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joshlondon17
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It's 1:30 am here in beautiful San Diego, CA and after all the fires are out I find myself reading posts from my Treo sitting in my ambulance waiting for another call.

I'm bringing this up because I remember how much fun and all that I learned abput myself as a performer from doing open mics, full shows and half shows in comedy clubs.

Does anyone else do comedy clubs? I ask because I haven't seen much about performing in them.

I think they are great venues to work out material, practice, network, etc. as opppsed to any other venue. I haven't really seen many magicians in comedy clubs lately too.

Is this a topic people would like to explore?

Josh London
Magic of Dan
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I, too, have been wondering about comedy clubs lately. I have been doing kids birthday parties as a parttimer for over 10 years. I've been looking at ways to expand my shows. I called the local comedy club and asked about open mic night. They said they really haven't seen much magic at their comedy club lately. I have my first all adult show for a Christmas party coming up in Dec and was thinking I should get some open mic time in before hand. I've seen a few magicians at the comedy clubs over the years, The amazing Johnathan, Michael Finny, and Mac King. I got to go up on stage and assist Mac King.
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Lyndel
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I've had a little experience doing them only to learn that Comedy clubs = lot's of fun, a lot of traveling, but little money...


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Al Angello
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Comedy clubs were big 15 or 20 years ago, but if you look in your local news paper there are about 1/4 as many as there used to be, clubs that did two shows a night are doing only one show, as an art form comedy clubs are dieing. I started my performing career in comedy clubs because it was facing my greatest fear. Oh yes did I mention that the money sucks.
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Skip Way
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As Lyndel and Al said, the money sucks unless you're a headliner. Even then, it's a struggle unless you have big name recognition. I earn twice as much from a single kid's party than I do as an opening or feature act in the local clubs...although it's a toss-up whether the 10-year-olds or the drunk college kids are the worse audiences.

I enjoy hitting the open mic nights now and then with a new comedy magic routine that needs work. Our local "A" Club (Brad Reader's Goodnight's) also hosts a kid matinee on Saturdays and Clean Comedy Monday that is family focused...so he's opened a market for those of us who work clean and within the family and kidshow environment.

Still, there's a certain thrill to standing on the same stage (even for an open mic) that Jay Leno, Chris Rock and countless other top names made their bones. Bottom line: Attending stand-up workshops and open mics can only improve your comedic skills and timing.
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

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nucinud
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Back in 1992 I did Comedy Clubs for a few years. No money or very little money, just experience and networking.
"We are what we pretend to be" Kurt Vonnegut, jr.



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Al Angello
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Skip is right I still sweat bullets when I have a spotlight in my face because to try to do what Cosby, and Carlin does is playing way over my head, I like to work clean because it is an even greater challenge. The comedy clubs I worked at insisted on two laughs per minute, so being under the guy really gets your creative juices flowing. Every time I do a banquet (which is like a comedy club) I'm always surprised at how many new jokes just flow out of me from being on the spot.

How are you doing Harry.
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joshlondon17
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To anyone thinking about doing an open mic night, just go do it. My first one (and I've done quite a few since) I thought I'd die. I did card in mouth (with the mercury fold) and Cardiographic and my version of the coloring book...for adults.

Since then, my version of te coloring book has found itself in my act and never would have if I didn't get such a good reaction from the open mic nights.

Josh
RobertBloor
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Josh,

I've never done the comedy club scene and the only tours I've ever done have been to fairs/festivals.

I tell you though, I've had thoughts of taking my corporate stand up show on tour.

Joshlondon, weren't you going to some big tour at some point? How'd that work out for you? I'd love some pointers if you're willing.

Robert

PS: Can you elaborate on your "coloring book" for "adults" routine? That sounds like something that could really solidify a set list for a busy tour schedule.
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Quote:
On 2007-11-14 12:25, RobertBloor wrote:
Joshlondon, weren't you going to some big tour at some point? How'd that work out for you? I'd love some pointers if you're willing.

Robert

PS: Can you elaborate on your "coloring book" for "adults" routine? That sounds like something that could really solidify a set list for a busy tour schedule.



I too am definitely interested in the above...

Hope it's workin out for you Josh!

-Steve
Bairefoot
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Hello fellows. I did a live audition last year here in Myrtle Beach at the Comedy Club. Got a standing ovation at the end of my 12 min. act. The management told me that they thougt it was a great show and very funny and entertaining. But, here's the part I thought that was crazy, "We don't want prop comics here performing." They want me to go out there and do magic with out anything. Just tell jokes then I said I am a comic magician. I know its crazy. Now the money side. If you are lucky $35 to $50 for MC. Opening act $75 to 150 a night. Finally headliner depends on how much of headliner you are. Down here about $1,000 for five days with two shows a day for 3 of them. Also, normally you have to pay for your own room, food, and transportation. Now like I said that is what happens down here where I am from. It might be different where you are from. But, I personally only know a handful of guys who perform magic and make over $1,000 a week so it could turn into a good job. Hope this helps.

Bairefoot
Skip Way
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I never really understood that part of the comedy circuits. Prop comics are considered a lower and unworthy lifeform in comedy rooms. Comedy magicians generally seem to rank just above prop comics (barely) and are often treated with the same disdain. On the other hand, I've received high praise when I run on stage with empty hands and use objects from my pockets or a spectator's table. It's a strange, strange world these comedy people live in.
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

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Bairefoot
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True Skip.

Bairefot
RJE
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I have spent many years on both the variety and comedy club circuit. I work straight stand up, stand up magic or comedy magic, depending on the venue or the client.

My current comedy agency is here: http://www.gigglescomedyagency.com/comedy.htm

Skip is right on with his points.

First, the money doing stand up is not as good as selling yourself as a magician or a variety act. The money in the clubs can be dismal. There are hundreds (thousands?) of "comedians" out there who will do a set for free. Even more who will perform for less than $100. Even as a feature, you might only get $200 to $300 for the night in the clubs.

Still on the money topic, if you get sent out to work the one nighters or corporate gigs, you can expect to be paid a lot more (closer to par with being hired directly as a variety/magic act).

Second, the stand up "purists" do usually look down upon "prop acts." Once established though, you should be accepted by the veterans who often have a more realistic view of the business and a genuine respect for your talents.

Another point I would like to make is that a comedy club audience can be brutally honest. They are conditioned to react negatively to a weak act. If you are not up to the task, they will let you know about it. It's not just that they're trying to be rude, they're being honest. If you're on the weekend line up and they've paid to see a professional show, then you'd better be ready to step up or get chewed up.

Anyway, after all that, if you'd still like to give it a shot, I say go for it. It can be a real rush finishing your act to the applause and noise of an appreciative audience. At that point, the internal reward you get might just make you forget about how poorly you were paid.

All the best,

Rob
Skip Way
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Rob, that was the draw for me. When I finished a good set and the audience reacted...what a RUSH! I moved through a chain of open mics and hell gigs for nearly five years to hone my act...and it was the audience response that kept me going. I finally had to face reality and accept that while the experience was golden and worth every moment spent running from stage to stage...the real money for me was back here performing for kid, corporate and commercial gigs.

That said...I wouldn't trade one moment or any of the friends I made over that period.
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
Bairefoot
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Hey Rob you kinda repeated what I said. I love doing magic for a living and I love getting paid for it. You see when magicians think they are funny and do those open mic nights and they aren't funny or entetaining. They kill it for us professionals. I know people who have played music all their life the vilion, drums, etc and they know they are not good enough to get up on stage they have more respect for their art. A lot of magicians think they should be able to get up in front of an audience and try and entertain some just need to leave to the professionals because when they suck or don't look professional that sometimes gets us stop before we can even show our talents.

Bairefoot
joshlondon17
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Steven and Robert,

I did go on a tour with my one man show. I rented about 15 theatres and depending on when I had the theatre I did 2-4 shows per theatre.

I wouldn't call it a "big" tour, but it was a tour nonetheless. I mainly stuck around CA and did 2 theatres in Arizona. And I'm glad to say I actually made money with BOR and even ticket sales. I was thinking I'd just break even.

I set up a separate website just for the tour and did publicity in the city's I was going to be at.

It was a great time that I'll definitely do again!

Robert, if you'd like to know about my coloring book, you can PM me. I didn't really understand what you were after in your post.

Josh London
Dan Paulus
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RJE

I agree with nearly everything you've said.

I love doing LOCAL clubs, and have headlined at some smaller ones.
The pay sucks! I can get two weeks worth of comedy club pay from a single corporate gig.

Example, for a corporate gig out of state, they pay thousands, plus hotel, sometimes airfare and car rental, for ONE SHOW. The show is usually at a nice hotel, no smoking, in front of an appreciative crowd and they'll bend over backwards to accommodate any special needs for your act. This while still being a relatively unknown! (To the public, but you'll have to build at least a small rep within the business world.)

Compare that to an unknown comic (not THE unknown comic) who will drive town to town, dive to dive. Put himself up in a cheap motel, or share a room with other comics on the same tour, or sleep in a bus or car. Perform for a week or two and get paid just enough to cover the motel, some food, and enough gas to get you to the next gig, maybe...
But they will sometimes get to hang with some bigger names and the chance for a "big break" is always just around the corner!

If you don't have family, it's quite an adventure. If you do have family... you may not after your first year on the road!

So you may want to do it at your local clubs just for fun, experience, bragging rights, or to test new stuff. But if you want to be a professional comedian, know what you are getting into! (And if you break out like Harry Anderson, don't forget us little people!)
There is no great genius without a mixture of madness. - Aristotle
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RJE
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Right you are Dan.

That big break does come to some. Many of the performers you see listed on my agent's page have done a lot of television and many of them have had their own shows here in Canada and abroad. In fact, this agent only deals with proven talent (I'm not sure how I sneaked onto the roster Smile).

Perhaps the biggest name of the lot, is as yet unknown. He became famous by doing live shows and caught Hollywood totally off guard. (An interesting enigma.) Russell Peters is currently signed with FOX TV to develop his own sitcom about his life if he wasn't an international superstar comedian.

Superstar? He sells out every venue he plays in from the Apollo Theatre in NY to the Air Canada Centre in Toronto (seats over 15 000), to Britain, to South Africa and on and on and on. The shows will often sell out in minutes of the tickets going on sale and then a second or third show is set up immediately to meet the demand.

I worked with Russell a lot when he was first starting out. He at one point even gave up on comedy and went to work behind the scenes at a television station. At that job, he got me one of my first television spots.

The fun part for me has been working with Russell and most of the others listed over the years and watching as they go from no name to taking their shot at the big time and saying, "I know that guy. We used to perform together all the time!"

All the best,

Rob
RobertBloor
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Quote:
joshlondon: I did go on a tour with my one man show. I rented about 15 theatres and depending on when I had the theatre I did 2-4 shows per theatre.


Man that's awesome. I'd be too darn scared to put myself out there like that and risk going kaput and making no money.

Takes guts man.

Hey - do you have any video from any of those theater shows? Was just thinking you should put it in your demo reel. Or on youtube so the rest of us can check it out.

Robert
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,"
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