Top 5 Tips for Booking Comedians

September 04, 2013


Oh it’s good to laugh, isn’t it? And with Edinburgh out of the way, the country’s Comedians are returning to business as usual; a steady diet of panel shows, comedy nights and... well, a steady diet if you believe what they say about Scotland and food. With so much comedy coverage over August, now’s a great time to book a comedian for a corporate event or awards ceremony, but unlike your average jazz musician or circus performer, there are a few other things you need to consider when choosing a comedian for your event.

In today’s blog, we’re offering up our Top 5 Tips for booking comedians for corporate events and private functions. Read on for more. 

 Stage and AV Requirements

Chances are you’ve at least seen enough comedy to know that a comedian needs a stage, but if you’re booking a comedian for a corporate event, you might need to consider things in a little more detail. If your chosen comic is an energetic, move around the stage guy/gal, they’ll obviously need room to do that, they’ll also need a microphone suitable for their performance to allow them their full range of movement. Also worth considering are any audio visual elements to a comic’s show; sound bites, backing tracks, even short video clips are prominent features of some stand-ups’ repertoire. It’s also worth considering a video feed for large events where some guests may be a long way from the stage.

 Material

It sounds a little obvious, but it’s a good idea to get familiar with the material of any comic you’re looking to book to make sure they’re suitable for your event. Try and get familiar with them by videos of live performances, TV appearances and interviews to see if they project the sort of image that you’re trying to create with your event. It may be that their subject matter isn't quite appropriate or even that their language is generally ‘off colour’. On the flipside of that – finding the right comedian can make all the difference; a comic might have experience in a field that’s relevant to the event or they might just have a lot of material that your guests can identify with easily.

 Target Demographic

Matching the right comedian to the right audience is a big part of the challenge when booking a stand-up.  Pay close attention to the age range and occupations of your audience and think about what kind of performer they’re going to be most receptive to – a comic who’s made a name for him/herself on, say, a BBC3 show isn’t going to play as well to an older audience in much the same way that a perennial Radio 4 panel show comic isn’t going to go down as well with a younger, more boisterous crowd. In reality, a great comedian can overcome the toughest audience, but why give them the extra hurdle?

 Leave it to the Professionals (No, Not Us)

Comedy is an art form and one that takes years of endless writing, touring and performing to perfect. So when a comedian reaches the top of their game and starts getting corporate enquiries, they’re usually able to read a room and judge their performance based on their audience. It’s best not to second guess a comedian or give them too many notes for an event – stand up needs to be fluid and responsive and if a performer is worrying about which things they can/can’t/must/mustn’t say, it can suck the life out of a set.

 Don’t be Dazzled by Stardom

Big name comedians are great ‘n all, but with big names generally come big fees. If you have the budget for the Michaels Macintyre and Johns Bishop, then this isn’t a problem – but if you’re working within tighter financial constraints, you might want to look at lesser known (but equally good) performers. Look for comics making a name for themselves in Edinburgh, on Radio shows or as support acts for bigger names. It’s important not to be fixated on the kinds of names that feature on panel shows, Live at the Apollo and other prime-time comedy shows. By seeking out up and coming performers, you can not only  cut down on costs but also introduce your guests to a performer who could – in a year or so – be one of the big names people are clamouring for. Don’t know where to start? That’s what we’re here for.

If you’re looking to book a comedian for a corporate event, head over to our contact page and get in touch.

By Garreth Owen