The story of a man held hostage in a small town by the worst possible mistake a comedian could ever make..
Benny woke up that morning with the smell of the one last cigarette on his breath. He’d vowed to stop on numerous occasions but this time he was sure this was it, not only because of his heart palpitations but because he was in a non-smoking room and was too lazy to take the extra 2 minute walk past the lobby in order to give in to the urge. As he lay still he recounted the night before.
He regretted the money he spent on booze and not having seen the cripple lady on the 4th row before he launched into his bit about fucking a handicapped chick. The joke murdered on stage at Laughers but he remembered the nasty look from the man who casually wheeled her out of the door and the cripple who shot him the finger.
Every now and then we all need a little help. Sometimes we might be lucky enough to see the issue coming, other times it hits us all at once and the next thing you know, you’re stuck with $150,000 in medical bills.
Earlier this year Ed Blake, a Houston based stand-up comic and a friend to many had suffered a broken foot in a car accident. And that was just the beginning of the bad news.
It was a Saturday Night in Oklahoma City and while telling jokes Ed almost passed out on stage. He was able make it to the end of the first show before things got even more serious. Thankfully the club owner had the club staff at the Loony Bin drove Ed to the emergency room.
While in the hospital, doctors told Ed that he had an infection in his foot and that infection had spread throughout his body.
During the battery of tests doctors discovered that one of Ed’s main arteries was 90% blocked. Within days he was operated on and a stent was inserted. The stent relieved the blockage and saved his life.
Then the bad news kept on coming.
By Al Bahmani
From “The Buttoned Down Mind of Bob Newhart” to Mitch Hedberg’s “Strategic Grill Locations” to Louis CK’s “Live in Houston” to Doug Stanhope’s “Something to Take The Edge Off” and “Die Laughing”, many great comics chose Houston, Texas to recorded albums. On December 27th 2014 at Rudyard’s Pub Andy Huggins joins their ranks.
Many comedians pitch my clubs that they are local draws. If you are, you absolutely should not be pitching a club on being part of someone else’s show. You should be happy to take your own door, as you’d make WAY more money that way and continue to build your fan base.
Here’s the way my clubs handle local draws. The comic picks a Sunday where we don’t already have a show. They get 80% of the door. We will cover all taxes and credit card fees out of our 20%. If there are at least 50 people in attendance, comped or sold, we waive the $500 room rental fee. You can pitch that deal to almost any comedy club on an off-night and get a yes.
If you can’t draw, this is not a good deal for you. If you CAN draw, you walk away with over $2500 in one show. At bigger clubs, you could walk with $4K – in one show!
Because I can draw, I often book my own shows in rock venues, bars, etc – where I can keep up to 100% of the door. But I do not do this unless I’m sure I can sell out, or come close to it. If you over promise and under deliver, you’ll never have a show at that venue again.
If you are scared AT ALL as to whether or not you’d draw 50 people, you are NOT a draw. If you don’t want to assume some risk in exchange for 5-10 times the reward, you are NOT a draw.
Please be honest with yourself and with the club you’re pitching about whether or not you can draw. And if you can draw, always take a door deal – if they’re your customers, you should be the one getting the lion’s share of the ticket money.
When someone pitches us on how great their draw is but then don’t want a door deal, we immediately know that they’re not confident in that draw. So why should we be?
This was posted with the permission of Steve Hofstetter.
Interviewed and Written by Al Bahmani
On and off stage Dom Irrera is a real likable character. With multiple stand up appearances from his break out performance on Rodney Dangerfield’s “Nothing Goes Right” to multiple appearances on the “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”, “The Late Show With David Letterman”, two HBO One Night Stands, and voted Number 79 in “Comedy Central’s 100 Greatest Stand ups of All Time”, and a regular every year at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, Dom Irrera is a stand up force to reckoned with. Turn on the tv and you’ll see his face all over it, from films like “Hollywood Shuffle” and “The Big Lebowski” to roles in documentaries like “I Am Comic”, to “The Aristrocrats” to shows like “Seinfeld”, “Everybody Loves Raymond” to “King of Queens” to “Hey Arnold!” to “Bob’s Burgers” and many more. End of the day when all is said and done, Dom’s just a regular guy from Philly you’d share a pitcher beer with to help pass the time. We take some of that time and talk about the comedy business, his comic philosophy and what it takes to last so long in it.
I turn on the tv and your on it, what do you contribute your longevity in the business?
Do NOT ask for work in the first contact you have with someone. Introduce yourself and ask how to submit. You’re human first, comic second.
Do NOT ask for work while congratulating someone. Then it just looks like you’re only congratulating them because you want work. And you’ve just erased your good will (and thensome).
Do NOT ask for work with a general “What do you book?” Take the time to know who you’re speaking to.
Do NOT ever lie about your draw or your resume. Anyone you’re asking for work has seen more comics than you have, and can see through it.
And Do NOT bring up a tragic event to strike up a conversation and then casually bring up work.
As always, the best way to get work is to concentrate on being a good human being.
This was posted with the permission of Steve Hofstetter.