Josh Spector

5 Ways To Improve Your Twitter Bio

If you’re a comedian, you’ve probably got a Twitter account.

But you’ve also probably got a Twitter bio that could use some work.

That’s why I’ve put together the following simple tips to help you make some quick changes to your bio that will help you get more followers and value from your Twitter activity.

1. Understand The Purpose Of Your Twitter Bio

Most people misunderstand the true purpose of your Twitter bio.

It doesn’t exist to tell people a little bit about who you are, it exists to tell people WHY they should follow you.

That’s a subtle, but important difference.

When somebody checks out your Twitter bio they’re doing so because they’ve come across something interesting in one of your tweets or saw your name mentioned in somebody else’s tweet.

They’re looking at your bio specifically because they’re considering whether or not to follow you!

That’s great and it creates a real opportunity to add a follower, so you want to put things in your bio that are designed to convince them to follow you – not just a random joke.

Write your bio in a way that tells people exactly what to expect if they follow you – explain to them who you are, what you do, what the value is to them, the kinds of things you tweet about, and whatever else you think will convince them to hit that Follow button.

Usually, that’s not a joke.

Your Twitter bio to sell yourself – it’s fine to be clever/funny with it, but don’t treat it like just another content tweet. Make sure you give people the key info that will encourage them to follow you.

For example, here’s what my Connected Comedy Twitter bio looks like:

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 1.24.40 PM

2. Reference What You Want People To Know About

I talk to comics all the time who ask me how to promote their podcast, web series, or other projects and then I go to their Twitter bio and see they haven’t even referenced that project there! Big mistake.

If you have something you want people to know about, make sure you reference it in your bio.

Again, people are checking your Twitter bio because they’re already interested in you on some level so that’s a prime opportunity to let them know about something else you do that you want them to check out.

Also, references to your most important projects helps you stand out because it reveals some specific details about the value you provide and separates you from people with more generic backgrounds (more on that in a bit).

3. Use @ Account Names When Possible

When you reference your projects or other entities in your Twitter bio, use the @ account names whenever possible.

This not only saves you some valuable characters (allowing you to get more across in your limited 140 characters), but also the @ account handles are clickable, so you make it easy for people to click and learn more about that particular project.

Plus, it encourages people to follow your other relevant accounts.

This could work in a lot of different ways. Here’s some examples of how you might use account names in your bio:

“Host of the @MYPODCAST podcast.”

“I’ve performed on @Conan & @JimmyKimmelLive.”

“I host the weekly @MYCOMEDYSHOW.”


4. Be Specific, Not Generic

In writing your Twitter bio, you want to say things that are as specific as possible to you – look for ways to separate yourself from every other comedian’s bio out there.

It’s good to include basic important details about yourself like mentioning that you’re a comedian, but try to qualify it with some specifics that tell people more about what separates you from every other comedian on Twitter.

For example, rather than just saying “Comedian,” maybe you say “Standup Comedian for 10 years,” or “Political comedian,” or “Comedian obsessed with sports, movies & music.”

Instead of just saying you “tell jokes,” maybe say “I tell jokes that Republicans hate and Liberals love.”

Instead of just saying you’re a “Writer,” maybe say “Writer of things that Dads can relate to.”

It doesn’t really matter what the specifics are, but the more you drill down past the generic terms that anybody can use, the more you’re explaining to potential followers who you are and why they should care.

That will help you find and connect to your niche.

5. Use Your Actual Location

If you only do one thing after reading this article, make it this one – put your actual location in the location section of your bio!

Again, the purpose of your Twitter bio is to give people information about yourself so they can make a decision on whether or not to follow you and the more specific, the better.

Listing your location as things like “Everywhere,” “Your Mom’s House,” or the less-jokey-but-equally-meaningless “The World,” “America,” or “Everywhere” is a complete waste of space.

It doesn’t make you seem clever, it makes you seem like you don’t care (which, if you think about it, doesn’t really encourage anybody to follow you).

Your location should be the city you live in.

Not only does that provide helpful context about who you are, but don’t you want somebody who comes across your bio and is interested in you to know where you’re located in case they want to come see you perform live?

Or, wouldn’t you want somebody to know you’re local in case they are looking to hire a comedian in that town?

Not listing your city as your location does you no good and only prevents some potential opportunities from happening.

More Advice About Twitter…

I’ve got a lot more Twitter tips available to my VIP MEMBERS (join here for instant access) including a look at How To Get More Influential Twitter Followers and 5 Ways To Get More Out Of The Jokes You Post On Twitter among others.

How To Know When To Quit (Podcast Ep. 62)

On the “quit for the right reasons” episode of the podcast, Jordan Cooper and Josh Spector talk about how to know when it’s time to abandon a project you’re working on.

Kicking off with a discussion of why Jordan recently decided to quit doing one of his podcasts and what he learned from the experience, we move on to talk about how comics can learn to commit to a project in a way that lends itself to a logical endpoint – and increases your chances of success before you get there.


Have a question you’d like us to answer on the next episode? Submit it now through this form.

Participate with the community in our Connected Comedy Facebook group.

If you enjoy the podcast, please rate and review it on iTunes.

5 Simple Ways To Make Your Email List More Effective

I’ve given a lot of advice over the years about how to get more people to join your mailing list, but how can you get the most value out of your list once people subscribe?

Here’s a few simple things you can do to maximize the results you get from your mailing list, no matter how many subscribers you have…

1. Ask Questions

I recently made a change to my Free Tips Newsletter mailing list and it’s had a remarkable impact.

I used to have it set up so that whenever somebody subscribed to my list they would get a confirmation email that thanked them, told them to expect the first tips soon, and invited them to connect with my various social media accounts.

That email was fine, it worked well, but I decided to experiment with something else – asking a question that was about them more than it was about me.

Now when people subscribe to my list, this is the first email they get:

Hi [NAME],

I just wanted to reach out and say thanks for your interest in Connected Comedy!

To kick things off, I’d love to hear a little about your background, goals and challenges – it’s different for everybody, so the more I know about what you’re looking for the better the advice I’ll be able to give you.

Let me know – thanks!


The result has been that almost every person that subscribes to my list responds to that email and tells me a bit about themselves and what they’re looking for.

Most people also comment about how surprised they are to see that I actually care who they are and how unexpected it is to get an email like that after subscribing to a mailing list.

This one simple question has changed their entire perception of what my mailing list is about and what to expect from me in general in a positive way.

That’s great, but that’s not all it’s done.

It’s also given me helpful information about my subscribers – who they are, why they subscribed, what they’re looking for, etc. – that allows me to provide them with more value and things they’re more likely to find helpful.

I typically respond with some specific suggestions and it takes what initially was a very passive relationship – somebody who subscribed to a mailing list not knowing what to expect – and turns it into a legitimate personal connection which is WAY more valuable for both parties.

While the people who subscribe to your mailing list most likely won’t be seeking advice the way my subscribers do, you can easily come up with your own relevant question to ask subscribers when they first sign up (or at any point for that matter).

It’s really about starting a conversation with them so you get to know the people that are interested in you enough to join your mailing list and give them a chance to get to know you better.

You might want to ask them how they heard about you, why they subscribed to your list, or even something as simple as who are their favorite comedians.

Anything that can start a conversation with you and that could give you some insight that could help you provide value to them (and you) down the road.

2. Deliver What You Promise

Here’s a simple suggestion that most people don’t follow – make sure you deliver what you promise to people who join your mailing list.

If you tell people you won’t just send them spammy show promotions, then don’t just send them spammy show promotions.

If you promise them no more than one email a month, then don’t send them an email every week.

If you promise them a free album download, then give them the free album download.

Whatever you promise a subscriber at signup, make sure you live up to it. And if you have to change your promise – for example, maybe you planned to send a monthly email but now want it to be weekly – make sure you tell your subscribers.

Be open and transparent with them so they don’t feel tricked.

A successful mailing list is based on trust (as is a career by the way), so you want to make sure people know your word means something.

3. Use Targeting And Segmentation

Hopefully, you’re using a mailing list provider like Aweber (this is my recommendation and here’s why) or Mailchimp to manage your mailing list.

If you are, it will allow you to easily segment your list so that you don’t have to send every email to every person on your list.

You want every email you send to people to be relevant to those people. Don’t send emails promoting your New York show to people that live in Miami – that’s just begging them to unsubscribe.

It’s fine to send some emails to your full list, but use targeting and segmenting of your list to ensure nobody gets things that aren’t relevant to them  in order to retain your subscribers.

And even if you don’t use Aweber or Mailchimp, you should look for ways to segment your list – even if it’s as simple as keeping a spreadsheet to track where your subscribers live or where they were when they joined your list.

4. Make It Interactive And Fun

This is somewhat related to my suggestion that you ask questions to your subscribers. Again, instead of thinking of your mailing list as a one-way communication platform (you blasting out your message to your subscribers), think about it as an opportunity for two-way communication.

It’s easy for your subscribers to hit reply to your email and respond with whatever you prompt them to do, so look for interesting and fun ways to take advantage of that.

There’s no shortage of things you can do to spark interaction – have them suggest topics for your podcast, ask you questions you can answer in future emails, send you bizarre things they’ve found online that you then share on your blog, or any other creative thing you can come up with.

Making your mailing list more interactive will once again show your subscribers you care and are paying attention to them. It will also make your emails more fun and help you use them to build community. You want to get to the point where your subscribers are excited to get an email from you, not just putting up with your emails.

And one of the best ways to get them excited is to make them feel like they’re a part of it.

5. Don’t Worry About Starting Small

No matter how many subscribers you have, you’ll always want more.

But don’t confuse that desire with a false belief that there’s no value to be had from your list unless you have hundreds or thousands of people on it.

Even if you only have a handful of subscribers, you can still get value from a good email list. Remember, email is still the most effective way to get people to actually see what you send them (the percentage of people who see your emails is roughly 10x as many as see your social posts).

Instead of focusing on all the subscribers you don’t have, focus on the opportunity to engage with the ones you do have.

Those people are the beginnings of your fanbase and the more connected they are to you, the more supportive they will be, and the more likely they will spread the word about you.

A lot of this is about perspective.

For example, a comic may have 100 people on their mailing list and never send them any emails other than the occasional show promotion, even though it’s likely that 50+ of those subscribers will see whatever they send.

Meanwhile, that same comic is promoting their new video on Twitter non-stop to 500 followers, but not realizing that only 25 of their followers actually see their posts.

Recognize the opportunity you have in your mailing list and don’t get distracted by the illusion of social media as being a more effective platform for reaching fans – it’s not.

And remember that all things start small, but the ones that provide value eventually get big.

READ THIS NEXT: The Email List Building Challenge

40 Ideas For Comedians To Think About

Over the past few years I’ve had thousands of conversations with comedians and dished out a lot of advice on this website, through my Free Tips newsletter, my VIP Members program, and on Twitter and Facebook.

What follows are some ideas that have stuck with me over the years – observations I hope you’ll find inspirational, thought-provoking, and helpful.

The Ideas

1. If you’re not willing to put in the work it takes to succeed, that’s ok. But you also have to be ok with not succeeding.

2. Get somebody to notice you today. Entertain them every day for a year. Repeat tomorrow. That’s how you build a fanbase.

3. If you only keep doing what you usually do, you’ll never know what you’re capable of doing.

4. People love watching videos of comics battling hecklers because they’re more real than most comics’ acts.

5. The things you say no to are just as important to your career as the things you say yes to.

6. Too many comics focus on getting people to LIKE them when they should try to get people to CARE about them.

7. If you hate promoting your comedy, it’s not because you’re an artist. It’s because you don’t believe you provide value to audiences.

8. If you want to get noticed, why are you doing the same things everybody else does?

9. If you’re “too busy” to spend time on your comedy career, that just means your career isn’t a priority for you. Be honest with yourself.

10. You’re most likely going to fail. But understanding that will help you succeed.

11. Ask less and offer more. That’s how you promote yourself.

12. Just because it’s easier than ever to create something doesn’t mean it’s easier to make it good.

13. Waiting doesn’t get you closer to succeeding. Starting does.

14. You’re never stuck. You just think you are.

15. You have to want to succeed more than you’re afraid to fail.

16. What you think is writer’s block is actually just impatience. Be willing to write junk until you get to something good. It’ll come.

17. If you hate self-promotion, then just make better stuff. The better your creation, the less you have to promote it.

18. That thing you think is the end goal is actually just the start of something else.

19. The people already paying attention to you are more important than the people who aren’t. Act accordingly.

20. The way to become a pro is to work like one even when you’re an amateur.

21. You know that story you’re afraid to talk about on stage? That’s the one you should talk about.

22. Start. Finish. Fail. Start. Finish. Fail. Start. Finish. That’s how you succeed.

23. Just being good isn’t enough.

24. You can learn just as much from watching a bad comic as you can a good one.

25. Everybody has the chance to pursue their passion for a living – it’s just that most people choose not to.

26. Just because you think you’re ready to take the next step in your career doesn’t mean that you are. Be patient.

27. It’s not easy to do something that’s truly different. That’s why it’s so valuable.

28. If you can’t find two hours a day to work on your comedy career, then you don’t actually want one.

29. You don’t need to have stage time tonight to further your career today.

30. Excuses are a lot easier to find than solutions.

31. Don’t worry – you don’t have to do what it takes to be a successful comic. There’s plenty of other comics that will.

32. Look at what every other comic is doing and then don’t do that. Do something else.

33. The best way to capitalize on a big break is to be prepared for it. Don’t wait for your break to come to start working.

34. Everybody you make laugh today is meaningless if you don’t have a way to reach them tomorrow.

35. It’s easier than ever for you to get seen and harder than ever for you to get noticed.

36. There are no “rules” when it comes to building a comedy career. There are just things comics convince themselves they can’t do.

37. That thing you’re nervous to talk about is probably the thing you should talk about in your comedy.

38. Most comics seem more interested in getting booked than getting better.

39. Stop worrying about people stealing your jokes. If your material’s that good, then only you can do it.

40. The more time you spend working on things you can control as opposed to things you can’t, the more successful you’ll be.

Click here to get more valuable comedy career tips!


Case Study: How To Build A Writing Career

The following is part of my Case Study series of articles in which I offer specific advice to a Connected Comedy VIP member based on their personal goals. If you’re interested in being the subject of a Case Study article, email me.

Connected Comedy VIP member Conn Williams is an Australian who recently moved to Boston, started doing standup about a year ago, and told me he’s ultimately interested in “writing for cinema and TV.” He’s been writing (or as he put it, “trying to”) for nearly 10 years and faces a very common problem.

Here’s how he described it:

“I have started a million projects, but rarely do I get anything finished, certainly never to a marketable point. Project ideas I have vary from novels, movies, sitcoms and documentaries.”

As with most things, there’s no one single way to build a comedy writing career, but I do think there are some mindsets and specific things you can do that will help you get to where you want to go. Following are a few suggestions for how I’d recommend approaching a writing career – and while these are directed toward screenwriting, most of them are just as applicable for your budding standup career as well.

1. It Only Matters If You Finish

In describing your writing background, one sentence stood out to me that rings true to most people who initially pursue a comedy career – “I have started a million projects, but rarely do I get anything finished.”

This is something everybody faces in the beginning, but it’s the most important thing you need to change in order to succeed at whatever you want to do.

What you start is meaningless. The only thing that matters is what you finish.

A finished screenplay that’s terrible is more valuable to you than an unfinished screenplay that’s good. Writing is a tough discipline and no matter how talented you are, the chances are you’re never going to be happy with early drafts of your work.

But you can’t let that prevent you from actually finishing that work.

Abandoning projects creates a cycle that prevents you from making progress – you don’t learn as much as you will learn by finishing things and you wind up jumping from project to project without having anything finished to show for all of your time and efforts.

Don’t worry about perfection, make finishing the project you set out to write your first goal. And take satisfaction from accomplishing that goal – even if your work isn’t great, it’s a huge accomplishment just to complete a screenplay or novel.

Again, most people DON’T finish things. So just by getting to the finish line, you already start to separate yourself from the pack of wannabe writers and are closer to becoming a professional writer.

The other amazing thing that happens when you finish something is that it creates momentum to fuel your next work. As you become a writer who finishes what you start, your skills will improve, you’ll become less critical of yourself, and you’ll learn what it takes to actually write for a living.

You never get paid to start things, you get paid to finish them. So the sooner you learn to finish, the better.

2. Read Scripts. Watch Movies. Repeat.

If you’re serious about a writing career, then you need to read as much as you write. Read the kinds of screenplays that you want to write – it’s not enough to just watch movies.

Screenwriting is its own unique form and you’ll learn a lot by seeing how other writers do it. And analyze what you read – break down the way writers handle scenes, characters, and plot structure. You’ll be amazed how much you can learn when you look deeper than just watching a movie.

Speaking of which, it’s especially helpful to read scripts and watch the movies simultaneously – you’ll get a feel for how the writing translates to the screen and vice versa. If you’re writing a movie (or TV show for that matter), remember that you’re ultimately writing “actions” – even if it’s dialogue heavy.

Studying scripts in concert with the final filmed product will help you learn how to do that.

Also, while the above advice is mainly for film or TV narrative writing, the same applies for novels, sketch, or any other kind of writing you’re interested in. Study how others do it and then put your own spin on it.

3. Tap Into The Online Writing Community

The biggest advantage to trying to build a writing career now compared to a decade ago is the incredible volume of resources available to up and coming writers now online to learn more about the craft.

There’s a HUGE community of professional (and hopeful) writers online and an almost infinite number of blogs, message boards, podcasts and more that feature discussions and advice about how to become a better writer.

This is an invaluable resource (if you access it) and I recommend you deeply immerse yourself in that world. You’ll be able to learn tons of valuable lessons (for free) and you also may find yourself developing relationships with other writers in the community who can help you in a variety of ways down the road.

If you want to be a writer, then one of the first things you should do is become a part of the writing community.

Here’s a few specific recommendations of things you might want to check out, though there’s certainly a lot more out there.

The Scriptnotes Podcast

Reddit’s Writing and Screenwriting subreddits

The Writer’s Bloc Podcast

The Creative Spark video series

10 Influential Screenwriting Blogs

4. Produce Something

While it ultimately may take a lot of money and somebody else to fund your movie or TV screenplay, write something small and figure out a way to actually get it made.

Whether it’s a short film, a web series, play, or even a scripted podcast, figure out a way to write something you can turn into a finished, created, “real” product that exists in the world.

You can team up with other producers, filmmakers, and actors – you don’t have to do it all yourself, but it’s important to go through the process of seeing your words come off the page and be brought to life.

Doing this will provide multiple benefits for you. You’ll learn a ton from seeing the difference between writing words on a page and how they’re actually performed and shot – that will ultimately help the quality of your writing in the future.

You’ll also benefit from having the opportunity to see how an audience (even a small one) reacts to one of your creations – that too will help your writing.

Maybe most importantly, you’ll get to have some fun seeing the things that came from your head become real and that will give you some much-needed momentum boost to encourage you to keep writing. There’s something about seeing creations become real that motivates writers to create more.

And finally, if you actually put something out into the world, you never know what new opportunities it may create. Maybe your video will go viral, maybe your web series will develop a following, maybe somebody influential will see it and want to work with you on something else.

5. Take Whatever Work You Can Get In The Industry

In addition to spending a lot of time writing, you’re going to want to find ways to make connections with other people working in the industry because ultimately you’re going to need to get to those people in order to sell your script or get yourself hired to work as a writer.

One of the best ways to do that is to take any jobs you can find that are remotely related to the industry you want to work in. Don’t worry if it’s not necessarily a writing job, if it puts you anywhere near anything that you’d want to be involved in, then go for it.

Working on the crew of a production or getting coffee as an assistant for somebody may seem like a waste of your time, but it’s not. It’s an opportunity to get to know people who are in positions that can ultimately help you and you’ll find yourself surrounded by other people who have similar goals and connections. Do whatever you can to just get in the door at an entertainment company and then figure out the rest from there.

For an industry that’s so huge, the entertainment business is a surprisingly small world – everybody kind of knows everybody – and today’s assistant is tomorrow’s studio head. Take whatever job you can find – even a part time gig where you work for free if you have to – to put yourself into that universe. It will ultimately pay off in a big way down the road.

READ THIS NEXT: Manager Rachel Miller Explains How You Can Build A Writing Career

How A Comic Got Booked On CONAN

This is a guest post from Connected Comedian Andy Sandford, who recently made his first appearance on CONAN. If you’d like to write a guest post for Connected Comedy, please email me.

I recently got to live out a longtime dream of telling my dumb jokes on CONAN.

Any comedian who has achieved some sort of goal or milestone in comedy (big or small) has had another comedian ask them, “How’d you get that?”

The question itself can have a rude connotation. It can be taken as, “How’d YOU get that and not me?” It could also imply that you “got” it, as opposed to having earned it. That being said, I prefer to assume the best intentions behind “How’d you get that?” because I am very aware that comedy is a pursuit which can leave you aimlessly flummoxed, and there is no real guide book (sorry, Judy Carter).

So when Connected Comedy asked if I’d be interested in writing a guest article about the experience, I figured I’d write what I’d want to read about if I was reading this instead of writing it. So I’ll do my best to appease the me that would be reading this.

I have to state, right off the bat, that I am a firm believer in setting realistic career goals that are momentarily just out of reach, then working as hard as possible to get within reach.

I started planning my album months before a label ever talked to me about doing one. In much the same way, I was dead set on doing a late night spot (specifically CONAN) before I knew the circumstances which would lead to that actually happening.

I’m not talking about “The Secret” here, or a magic ability to will dreams into fruition. I’m just talking about stating and then focusing on the thing you want, knowing why you want it, then being prepared for the opportunity when it comes.

Some folks don’t like to hear this, but the one sure-fire way to help yourself reach your comedy goals is to get funnier and hone your craft.

I know that sounds like a no-brainer, but I include it here to point out that it is far and away THE MOST IMPORTANT THING ALWAYS.

I haven’t met a successful/respected comedian yet who wasn’t mostly consumed by the quality of their material. I think that when you first start getting better at comedy, it is easy to get hung up on this notion of a payout timeline. Success in comedy, however you define it, is almost never linear. You can’t expect a consistent return on the time and effort you’ve invested.

All you can do is focus on your act and put yourself in the best position for the things you want.

With that ranting caveat out of the way, I’ll go into specifics…

Not that this is a how-to, but if you’re aspiring to do a late night set you’re going to need to get a good tape at a good show with good audience reaction. The best material can sound like dog shit if there’s no one laughing at it. Even if the booker is great at their job and can tell if someone’s funny regardless, you are making a first impression here.

Different late night bookers prefer different length sets for the initial tape. If you don’t know exactly who’s going to be watching it, six minutes is a pretty safe bet.

As far as the material goes, regardless of your comedic style, the set should reflect who you are and the kind of comedy you do. Also, make sure your opener is bulletproof.

Once you have a tape, the next logical step would be getting it seen by a late night booker. This is obviously where it can get real tricky.

A lot of comedians let the vagueness of all this create a ceiling where they think, “This is the stuff I have to have a manager for.”

Speaking as a comedian who has never signed with any management, you’ll be happy (or depressed) to know that you don’t need a manager to do a late night spot (or a lot of other things). There’s that old showbiz idiom: “Managers get 10% because they do 10% of the work.”

Percentages may change, but that concept is still very true. You are the only one you can count on to care the most about you. So if you don’t have a manager, you’re just going to have to work that much harder and put yourself in the best position you can.

My way of doing that was moving to New York a few years ago. I didn’t even move here because this is one of two industry hubs, but more so because it is the center of the standup universe, with a ton of shows and really good comedians. I found it to be the best option for my personal progression.There’s a million possible paths, and New York was just what felt right for me.

From being in New York, I ended up doing shows with, and eventually opening for, several great comics who I respect very much. In my pursuit of a late night spot, I asked a multiple late night veteran (who is also an insightful person) for advice on getting late night.

Much to my surprise, mid-conversation, they offered to send a tape to the CONAN booker along with a vouch for me.

This is not something you should ask from anyone directly, and if you are in this situation, realize the weight of a respected comic’s word. Don’t be a fucking idiot and phone it in with someone else’s name on the line. It is a very serious thing and it should be taken very seriously. I had to send two tapes to the comic vouching for me before he would send the tape on to the CONAN booker.

After a few weeks, I got a response from the CONAN booker and the notes process began.

The notes process is just what it sounds like. The booker gives you notes on your set and tells you what they like and don’t like. Mostly what they don’t like, but don’t worry, that means they like you (confusing, I know).

This is why I said earlier that having a six-minute tape was a safe bet, even though just about every late night set is five minutes. The bookers are going to do their job, and your set will be vetted pretty thoroughly.

Luckily, the CONAN booker liked most of my jokes from the initial tape, but I still had to make several changes, replace/cut jokes, and send four more tapes over the course of about four months (which meant filming at least a dozen sets, since making a tape in New York is a nightmare).

I’ve never heard of someone sending one tape and then getting handed their late night debut. My point is: Put as much thought into the set as you can, but then be ready to change it.

It may sound tedious (and will lead to ridiculous emails like, “I agree with your note that the shitting thing after the fart story is a bit much”), but the notes process will most likely force you to produce a much tighter and better five minutes than what you initially had in mind.

After the back-and-forth of getting notes and making new tapes, the final set was agreed upon, and I had to make one more tape to show that it was under five minutes. That’s right: UNDER five.

The last tape of my set that I sent clocked in at about 4:50ish. All of this time and material micromanagement is so that there are no doubts about you going waaay over or under when you tape the set for television. The people at CONAN are not as strict on time when it comes to the actual taping because they know they don’t need to be.

As far as the taping itself: yes, it was a little nerve racking – especially the two-minute wait behind a curtain in anticipation for something you’ve dreamt about a million times. At the same time, I knew I was ready and that I was the good kind of nervous.

Comedy is something where you learn not to get too excited about opportunities, because the bottom can drop out at any time (I’ve almost gotten a ton of stuff).

I’ve gotten used to not getting too hyped about things. However, I have to say, when it comes to doing a late night set: it is impossible to build it up too much in your head. It was way more fun than I could have imagined and only reaffirmed the love for what I do, as well as validate my decision to drop out of high school (jk’ing about that. Stay in school kids).

Finally, what has doing late night done for me?

Well, I don’t really know yet fully since I just recently did it. However, I already know not to expect the moon because I was on TV for five minutes. We should all know that’s not how it works.

Comedy is a lot like chess in that you don’t know where your next steps will leave you, but you have to be ready for multiple outcomes, and then outcomes to those outcomes. At the very least, you have to know how the thing you want can be parlayed into furthering your career.

In my case, I book all of my own roadwork, whether in clubs or independent venues. I knew if I could have a good set on a reputable show, it would help immensely with establishing credibility when booking gigs, and especially with independent venues (the very concept of comedy is a hard sell for them sometimes).

Bitter people will say that doing a late night set doesn’t do a fraction of what it used to. That may be true, but I’m not interested in how things used to be, and am already aware that this is a tough business. The returns, or lack of returns, can’t diminish the experience for me.

I always try to create my own returns anyway.

You can watch Andy’s CONAN set below and connect with him on Twitter.

4 Questions Comics Should Ask Instead Of The Ones They Usually Ask

I get asked a lot of questions.

Unfortunately, most of them aren’t the ones whose answers will ultimately further your career. People tend to focus on questions that are more about end results as opposed to the underlying factors that actually drive success and culminate in the results they want.

To help you think about things a little differently than the average comic, here’s a breakdown of four common questions comedians ask and some questions I think you’d be better served to think about instead.

1. Instead Of Asking How To Book More Gigs, Ask How To Build A Fanbase

Every comic always wants to know how to get bookers and venues to give them more opportunities to perform on their stage and how they can get those same people to pay them more money for their efforts.

That’s a complicated question that has a lot of different possible answers, but there’s one simple answer to it that most comics seem to ignore.

To get booked more, all you have to do is be able to sell tickets. And to sell tickets, you have to have a fanbase.

Every booker is ultimately looking for the same thing – they want to draw a paying crowd to see the show they’re putting on. If you can help them accomplish that by drawing a crowd, they will book you. And even if they didn’t, if you can draw your own crowd than you don’t actually need other people to book you anyway.

So rather than trying to figure out how to get booked more, you’re better served to think about how you can grow your fanbase.

If you spent as much time figuring out how to convert the people that already see you into fans, creating content or finding a niche to attract new potential fans, as you do trying to track down bookers you will wind up being more successful in the long run.

2. Instead Of Asking How To Sell Stuff, Ask How To Get People To Trust You

I get it, the comedy business tends to be heavy on the comedy and light on the business when you’re just getting started.

So as a result, you may be more eager to get people to buy your albums, merch, or whatever else you’ve come up with make a few extra bucks than you are thinking about the bigger picture.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but what is often forgotten is that the key to selling anything is trust. If you can’t figure out how to get people to trust you, they’re never going to buy anything from you.

This isn’t just about people being afraid of being ripped off – it’s about your potential customers trusting that whatever you’ve created will provide them with actual value.

They need to trust that your album will be funny before they purchase it. They need to trust that if they order something from your website that you’ll actually send it to them. And they need to trust that if they buy tickets to see your show, it will be worth their money.

In the rush to monetize your work, don’t forget that every purchase is rooted in trust and it’s important to develop that before you start asking for money. And it’s just as important that when you deliver a product to a customer, it lives up to the promise you’ve made with it.

If it does, you’ll have built even more trust with that person and that will be valuable again further down the road. But if you don’t, then you’ve likely lost their trust and it’s unlikely you’ll ever be able to sell them something again.

3. Instead Of Asking How You Can Get An Agent, Ask How You Can Make Money For An Agent

This one’s a different spin on the question about bookers and it’s equally important. Every comic without a manager or agent desperately wants one and believes it’s the only thing standing between them and fame and fortune.

Unfortunately, that’s usually not true.

But that’s not say that agents can’t be helpful because they certainly can be and there’s nothing wrong with trying to figure out how to get one. But the best way to get one is by asking a different question – the question you should be concerned with is how you can generate money for your representative.

Ultimately, your agent or manager will only make money when you make money – they get a percentage of whatever they help you generate. If they’re charging you a fee as opposed to a percentage, they’re shady and you should run the other direction immediately.

Because of the economics of representation, agents and managers look for comics they believe can actually generate revenue immediately – or at least relatively quickly. Yes, you have to be talented and they have to like your work, but they ALSO have to see a clear path to monetize what you do.

Otherwise, they’re just putting in time, effort, and in some cases their own money, with no realistic return on their investment.

With this in mind, the best way to figure out how to get representation is to figure out how you can present an agent/manager with an opportunity to make money.

Do you have a script they can sell? Do you have acting skills so they can send you on auditions and you can land a role quickly? Do you have a blog that could be turned into a book deal?

The answer to how you to get an agent is really to figure out the answer to how you can make money for one.

4. Instead Of Asking How To Get People To Listen To Your Podcast, Ask How You Find Podcasts To Listen To

Whether you have your own podcast, video series, or blog, the chances are you’re relatively obsessed with getting more people to see your work. That makes sense and it’s a good goal to have.

But rather than thinking about how you can get people to find your creations, think about it from the opposite perspective. Ask yourself how you find new podcasts to listen to and why you watch the web series that you watch?

By inverting the question and thinking about your own behavior as a consumer of content as opposed to a creator of it, you’ll likely stumble across some helpful clues about how and where people discover content like yours.

And if you put those tactics to work on your own projects, you’ll likely be able to find people to consume your creations the same way you have consumed what others have created.

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Try To Make Money Online From Comedy

21 Handwritten Tips For Comedians From Comedians

Andrew Rivers is a comedian and Connected Comedy reader who reached out to me recently to tell me about a great project he’s been working on.

For the past few years he’s asked comedians he comes across at his various performances to write down a bit of advice for him about the art and business of comedy in his notebooks. Besides being a great learning resource for himself, he’s shared many of the 190+ bits of advice he’s received on Tumblr and Facebook.

Here’s 21 of my favorites…














































New to Connected Comedy? Check out my Connected Comedy Members Program to see how else I can help you!

4 Useful Tools Most Comics Don’t Know Exist

One of the biggest reasons you may struggle to get results on social media is because you may not be aware of some of the tools available to help you get the most out of various social networks.

There are a lot of valuable tools out there that are relatively simple to use and can help you find and connect with new potential fans and better promote your creations.

Here’s a quick breakdown of four tools that you probably haven’t used before, but can definitely help you achieve your goals.

1. Facebook’s Power Editor

I’ve talked a lot about how valuable (and cheap) Facebook ads are and the incredible value you can get from using them to promote yourself or your content.

But most comics who run Facebook ads do so without the help of Facebook’s most effective ad-creation tool, the Power Editor.

If you’re running Facebook ads just by clicking “Boost Post” next to a given post or by using Facebook’s standard ads manager, you’re missing out on a lot of options and functionality that will allow you to create more targeted ads that will perform much better for you.

Basically, using the Facebook Power Editor gives you more control and therefore you can create better, more targeted ads, which in turn leads to more success at a lower price point. It also allows you to create “dark posts,” which is another valuable option you can read about here.

I won’t go into a full overview of how the Power Editor works at this point, but here’s a great overview. And it’s worth noting that the Power Editor is free to use and you can only use it in a Chrome browser, so keep that in mind when you decide to give it a try.

2. Twitter’s Advanced Search

Twitter’s search functionality is the most powerful feature Twitter has to offer and yet it’s rarely used by comedians.

There are lots of ways searching Twitter can help you as a comedian such as searching for people who are tweeting about topics relevant to your niche or searching for people who have shared your content or attended a show you were on to connect with them.

Few comics ever really use Twitter’s search functionality and those that do typically only use the search bar at the top of their Twitter feed. But what you probably don’t realize is that there’s another way to search Twitter that gives you a lot more options to drill down into more targeted searches.

By using Twitter’s advanced search, accessible at, you can set all kinds of specific options to drill down deeper into what people are tweeting and when.

Want to see what I tweeted from the Connected Comedy account in September 2012? Here you go.

Want to see every tweet that somebody has tweeted at me that included a question? Here you go.

Want to see every tweet that includes the word “comedians” and a link to something on the New York Times website? Here you go.

I could go on forever, but hopefully you get the point – Twitter’s advanced search can be an incredibly powerful way to find relevant information and people for you to connect with based on your needs.

3. Facebook’s Groups Search

There’s a good chance you’re in a couple Facebook groups already (like my Connected Comedians group, for example?), but have you ever spent any time searching Facebook to find new relevant groups to join?

Facebook groups are a great way to get involved in communities that will be relevant to your interests and can be filled with people who may be interested in whatever your particular comedy niche may be. Beyond the networking benefits of joining a Facebook group with other comedians, the real value is in finding topic-based groups that attract members with shared interests that match the kinds of things you cover in your comedy.

For example, if your comedy revolves around being a father, then you might want to join the 1,100 members of the Dad Bloggers group.

Or if you think fans of Rachel Maddow are likely to enjoy your take on things, then maybe the 25,000 members of this Rachel Maddow Fans group are potential new fans of your comedy.

There’s an insane number of groups on Facebook and you can probably find one for whatever target audience you’re hoping to connect with. And it’s really easy to do.

All you have to do to find Facebook groups is log in to Facebook and type some relevant keywords into the search bar. When you get the initial results click the “Groups” button listed under the “More” drop down menu as you see below:

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 11.01.02 PM

Once you choose Groups, you’ll see a list of the groups relating to that keyword and you can browse until you find ones that fit your needs. You’ll be amazed at what you find…

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 11.04.35 PM

4. Twitter’s Native Video Player

Another Twitter feature that gets overlooked is Twitter’s native video player. Launched a few months ago, it allows you to upload videos directly to Twitter and those videos will appear an play in-feed on Twitter.

While you’re probably familiar with Vine (which is owned by Twitter) and may have heard of Periscope (Twitter’s new live-streaming video platform), Twitter’s regular video player can be helpful for when you want to upload a video that’s longer than 6 seconds and isn’t a live-stream, but still have it appear in people’s feeds.

It’s as easy as uploading a photo and worth giving a try the next time you’ve got a video you want to share with your followers. Here’s an overview of exactly how to do it.

Want A Little Extra Help From Me?

If you’re looking to try out any of these tools and are looking for some more specific suggestions about how best to use them to fit your needs, I’d be happy to help. Email me and let me know what you’re looking for.

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Social Media Shifts That Will Impact Comedians

Ranking The 9 Most Valuable Social Platforms For Comedians

Social media can be overwhelming.

There seems to be a new “must-use” social platform created every day and the pressure to leverage them to attract fans and grow your career can quickly become frustrating.

But the reality is you don’t actually have to use any of these platforms and you certainly don’t need to use all of them. To help you sort out which ones are worth the effort, I’ve put together a breakdown of what I see as the top nine platforms in order of value to a comedian’s career.

While the exact order may vary a bit depending on your specific career goals, this is a general ranking that I think fits for most comics. Whether you’re just starting out or 20 years into the game, these are the places I’d recommend you put your time into – in order from most important to least important.

1. An Email List

Don’t be fooled by the hype around the latest and greatest social platforms – email is still king. It’s the single best way to ensure people who are connected to you will see something you want them to see.

As great as social networks are, the vast majority of your followers on them won’t actually see your posts – you’ll be lucky to reach more than 10% of your followers with any given post and in most cases you’ll only reach about 5%.

By comparison, roughly 50% of your email subscribers (or more depending on the quality of your list), will open and read your email blast. Even a bad email list will still likely get at least 20% of the subscribers to open your emails, which is still a huge improvement over what you get on social networks.

Email lists are also the most valuable social platform because they’re completely in your control – you don’t have to worry about companies like Facebook or Twitter suddenly changing the rules of who sees your content and you also don’t have to worry about users abandoning the platforms entirely, making your connection to your audience on them disappear (see: MySpace).

An email list is without a doubt the most powerful social connection you can build to your fanbase and even the social networks themselves know it.

Have you ever thought about why Twitter and Facebook send so many emails to their users? It’s because they know you’re more likely to see those notifications in your email inbox than on their own platforms.

Recommended Reading: How To Get More People To Join Your Mailing List

2. A Website

The second most valuable platform also may seem a little old school to you. Too many comics believe a Facebook page is good enough and having their own website is an outdated concept, but that’s wrong.

Just like an email list, having your own website is something that you can 100% control forever and it’s not subject to the whims of a company who can block you, delete you, or make things difficult for you with tweaks in their algorithm or a loss of their own user base.

Your own website is also a blank canvas that allows you to create whatever best suits your personal needs and how you want to present yourself. It’s much more flexible than having to fit what you do into the constraints of somebody else’s platform.

There’s a million different easy ways to create a website (WordPress, Tumblr, etc.) and there’s really no excuse at this point not to have one. Plus, a website will get you found in Google search (and help you control what people see of yours when they search for you) and will make you look like a professional.

Not having a website – even if it’s just a simple one – sends a clear message to the world that you’re not serious about your career.

Recommended Reading: How 5 Successful Comedians Used Their Website Before They Were Famous

 3. A Facebook Fan Page

Comics love Twitter, but the reality is that Facebook is a WAY bigger and more valuable platform for you.

Facebook has gotten so big that it practically is the Internet these days, and I’m sure you probably already have a Facebook account. But, if you don’t also have a Facebook fan page for yourself, you’re doing it wrong.

Having a fan page has several advantages including the ability to have an unlimited number of fans connect to you – regular profiles are capped at 5,000 friends, which may not seem like an issue now but will be if you ultimately have the success you want.

Most importantly, Facebook fan pages allow you to run Facebook ads to promote yourself and your content. Here’s a look at some of the amazing things that are possible with Facebook ads and how inexpensive they can be.

You can’t run Facebook ads without a fan page, and not having the ability to run Facebook ads is like taking the single most effective marketing tool out of your arsenal. It’s stupid.

Recommended Reading: 5 Free Ways To Get More People To See Your Facebook Posts

4. Twitter

Even though its value is below Facebook, Twitter can still be a valuable platform for comedians. Comedy content plays well on the platform and if you’ve got the ability to put funny stuff into the world in 140 characters or less, you can find some success and get noticed.

But, the real value in Twitter is often misunderstood. The way to get the most out of Twitter is not by using it as a broadcast medium or an always-on open mic, but rather to use it as a way to connect with other people.

The ability to follow and interact with anybody on the platform is powerful if used in a smart way and Twitter’s search functionality is one of the most overlooked and underused aspects of Twitter. You can use it to find people who are talking about the exact things you’re interested in and become a part of those conversations. Here’s some simple ways to get more out of Twitter that might make you think about the platform in a new way.

Recommended Reading: 5 Ways To Get More Out Of The Jokes You Post On Twitter

5. YouTube

If you’re creating videos, you should post those videos on YouTube (you should also upload those videos to Facebook’s native player as well by the way).

This is because YouTube is not only the biggest video hub on the Internet, but it’s also the second biggest search engine of any kind. Not uploading your videos to YouTube is the equivalent of telling Google that you don’t want to be found in their search results.

YouTube is the ultimate video platform, a place where you can get discovered, where you can build an audience, and where you can even monetize your work. People are building huge careers off the platform and it’s a must-use for anybody creating videos in my opinion.

Recommended Reading: Building A YouTube Audience

6. Vine

It’s appropriate that my sixth most valuable platform for comedians is a social network built on 6-second videos. Vine, which is owned by Twitter, has built a large user base and has a huge audience for funny content.

Comedy on Vine certainly has its own unique form and language, but if you can crack what works on the platform you can get discovered and build a following relatively quickly. There are also lots of relatively unknown comedians who have managed to monetize their work on Vine thanks to brands looking to reach audiences on the platform.

And the aesthetic of Vine is a lot more forgiving than YouTube, meaning that you don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money on equipment or have a real professional look to your videos on the platform for them to work. Just shoot something funny with your phone and you should be fine.

Recommended Reading:5 Things You Can Learn From Vine Star King Bach

7. A Podcast

We’re still in the midst of a podcast boom – especially in the comedy world. At this point it may seem like every comedian has a podcast, but the truth is that the vast majority of them have barely any people listening to them.

However, there is still lots of potential value there for comics because the podcast audience continues to grow and there are still opportunities to grow an audience over time through a podcast.

The other hidden value of doing a podcast is that it can help improve your work as a comedian overall – it can help you work through new material, find your voice, or function as practice for future work in radio, writing, or hosting.

It’s not the same as stage time, but it is an opportunity to be on a mic and entertain people. It also can give you an excuse to interview and learn from other people, and if you’re smart enough to design your show in a way that it appeals to a specific niche audience that you’re trying to reach (as opposed to being just another inside baseball show featuring comics talking about comedy), it can help you attract and develop an audience that pays off in other ways down the road.

There’s definitely value in doing a podcast, but it’s important to remember that a podcast is a long term play and not a short term one. Whatever value you get from doing a podcast is likely to come years down the road and you have to be willing to put in the significant time and effort it takes to get there.

Recommended Reading: Stand Up Invades Podcasting

8. Instagram

Instagram is a great social platform and it’s growing very fast – it might surprise you to find out that it’s already bigger than Twitter.

There’s definitely value to reaching the Instagram audience and if you’re doing anything with your comedy that’s image-driven, I’d probable rank it a little higher for you.

But, for most comics, Instagram is significantly less valuable as a platform than the other options I’ve listed above. It’s just that what Instagram is about doesn’t really lend itself very well to what most comics are looking to put out into the world.

Also, as a promotional platform, it’s very limiting since you can’t incorporate links anywhere on the platform except for in your account bio. It can be helpful with the right kind of content and the ability to dip into certain hashtags and attract attention for your content that way can be useful, but overall at the moment it’s far from a must-use platform for comedians.

Recommended Reading: 4 Things You Can Learn From Social Media Stars

9. Snapchat

Snapchat is growing…fast. It’s already hugely popular with teenagers, is seeing lots of engagement from users, and its Stories feature enables you to string together content in a way you can’t on other platforms.

However, the platform still has a lot of issues that limit its value to comedians.

Since the content you post there is only available for 24 hours at most you lose the value of building a library of archived content, discovery on the platform is pretty terrible (you essentially have to know a person’s username to find them), you don’t get to see how many people are actually following you (only how many actually view a piece of content), and there’s no simple way for your fans to share your content with their friends.

So, at this point, Snapchat is far from a must-use platform for comics, but it’s growing so rapidly that it’s still worth being on this list and keeping an eye on as it evolves.

More Advice About Social Media…

I’ve got a lot more social media tips available to my VIP MEMBERS (join here for instant access) including How To Get More Influential Followers On Twitter and 7 Reasons The Stuff You Post On Social Media Should Also Be On Your Website among others.