So you want to know how you can hire a comedian? Funny you should ask. We just so happen to have a lot of experience in this area and are happy to help.
First off, can we just commend you for your great idea? Hiring comedians – whether it be for private events, a corporate setting, or even a college party – is one of the best ways to ensure a good time will be had by all.
Professional comedians have honed their craft and have the ability to get audiences involved. They provide interactive entertainment, and make people laugh because the bottom line is…they’re funny! And who doesn’t need a little levity right now?
If you are looking to hire a comedian for your next event, there are a few things to think about before booking. You should ask yourself the basic questions like when, why, who, and how much. Do you already have a date and time set? What is your goal?
Is it to entertain prospective business partners or pump up the energy at an agency-wide party? Who will be in the audience? It’s also important to have a price range with which you are comfortable, so the booking agency can work within your budget and find a comedian that fits the bill.
Before you book any comedians for hire for your event, you can follow some of the simple steps below. We’ll go a little more in-depth with some of the aforementioned questions so you can get a comedian who kills it at the event, and makes you look like a genius for arranging it all.
See Related: How to Become a Standup Comedian
Don’t Wait to Set the Date
You may already have a sense of when your next event will be, or your schedule may be flexible. The first piece of information you’ll need when booking a comedian is the exact date when the event will be.
If you’re in charge of student activities and need to hire a comedian at a college campus, you’ll have to check availability of the different halls and make sure the space is sufficient for the expected number of attendees. If you are in charge of an annual event for a business or non-profit, you will also need to see which venues, caterers, and other service providers are available.
Some of your preferred venues might get booked up early on, so make sure you take care of finding a place before you contact the talent. Luckily, most agencies that coordinate comedians for hire will have a solid list of comics with openings in their schedules and be able to choose one that’s just the right fit for your event.
Unless you’re seeking out celebrity comedians whose schedules may be busier, it’s quite likely you’ll be able to get a high-caliber comedian on the date you’ve selected. In other words, as long as you don’t absolutely need Jim Gaffigan for your gala, you will be able to choose a comedian who can take your party to the next level and be the source of big smiles and belly laughs.
What will the Comedian’s Role be?
Are you looking to hire a live or virtual emcee for a two-hour event, or do you just need them for a 30-minute set? The comedian will need to know the duration of their part of the show. The length of the performance will affect the price. Of course, a comedy show is more than the minutes spent on stage.
It is a culmination of years of work, practice, and performing. The entertainment industry is always more than meets the eye, and it’s important to understand that comedians work hard to make it look easy.
Also, it won’t be shocking to hear that you’ll have to shell out a little more moolah for celebrity comedians. If you’re doing a big private event and wish to impress the audience, then it could be well worth the expense. On the other hand, you can still get a great show with a lesser-known comedian who may still have many years of experience under their belt and knows how to work a crowd.
Regardless of the celebrity status of the comedian, comedians can make your event much more memorable. They’ll not only deliver their comedy set, but also provide some cache. Great performers put everyone in a better mood – which is an excellent bonus if you happen to be hosting a fundraiser.
Many comedians also have hosting skills and can help with various portions of the event. Is there an auction or raffle? Comedians acting as emcees can take care of this as well.
There’s really no end to what you can request when it comes to comedy shows. Actually, let me take that right back. While you can ask for anything, you can’t always get what you want. If you’re looking for acrobats or people to sing and dance, then you might need to mention that ahead of the event.
You don’t want to spring last-minute random requests on comedians. It’s good to provide them with as much information as possible prior to the show so they can tailor some of their bits to best fit the audience. Of course, there is a certain amount of off-the-cuff crowd work, but just remember you’re hiring a comedian and not a contortionist.
I will say that certain companies that book comedians also book other acts like jugglers or singers. Here at Clean Comedians®, we could single-handedly host a variety show all by ourselves. So if you are interested in something a little out of the ordinary, we’re here to help.
We can connect you not only with comedians, but also magicians, ventriloquists, dueling pianists, and a plethora of other entertainers. And yes, we do know what a plethora means.
Here’s one hilarious and clever comedian we’ve booked a bunch of times:
Know Your Audience
Even if you’re hoping to hire a comedian for a college event and you assume there are no holds barred, other administrators might be of a different mind. Students can be harsh critics, so be sure to understand who will be making the call as far as what is deemed appropriate.
Certain comedians are known to cause a stir or be controversial, and others are happy to submit their comedy set ahead of the event. Whatever style of comedy you prefer for your next event, discuss it with all those involved before you hire a comedian.
Comedians that perform corporate events are used to keeping it clean, but you should be sure to reiterate any guidelines you think are important. You can even choose to offer up the names of some of your more extroverted colleagues to get called upon by the comedian. It’s not required, of course, but it can help comedians be aware of who might be more likely to be light-hearted or, in some cases, a total ham.
Many people actually enjoy a little ribbing about their profession. A conference full of realtors can take a joke about outrageous housing prices or painting over imperfections. Medical doctors that specialize in certain anatomical areas have surely heard it all.
And I’m guessing that flight attendants got a good laugh from that old Saturday Night Live Sketch with Helen Hunt and David Spade where they send the passengers off with unnecessary insults and a dismissive “buh-bye.”
However, appreciating a sketch on a TV show is much different than an in-person performance. Insulting the audience is not something clean comics generally do. When you hire a comedian, you should communicate to them what type of business the audience is in, and if certain topics are off-limits.
If they’re a comedian who has done corporate shows before, they’ll have no trouble abiding by your request. Keeping things light, playful, and – let’s not forget – funny, is what it’s all about.
Comedy shows that are tailored to business people, corporate events, or a private club aren’t necessarily any different from a comedy show you might see at clean comedy clubs. A professional stand-up comedian can hold back and not swear like a sailor.
Clean Comedians® can get a laugh without making fun of people based on gender, race, or religion. While some of those subjects may enter the picture, the point is that no one needs to insult someone else and call it comedy.
There’s an often-repeated phrase shared amongst comedians that you “don’t punch down.” In other words, you don’t make fun of the already disenfranchised, the powerless, the poor, and so forth. Of course, if comedians themselves are poking fun at their own shortcomings, that’s a different story. Everyone appreciates a little self-deprecation, as it shows self-awareness and humility.
Bonus: Who was the first comedian?
Call on the Experts to Book a Comedian
While you could stand outside comedy clubs, wait for comedians to come out and just get their name, email, phone number, and start stalking them on Instagram, you won’t have any sense of security when it comes to their level of professionalism. A booking agency that is used to working with corporate clients already has a roster of respectable comedians.
An experienced agency has a track record of securing the top talent. They can help you find the right fit and make sure you are connected with a comic who will show up on time and give a great performance.
The funny business is still a business, after all, and you want to make sure your event is a success. Your best bet is working with an agency or individual who knows stand-up comedians and has experience making these connections. You can look up agencies that work with funny, Clean Comedians® in your area.
Sometimes, though, it’s hard to know how these companies work, and if the comics are actually all well-vetted. When in doubt, you can always give us a call with any questions you might have. We can help you get the ball rolling.
We have over three decades of experience. Our team helps clients secure speakers, comedians, and entertainers of all stripes. Clients keep coming back because the performers we work with are not only hilarious humans, but also consummate professionals.
It matters that the talent shows up on time, makes the acquaintance of the host, and has a pleasant demeanor. It’s important for people to be personable both on and off the stage. We hold those with whom we work to the highest standards.
For everyone to enjoy themselves, it’s important that clients aren’t stressed about any of the aforementioned factors. When you’re tense, or concerned that a comedian might show up late or unprepared, you’re hardly in a position to sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. That’s why we cover all the bases and send out only those performers we trust to do a bang-up job.
We strive to support event planners, and have a two-step review process of all the in-person and virtual entertainers that we recommend. We do this to ensure that performers bring their best to the stage, and understand the overarching goal of finding the funny without offending.
As if it needs to be said, the last year or so has been, well, a challenge. It’s like Johnny Carson – or was it Dana Carvey’s impression of Johnny Carson – said, we have all been through some “weird, wild stuff.”
Fortunately, we are connected to such talented comedians and other performers, that they have adapted their acts to the virtual world of entertainment. Though it’s hard to recreate the feeling you get being in a theater full of fans, it’s still a serotonin booster to be on a Zoom call with a hilarious comic who can crack you up. And on the upside, you can get your giggles on, all while wearing your comfy pants.
Adam Christing is a professional comedy magician, virtual MC, and the founder of CleanComedians.com. He is a member of the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and a popular virtual comedian, magician, and virtual speaker for hire.