agency specializing in comedy acts: You work for the comedians, finding them jobs (and even helping them iron out their acts), and your company takes a percentage of their profits from the gigs you get for them. You can still work on the details of how to be a stand up comedian yourself, but in the meantime, you can hone your scouting and comic skills while building on this business idea and marketing your brand of comedy. However you go about it, isn’t it time you put your money where your funny is?

A Day in the Life of a Stand Up Comedy Business Owner:

This article brought to you by Business Ideas! If you enjoyed this article, make sure to subscribe to the Business Ideas Newsletter to get ideas sent straight to your email inbox.Whether you’re the comedian, the business owner or both, you will always be looking for the next big gig for yourself or your comics. To that end, a typical day will involve scouting locations that hire comedians and booking as many gigs as you—or your talent—has time for. In your free time, you will want to be writing, editing, and practicing your material for your upcoming shows. If your comedians are willing parties, you might have them rehearse their material for you, not only so that you might get a sense of their shtick and be able to market them more effectively, but also to give them as much practice as possible. You will always want to confirm dates the day before the show, and ensure payment and satisfaction afterwards. Finally, you will want to see that your business is pulling in profits, and then you can determine how to proceed with your enterprise.

About Your Customers:

Your customers are many in a business like this. Your most important customers are the ones sitting in your audience—not only will they critique your material and delivery, but they can be the best advertisers for your business. If they like you, you can be sure they will tell their friends or even seek out your act next time you’re in town. Your other customers are the proprietors or managers of the shows. If they’re happy with your act, they will likely hire you again. Finally, if you’re the comedy business owner, you will work for the comedians you sign on. They will be giving you a percentage of their profits, so you will want to ensure they are getting enough work and are happy with the representation you provide for them.

What You Need to Start:

  • A funny comedy act or comedians with solid material
  • Venues at which to perform your material, preferably for money
  • A “price” for your gig, though it might be on a sliding scale
  • Financial-tracking software

The Good:

  • If comedy is your passion, you can combine your hobby with your career.
  • The business can be lucrative if you or your comedians are good at their act.
  • The business is entirely scalable; you can work on weekends only, all week, or even travel for shows.
  • You can decide whether you want to participate as a comedian or just represent other comedians.
  • You get to run a business that makes people happy.

The Bad:

  • Even professional comedians have a bad night every now and again, so you should expect the occasional dud of a show.
  • When starting out, comedians often do shows for free or for very little compensation. You might have to work for a while before you see true profits.

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