Tips for making your comedy event a success
Few people experience a comedy show from my side of the microphone which is why you may not know some of the venue details that help make a good event great. Comedy is both an art and a science…albeit an inexact science. But there is definitely a formula that when mixed just right makes for a successful comedy event. Follow these tips and I can promise you the only thing left to do will be to hire the right comedian. Me. I’m talking about me.
Regardless of the size of your audience or room a comedy show needs to be heard. Unlike music, comedy is not background sound to fill empty gaps in conversation. Comedy is the main event. Comedians need to be heard and a sound system with a microphone amplifier and speakers is the best way to get that done. If the venue you are using has a PA system, great! We’ll use that one. If not, you can rent one and deal with all of the set up yourself OR, I’ll bring a PA, microphone and stand and take that portion of your event planning off your hands.
Live comedy is an experience and to fully enjoy it you need to see the comedian as he is doing his show. Body movement and facial expressions are all part of the act so it is best if you have a good amount of light on the comedian. It is best if the comedian is at least two thirds brighter than the audience…still talking about lighting in case you were worried. Stage lights do not work well if they are behind the comedian because then the comic will be in silhouette and you won’t see anything. Likewise, light from above, unless it is coming from Heaven is going to cast shadows on the comedians face and obscure facial expressions. It is best to have lights from the front to illuminate the stage in a large enough area for the comedian to move around in. Don’t have lighting? Not a problem, I have that too. I’ll bring them with me! Just make sure we cover that detail prior to the night of the show.
Line of Sight
In many conference rooms in hotels, pillars obscure the vision of tables placed behind or around them. When setting up your venue, make sure that every seat has a clear line of sight to the stage. If they can’t see the show, I guarantee that they will be disinterested and begin talking among themselves. The closer to the comedian the better. If you have a dance floor between the stage and the tables, seat the people in chairs on the dance floor. Comedy is an intimate experience and the closer people are to the stage the better. If you have pre-set seating make sure that people do not sit shotgun in the room. That’s when two or three seats separate audience members and they are scattered all over the room. Have them sit together, close to the stage and I promise they will enjoy the show so much more. An audience is like a team, a unit that laughs in unison. When an audience doesn’t sit together, it is unlikely that they will laugh together. A chatty room is a distracted room and that makes it difficult for others to enjoy the show. Take for example one of the premier comedy clubs in CA. The Punch Line in San Francisco. Look at how the seating is laid out.
- Seating is close to the stage
- All seating has a clean unobstructed view of the stage
- Service, in this case a bar, in other venues a buffet or coffee set up is in the rear of the audience.
- Exits and restrooms are at the rear of the venue as well preventing distractions, people walking in front of the performer
Though at times unavoidable. It is best if the food is served an hour or so prior to the comedy show. Eating is a social experience and most people would rather chat with others than be forced to eat in silence. Also, people do not laugh with their mouths filled with food. It’s impolite and quite possibly dangerous. Nothing like a choking victim to kill the timing of a good joke. It is best to serve dessert and then introduce your entertainment for the event.
Do not expect the comedian (me) to take the stage and introduce myself to the crowd. Nothing kills the energy of expectation like a comedian unworthy of an intro. If you want the audience engaged and having a great time, you need to have someone who is not afraid to speak on a microphone introduce the comedian. It doesn’t have to be a long introduction, just two or three bullet points and the last thing you say is the comedian’s name. It looks like this:
Out entertainment tonight is a professional comedian
You may have seen him on comedy central,
Or headlining comedy clubs, corporate events nationwide for the past 38 years
Please help me welcome, Stephen B!
That’s all you need, I’ll take it from there. Planning an event and can use some help with comedy? Give me a call at 916-548-5788 or fill out the form right here on my website and I’ll contact you.
I look forward to making your next event a memorable one.
- Stephen B