So, how do you go about finding a comedian, let alone the right corporate comedian?
First off, Google is your friend.
Start by Googling “Stand-up comedian in…” and fill in your state at the end.
Stand-up comedian in Iowa, stand-up comedian in Wisconsin, stand-up comedian in Nebraska… You get the point, even thought I could go on and on.
(Forty-seven more times, if you’re keeping track.)
Anyway, it’s really that easy. When you Google “Stand-up comedian in…” your state, what pops up are sites that compile comedians by location. This makes it easy for you to find someone regional, and therefore reasonably priced.
When you hire someone from across the country, you may end up paying hefty travel and hotel costs, which can add up fast.
Take the results with a grain of salt; especially the ones at the top marked ‘AD’.
When you see the list of comedians, you might see “Voted Best Comic…” next to a few names.
This is a great sales pitch, but remember, you’re not looking at search results. You’re looking at an ADVERTISEMENT, using a headline the comedian wrote themselves.
If you wander into a clearinghouse site, like GigSalad or many others like them, they charge comedians to be at the top of search results in the same way Google sells ads to be at the top of theirs.
A comedian buying advertisement isn’t a bad thing by any means, but it does mean it’s time for you to do a small amount of research.
Pick a few of the comedians near you, and visit their respective websites.
Your eye will tell you right away whether or not the webpage is professional, or amateur. A first impression is important, and if theirs is poor, that tells you a lot.
Look for a section for “Corporate Events” or “Private Events”
If they don’t have one, that’s a red flag. You’re looking for someone who has the skills and the résumé to go with it. If a comedian isn’t advertising themselves in a professional manner, they likely don’t have corporate event experience, and that’s taking a risk. They may not be as professional on stage in front of your audience.
Next, check out their testimonials and reviews on their site.
Do they have a list of corporate clients who have said nice things about them?
Finally, look for a video of an example corporate comedy set.
Can’t find one? Another red flag.
If they have one, watch it, start to finish. Is the audience laughing? Is the content rated appropriately for what you want? You’d be surprised how often comedians post videos filled with silent audiences.
Hopefully, you’ll quickly find one that strikes your fancy.
Lastly, contact the performer to inquire
Any comic worth their salt will have a contact form or clearly posted phone/email on their website. Reach out!
- Date and time of your event
- The length of show you want
- What equipment they require (some comedians can provide their own sound, others will rely on you or the venue)
- If they require lodging (if yes, ask them to incorporate lodging into their quote so you’re not also acting as a travel agent)
- What price they would quote to perform at your event
If you come to an agreement, a professional performer will have a contract template available. The contract should address, at a minimum, cancellation (what happens if they cancel a few days or hours beforehand? Will they provide an alternate?), and should specify the the equipment you agreed to provide, if any. You may be required to pay a retainer, so keep that in mind.
From there? Sit back, relax, and wait for your fun-filled evening. When said evening arrives? Sit back and laugh.
You’ve earned it.