I had a conversation with a stand up comedian recently who was frustrated at his lack of bookings. He bemoaned the lack of paid gigs out there and how difficult it is to get bookers to pay attention and give him a chance.
When I asked what his ultimate career goal was he replied that he’d like to have a career like another comedian (whose name I won’t mention), who headlines clubs around the country and probably makes about $2,000 per weekend booking.
The comic I was speaking with didn’t see how he was ever going to get to that point without bookers giving him a shot first. But I see it differently.
If his goal is to make $2,000 a weekend performing stand up in front of a couple hundred people, then he’s focused on the wrong way to get there. He’s putting all of his time and effort into catching the attention of bookers and hoping they’ll give him permission to have the career he wants to have. But he doesn’t need their permission.
To make $2,000 a weekend performing stand up, all you need to do is figure out how you can convince 200 people to spend $10 to see you perform. That’s not easy, but it’s not impossible. And more importantly, it’s a goal that’s completely in his control as opposed to a goal that somebody else has to allow him to accomplish.
I told this comedian that instead of waiting around for some booker to magically decide he’s worthy of their comedy club, he should put his efforts into something he can control — figuring out how to sell 200 tickets to his own shows.
And the irony is that if he can actually do that, he won’t need the booker or the comedy club. They’ll need him.
Did you like this post? Please check out some of my other advice for stand up comedians.