The other day I had a conversation with a woman who said she goes to comedy clubs once or twice a year. She mentioned that she had been to the Comedy Store recently and that she had a great time.
But when I asked her who she saw, she replied, “I don’t know. It was a bunch of guys and I don’t remember any of their names.”
Unfortunately, that’s the reaction most comedy club audiences have after shows. They usually like the comedians they saw (at decent clubs at least), but have no idea who those comics were or any intention of planning to go see them again…even though they liked their act!
To me, this has always been a huge missed opportunity. Comedians (and comedy clubs for that matter) do a terrible job of implanting comedians’ names in the minds of crowds who enjoy their acts. That’s part of why it’s so difficult for most comedians to build a following.
Obviously, there’s no “rules” for making sure that the next person who likes your act will remember your name, but here’s a few ideas I have that might help.
Work Your Name Into Your Act
Although stand up comedy audiences rarely remember comedians’ names, they usually remember some of their bits. When people leave a club and are talking about who they liked, you usually hear something like, “The guy that talked about dating lesbians,” or “The woman that told that airplane joke.”
This creates an opportunity if you can work your name into a bit that’s funny enough for them to remember.
A good example of this is comedian Michael Kosta, who repeatedly mentions his own name and hands out business cards with his name on them from the stage as a running gag throughout his act (see below video). It’s a simple little trick and I have no idea if it’s calculated move or not on his part, but I guarantee you that more people remember his name than the average comedian.
Give Crowds A Reason To Look You Up After The Show
I’ve never really seen any comedians do this, but I bet it would work. What if you created some kind of additional content tied to one of your jokes that people would want to look up online the day after your show? This would obviously be joke-specific, but here’s one hypothetical example.
Comedian J Chris Newberg* has a song called Drunk Girl which he performs in his act (see below). He also has a slideshow video he made for the song featuring pics of all kinds of wasted girls. So here’s an idea…
Why not buy a domain like DrunkGirlSong.com and have it redirect either to his YouTube page for the video or to his personal website? Then, after he performs the song on stage he could mention that they can see the video or download a free mp3 of the song at DrunkGirlSong.com. If they like the song, they’ll probably go check out the easy-to-remember domain and subscribe to his YouTube channel.
Email The Crowd The Next Day
If your crowd is having trouble remembering your name the day after a show, maybe you can remember theirs? If the club you’re performing at will allow it, why not put your own comment cards on the tables and ask people to give you their email, Twitter, or Facebook account info. Collect the cards after the show and then you’ll be able to reach out to them personally the day after the show, thank them for coming out, and introduce them to the rest of your comedic exploits. It takes a little work, but I bet you they’ll remember your name after you send them a thanks for coming.
Let Your Audience Participate Via Twitter
I’m sure you’ve seen Jimmy Fallon and other late night TV hosts using Twitter hashtags to allow their audiences to participate in their shows. Well, you could probably do something similar on a smaller scale in your comedy club act. For example, come up with a funny idea for a hashtag and ask people in the crowd to take a moment and send a tweet with that hashtag.
What do you get out of it? Well, anybody that participates is somebody who was in the audience for your show and you can go back the next day and tweet a thanks to them. Now, they’ll connect your name with your act.
These are just a couple random ideas of how you can better get your name out there. What else would you suggest?
*In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve worked with Newberg in the past and have helped him get more than 7 million video views online.