I’m excited to introduce a new series of interviews here on Connected Comedy through which I’ll be able to share with you some of the expertise of various people working in the comedy industry.
To kick things off, I recently spoke to Reg Tigerman, who works as a manager and producer with the Levity Entertainment Group based in Los Angeles. Here’s what Reg had to say about what he looks for in new talent, how he thinks comedians should approach their career, and the role that social media and digital tools can play in getting you discovered and improving your act.
Can you tell me a little bit about your background? How did you get into comedy, how did you wind up working for Levity, and what exactly is your current role at Levity?
I graduated college and moved back to my hometown of Los Angeles, knowing I wanted to work in the entertainment industry – specifically in comedy – but not sure exactly where. I started as a Graphics Assistant on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson then transitioned to an Executive Assistant position at a reality television production company.
I realized reality fare wasn’t my cup of tea and wanted to be more involved in the comedy world. My understanding boss connected me with a company called Levity, which seemed to be in the center of the comedy world: managing comedians and producing comedy specials.
I interviewed, got a job, and now after three years I’ve found myself in a role of talent manager, brand manager and producer. I am the brand manager for Jeff Dunham, coordinating his consumer products business, digital platform, and production needs. I also manage comedians for whom I hope to build just as robust and expansive careers.
When you’re looking for new talent, what is it specifically that you look for? What makes one comedian stand out over another?
In its most simple form, I’m looking for someone that makes me laugh. But to break it down a little – I’m looking for someone with talent and a unique voice or point of view. It doesn’t have to be extreme or alternative, just true to the individual.
Also, someone who understands that this is a business and treats his or her craft with discipline. But most importantly, someone who is FUNNY. With all the comedy I’ve seen, it’s harder and harder to make me laugh, so someone that does will stand out above the rest.
What do you think is the biggest misconception up and coming comedians have about the “business” of comedy?
That it’s exactly what you said: a business. A lot of comedians think all they need to do is get on stage and be funny. Yes, that’s extremely important, but they have to treat their art, their craft, like a business.
Like any other job, a comedian needs to work at it for hours a day, multiple days a week. He or she needs to set objectives and develop strategies to achieve those goals, constantly review their progress, then evaluate if they need to make any changes.
Do you think things like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs are important to a comedian’s career?
Extremely. First, all those things give the comedian a chance to practice their craft every day. They can explore their voice and learn from the audience’s reaction.
Second, these outlets are a great opportunity to give comedians exposure. It could be a viral video or funny tweet that gets a comedian his or her next job.
What advice would you give to comedians who are looking to get management or other representation?
First off, make sure you’re prepared: you have a tape for them to watch, a website to point them to, and possibly an upcoming show where they can check you out live. Second, be persistent, but don’t be pushy. Managers and agents are busy and may not get to your stuff right away, so it’s ok to check in every now and then, but nothing get’s more annoying than someone who emails or calls every day.
What have you learned from the successful comedians that you have worked or interacted with over the course of your career?
The ones that do the best are the ones that treat comedy like a business. They are extremely disciplined, ambitious, set goals, and follow through on them. Motivated and disciplined artists are hard to come by, so actually doing the work, and hopefully some of the time it’s good, will go a long way.
What can comedians do to increase their chances of getting work, even after they’ve landed representation?
Getting representation does not guarantee work. It gives artists opportunities and opens doors that weren’t available before, but it doesn’t give them a free ticket to coast and rely on their representation for jobs.
For a comedian, it’s about continually writing new material, shooting funny videos, just doing creative things. Also, it’s great to meet regularly with your representative to discuss your objectives, so you can both continue to be working towards them.
Do you think comedians have to move to LA or New York in order to further their career? And if so, how do they decide when is the right time to make the move?
There is no rule. A comedian can get a big break while in New York or LA. However, if I could map out an ideal trajectory for a comedian’s career, I would say they should start in New York, where there are endless places to do stand-up, especially where there aren’t creepy industry folks lurking around.
They can hone their craft in obscurity, bombing without having to worry about who might see them. Once they’re ready, they can move to LA, complain about how bad the stand-up scene is compared to New York, but enter the casting world and be introduced to other club managers as a well-groomed, finely tuned comedian.
What do you think is the most important trend or shift happening in the comedy industry right now?
Robots. Besides robots, even though the internet has proven itself as a testing ground for comedy for years now, it’s still amazing the power of a highly viewed online video or rabidly followed Twitter page. Also, seeing all these new, innovative shows pop up around the city is cool. Innovation and experimentation leads to new comedy….or robots.
What one piece of advice would you give to comedians hoping to further their career?
Write. Get on stage. Write. Get on stage. Set goals. Write. Get on stage. Evaluate goals. Recalibrate goals. Write. Get on stage. And Write.
If you’ve got a question for Reg, feel free to post it in the comments.
16 thoughts on “A Connected Comedy Interview With Manager And Producer Reg Tigerman”
Great article and interview. Thes types of interviews that take us inside the mind of the most successful people in the business are invaluable. Great Josh, keepem coming. Thanks for all you do to help comedians and the business of comedy.
Thanks for continuing to bring the heat, Josh! And thanks for sharing your experience, Reg!
Great questions, Josh…great answers, Reg!
I’ve been in the game for a while, and have some good friends that are managed by big agencies. The world of management is still a bit shadowy for me, and I never ask my friends with representation for any answers…it’s very frowned upon. It’s really nice to hear direct responses from a manager!
I’ve heard the adage that “management finds you”. I believe that to be true, but there has to also be a proactive way to up the odds for that event to happen. Reg, in your experience…how can a comedian outside of LA/NYC put himself in good position to be “found” without being annoying or desperate? What has worked on you?
I thank you in advance, and really appreciate your time already spent on this subject.
Your very welcome Sam!
Tom – I hope I could shine some light on the shadowy world of talent management. There are a few things a comedian outside of LA or NYC can do to get “noticed.” It’s not impossible, as I’ve seen it done before. As you do stand-up outside of LA or NYC, be friendly to the club managers you work for and other comedians that pass through. You never know when one of them may recommend you to an agent or manager they’re talking to. Don’t hound them, but keep in mind that they could be a path to representation. Second, have a solid presence online: a website with recent videos, tour dates, photos, and contact info. This will help whenever a manager or agent needs to learn about you or share their new find with their colleagues. And remember, even if you don’t have management, there are some online outlets and festivals that you can submit yourself to in order to get your name out there.
Thanks, Reg…those are all things I’m working hard to do every day. I just need to streamline and tweak the aesthetics of my online presence a bit. In the interest of full disclosure, I opened 2 sold-out shows for Jeff Dunham at the Hu Ke Lau in Chicopee, MA back around 2006. He was very nice to me, and the opportunity to work in front of around 1200 people total in one night was a big step forward in a young comedian’s career…one I never forgot!
Thanks again for the insight. It never hurts to hear you’re doing something right!
Thanx for takin the time for the interview!! I felt as if I was the 1 doin the interview!! Im from Cleveland OH and its very hard to advance here!! I’ve done a few other states, but I feel that Im ready for at least the next level up (i understand its alot of levels) and sumtimes I begin to feel that no doors are gonna open!!! But this interview gives me hope, so I will keep writing and I will keep performing until sumthing does open!! thanx Josh and Reg!!……………..the Zsa!!
Josh & Reg ,you guys are grrrrrrt,insightful and priceless,as a born-again-comedian,,I love what you guys doing for comedian,,u care!,,,keep up the awsome work,besos!
These articles are always so helpful. thank God that I have found GET CONNECTED.
Another Awesome Bit from Josh!
Awesome interview. Thanks Josh.
Great interview! Another way to get exposure is through morning radio shows if you can get your bits or songs on them. The DJ’s have the ability to give your bookings a big boost if you have good material or a character to market. I went the path of NYC first & now L.A. Definitely good advice! Thanks for some great insight into this BUSINESS.
Ilive in the Netherlands, and more importantly, 1 hour from Amsterdam. After performing there in the club scene a few times, I discovered that the audience there is one of the toughest. One Bush joke, and they look at you in either confusion, or fear. It’s kind of like Regina (I kknow, it rhymes with a happy place) in Canada.
My question is this. Who do I send a tape or Cd to that is open to internationals?
And also what is the best length for a video on Youtube?
Great article. Very insightful.
Reg, I am praying you can guide me. I have a 14 year old who needs an adult audience. We have had people tell us for the past 3 years that this kid is absolutley histerical. I posted a short video of his work and people lost thier minds. I started a website and he got 1000 hits in 2 days with none of his videos on it yet. I am in the process of copyriting his character and act(s) but in the interim, do NOT know where to go with a kid who makes adults keel over laughing. HELP!
Reg sounds like a super nice guy to have as a friend and advisor. Great interview Josh.
I’ve been performing stand-up comedy since 2004. From day 1, I keep my act clean and no blue humor and that seems to open a lot of doors for me. I mail out a dvd (6-7 minutes of my act),a photo and resume to different clubs in Florida & Georgia and that has led to invites and stage time. I write everyday for 20-30 minutes and I keep comedy journals with my ideas and thoughts.I also invested in promo material …shirts,flyers,good swag that I pass out free at my shows. I am working on a Facebook page now. I opened for several big names at the Tampa Improv (Jeff Dunham,Bruce Bruce,Michael Winslow,Gary Gulman,Ralphie May..etc) and I have closed for Larry the Cable Guy in Orlando’s Improv. This has worked for me so far but now I feel I need a manager. I am at a loss as to what to do now to further my goals and get more exposure.
Does anyone have advice on how to make an educated choice of hiring a manager ? I am open to any suggestions and thank you in advance for your time.
My name is Craig Lightfoot and I am a comedy promoter/manager and I am forever learning the business and meeting people who can expand on the knowledge that they can give to others as a lesson. Great story.