New York City’s top comedy club owner, Al Martin, shares the secret to running a great spot for comics. Martin talks about his comedy beginnings, his love of helping other comedians develop, and how he created many of the popular formats used to give up and coming comedians stage time. Al Martin and host Matt Bailey also discuss the kinds of things a club booker looks for, as well as Al’s favorite kind of comedy. Plus, where exactly is the line the between being inspired by a comedian and lifting their material? It can be a tricky line to walk. All that and more with comedy impresario Al Martin!
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HOW TO GET STAGE TIME AS A NEW COMIC –
- OPEN MICS – a bunch of comics work on material off hours at the clubs. If you can get a laugh at these, you may be ready for prime time. This is more class room than performance.
- BRINGER SHOWS – Bring a few guests and get some stage time. 10 comics can fill a room, giving the comics a real audience to perform. Many bringers are just ways for mediocre comics to pay the bills. However, producing and performing bringers gives comics real comedy show experience. And many “Bringers” are legit industry audition shows. Don’t waste your friends on too many bringers. Save them for the big shows.
- BARKER SHOWS – Instead of filling room with friends, comics get strangers in off the street. If you are in any big city there are folks looking for stuff to do.
FYI – Barker Shows in 2016 and beyond – When I first started I barked in a crowd better than most. I started producing my own shows because “why make money for others if I am that good” but then I got older. BUT THEN Social Media… Use Social Media as a Marketing Tool and save yourself MANY nights in the cold begging in an audience.
- SELF- PRODUCED SHOWS – Get yourself a 2-hour block at a club. Book your own comics. Get an audience. Make some cash and give yourself some stage time. You can produce an Open Mic, Bring, Barker, or even a Pro Show. Many comics will shell out some $$ for a headliner to help sell tickets and give them selves a chance to work with great talent.
- COMEDY TEAM – Make friends. Get a team of comics together and co-produce shows. Take turns MCing each week. Bark in an audience together for fill room with friends.
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