Advice for comics

Newer comics often ask me for advice and how to get gigs. Also, since I’ve gigged out across the big pond in Canada before, I often have Canadian comedian friends hopping across in our direction to do gigs in the UK. So here is what you need to know to get you started.BOOK GIGS IN ADVANCEIt’s advisable to book gigs well in advance, preferably six months to one year. Get a piece of paper and a pen, and plan your gig list in advance. Put your business head on for this, you need to be organised.GIGS TO CONTACTHere is a list of open mic clubs to email or call. Some gigs only deal with phone calls, so if you’re overseas, you’ll have to make the most out of an international phone call or Skype.Laughing Horse Comedy Clubwww.laughinghorse.co.ukThis is where I started off, the Laughing Horse run open mic rooms in almost any available space you can put a mic in. There’s a number of these clubs in London and some outside of the big city too.Comedy Cafe (New Act Night)www.comedycafe.co.ukThe Comedy Cafe is a great club and every Wednesday they have a New Act Night, where the winning act is given a paid 10min spot the following week as a way to move up the roster.Comedy Store (Gong Show)www.thecomedystore.co.uk0207 930 2949You MUST CALL during the week day to book yourself into the Gong Show, which is held on the last Monday of every month. If you do well, you may be offered an open spot.Soho Comedy Clubwww.sohocomedy.comSoho Comedy Club’s open mic and new material night is Mondays. The Thurs/Fri/Sat shows don’t have open mic spots. The Mondays though you don’t even really need to book that far in advance for. In general the spots are allocated first come first served on the door on the night but if you’re coming a long way or hoping to double up you might want to get in touch the promoter first via their site.Lion’s Den Comedy Clubwww.lionsdencomedy.co.ukLovely club for new comics to start in.Downstairs at The King’s Headwww.downstairsatthekingshead.co.uk0192 082 3265You MUST CALL to book an open spot but ONLY between 9am – 11am (Mon-Fri). Once you book it, do NOT be late for this gig! If you do well, you’ll be booked again and when appropriate offered a spot on the weekend gigs. This is a great gig that has a regular and very comedy-savvy audience.Mirth Controlwww.mirth-control.org.ukSign up to the diary room and reply to the weekly email that goes around.Also, here is another blog with a list of many more gigs-http://davidsharpecomic.wordpress.com/london-open-mic-gigs-list/COMEDY COMPETITIONSEnter all the comedy competitions you can BUT treat them as gigs, do NOT focus on winning. There is much more than just getting the biggest laughs on the night that decides who goes through in any competition. Just do your best, you’ll get seen and you’ll build your profile.EDINBURGH FESTIVALGo and do it, you’ll learn loads, it’s like an intensive training ground for comics. It takes some investment of time and money to make it worthwhile but a great way to do it in case you don’t have a fortune is to go with the Laughing Horse Free Festival, which is what I did for three years in a row –www.laughinghorsecomedy.co.uk/freefestival/index.htmGENERAL TIPSI could go on forever here, but I’ll keep it concise, just use your common sense and remember that stand-up comedy is a business like any other and so conduct yourself professionally.* Keep your emails CONCISE. A link of your act on YouTube preceded by a polite introduction is enough. Bookers are busy people, make it easy for them. If you don’t get an answer, do NOT repeatedly email and call. Give it some time, build your profile on the circuit some more.* Just gig, seriously, just get out there and gig, that is all.* Be resourceful! Any questions that you have that can be answered by a simple Google search is the best way to find what you need and get on with it.* Be nice, seriously, just be nice.* Ultimately, take your time in your ambition to become a stand-up comic, it’s not a race, it’s a marathon. Take your time, learn from your mistakes, pay your dues, gig as much as humanly possible. Don’t concern yourself with anyone else’s progress other than your own, this is your journey and it’ll take as long as it takes, just make sure you’re enjoying it.I hope this helps, good luck and remember –BUILD IT, AND THEY WILL COME.

2 Responses

  1. Cruella says:

    You should probably say as a note that Soho Comedy Club's open mic and new material night is Mondays. The Thurs/Fri/Sat shows don't have open mic spots. The Mondays though you don't even really need to book that far in advance for. In general the spots are allocated first come first served on the door on the night but if you're coming a long way or hoping to double up you might want to get in touch (with David Mulholland) and ask him to save you a space.

  2. Imran Yusuf says:

    Thanks Kate, updated 🙂

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