Getting Paid in Comedy

So you have spent a while honing your craft, timing your jokes and standing in the mirror shouting “I can do this” every time before you leap on stage. The obvious next step towards getting paid in comedy is turning it from a hobby into a career. The time for this transformation to happen isn’t set in stone but there are certainly a few things to consider to bring you closer to that goal. Hopefully if you are really good, you can tell your boss what you REALLY think about his spongebob ties, while performing on stage.

Learning to host
Learning to host at open mics gives you more stage time and the experience can lead to getting paid in comedy clubs because you generate lots more notoriety. Hosting allows you to interact more with the audience so don’t be surprised if people want your autograph after the show or to hold their baby for a photo.

Produce your own shows
Instead of waiting for the opportunity to present itself, you can work on your own show and make a profit from it. The challenge in getting paid in comedy shows that you’ve produced is that you will most likely have to market everything yourself such as Facebook events, sending out emails and telling everyone at work during a coffee break.

Networking with other comedians
Go to open mic shows and meet other comedians, find out how they are getting paid in comedy clubs. Look for the comedian equivalent of a kingpin in the room. Enquire about any upcoming gigs, maybe flirt a little or bribe them with pizza (everybody loves pizza). Find comedians who produce paid shows and offer your services, flirt again. Comedy club owners like diversity with a healthy rotation of new comedians at the shows, if you can prove to them you are worth their time then there’s no reason why they shouldn’t give you a break (unless you offend them with your jokes).

Make videos
Start building an audience by creating funny videos on YouTube. YouTube videos are a great way of getting paid in comedy as all you need to do is sit in front of a camera and perform, occasionally throw in some wacky farm animal sounds and a Donald Trump joke and you got yourself a viral video. Alternatively look for some comedy channels close to where you live and ask if you can take part in a few videos as well. Making videos is one way of getting paid in comedy but the exposure will lead to bookings since it show’s you can draw a crowd.


Johnny Friel

A guy who lives in Asia. I freelance as a comedy writer and travel blogger (like 90% of everyone else on here). I have performed stand-up comedy in Bangkok for over 3 years so I can bring the funny.

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