Five Tips For Your Comedy Event To Run Smoothly

So you’ve decided to organize a comedy show as your next event, followed my 3 Tips To Planning a Successful Show and now it’s the day of the show.

Here’s five tips to follow before and during the show to ensure everything runs smoothly.

1) Make sure the sound, lights and stage are setup and working before the audience is admitted into the venue.

Comedy doesn’t require much equipment, make sure you have a working microphone with speakers, a stage area and lighting that draws the audience towards where the performer is. This doesn’t cost much, but not doing this, or doing it poorly, really hurts the show.

2) Arrange seating properly.

Stand-up comedy is an intimate experience. You can turn any venue into a comedy show, but making sure the audience is properly positioned makes a show much better. You want the audience to morph into one organism to have a communal experience and more energy. So the closer the audience is to each other, and to the performer, the better. If you have to have tables, the smaller they are the better. And if it’s not a sold out show, have a seater make sure the front of the room is filled first. Most comedians will not make fun of people in the front rows.

3) At minimum, have some water bottles for the comedian.

Snacks are nice too. If the show is at a restaurant, it’s polite to let the comedians order food and a drink or two from the menu without charging them / in addition to their performance fee. Of course, comedians should know to tip the wait staff anyway.

4) Pay the Performers Before The Show Starts

You’re going to be busy talking to people after the show, so if you’ve already agreed upon a fee, pay the performers before the show starts. Or at least tell them, “I will Venmo you later tonight” or whatever it is you actually plan to do. They will relax and have one less thing to worry about. They can also leave after their set if they have other shows or a long trip home and not have to wait around to get paid. Of course, if you’ve booked them as a door deal, where their payment depends on how much audience shows up, don’t pay them until after you have the final numbers.

5) Keep track of introductions and how much time you want everyone doing. 

Ask the comedian if he needs a “light” as a reminder when his time is almost up. Comedians can get lost in the moment and lose track of time. A simple cell phone light from the back of the room will let them know when it’s time to wrap things up so the rest of the event proceeds in a timely manner.

If it’s an event that has multiple performers in different genres (musicians, poets, rabbis, priests, etc.), make sure the comedian is introduced as a comedian, otherwise the audience’s expectations may be confused.


Wanna try stand-up comedy yourself? I teach a Comedy Class in NYC. I also do private one-on-one comedy coaching (in-person or via Zoom).

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