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A good stand-up, you lead the audience. You don’t kowtow to the audience. Sometimes the audience is wrong. I always think the audience is wrong.

Zach Galifianakis 

Kyle Kinane actually replied to the letter I wrote him. Awesome, awesome dude.

Kyle Kinane actually replied to the letter I wrote him. Awesome, awesome dude.

Ray Harrington’s Comedian Rulebook Part 2

Ray Harrington is a comic from Maine who recently posted a whole list of rules comedians should follow on a stand up comedy group on Facebook. Here’s the first ten rules. Now here’s 11-23:

11. Slaying a heckler is fun, but learning that it’s something to RARELY do is vital. There are more and more youtube clips of someone shitting on a ‘heckler’ when it never had to happen. A heckler is often times just having a great time and doesn’t understand it’s not exactly interactive. Having a reputation of destroying a heckler is another way of saying you have a reputation for shitting on a paying audience member.

‎12. When you show up to a new club, be humble. So many comics walk in like they own the joint and a booker has already decided they won’t be asked back before they even hit the stage.

13. Being ‘Banned’ from a club is another way of saying that you can’t read a room or a venue.

14. Dirty doesn’t equal funny. But being clean doesn’t mean being better. Material should be funny, no matter the subject matter.

‎15. Driving 7 hours to an unpaid showcase is hard work, but it isn’t something to bitch about. If it serves you well, do it. It’s all about what you’re willing to do for comedy and you won’t do it, there are a hundred less funny comics that will do it in a heartbeat.

‎16. That said, don’t let yourself be used… too much.

 17. Getting paid shouldn’t be the goal.

18. Working for free will fuck over more comics in the long run. Unless it’s a valid reason to do a free show, your work is valuable.

‎19. NEVER undercut another comic. If you want to book a room, do a show, etc. Do it. But if another comic has that venue or area, it’s not yours to do for half the money.

‎20. Comedy is valued by the market. Shows pay a going rate that’s comparative. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less. But the more shows that happen for less money means the market is driven down.

‎21. Never be afraid to go for something you’re not sure you’re ready for. But know when something is above your station. You may not be ready now, but you will be eventually. What’s this mean? If you’re doing 15 of A material, don’t be afraid to take an offer of 20. DON’T take a feature spot if deep down, you know you can’t bring A material to fill the time.

22. KNOW HOW MUCH TIME YOU CAN DO. That doesn’t mean, “I can do 45 minutes” when that’s all of your jokes and slowed down. It means you have at least an hour of A material.

23. How much time can you do? Simple formula: A material time - 1/3. If you have 45 of A material, you can comfortably do 30.

Ray Harrington’s Comedian Rulebook Part 1

Ray Harrington is a comic from Maine who recently posted a whole list of rules comedians should follow on a stand up comedy group on Facebook. Here’s the first ten rules. I’ll post the rest later (He’s still writing rules and adding to the list.)

This group has a lot of different level comics in it so maybe a thread on The Business can be helpful to some. Things that we’ve seen that hurt the business, things that comics should try to avoid or aim for, things that we’ve learned along the way about The Business:
1. Never do an open mic on Friday or Saturday. Those days are for paid shows. Free will hurt the business and you down the road.

2. The more comics on a show, the more tired the audience will be no matter how short the sets are. People have to reboot for every comic. The 3 comic night has been tried and true for decades for a reason.

3. Being professional at all times is KEY to being booked. Getting a gig is hard, getting a gig AGAIN can be harder if you aren’t professional.

4. Don’t get an ego. Being good is something to be proud of, but doesn’t mean you’re owed anything.

5. Cliche’ but true: Be good to those around you on the way up, you never know who you’ll run into on the way down.

6. Hosting is important and different than a set. SERVE THE SHOW. ‘Killing’ isn’t your job when you’re hosting. It’s your job to be smooth, professional, and make the show better for the audience and other comics.

7. If you’re talking to comics that are working, pay attention and you can learn a LOT in a short time.


‎8. Know that bookers have a million other people asking the same questions you are. Be patient and PROFESSIONAL when you talk to bookers.

9. If you book a show, that’s what you are doing that night. Never ditch a booking for something that comes along after. It may be better, more money, or more important, but you agreed to perform. If you’re professional about your bookings, it will make you look better and a reliable comic is often booked over another comic that may be ‘better’ than them.


10. When a set goes poorly, sometimes it’s the crowd. Most of the time though, it’s the comic. Don’t walk off stage and say, “Bad crowd” if someone else can make it work. Look at what worked and didn’t. You’ll learn something every time. But learn to recognize when it WAS just a bad crowd.