Breaking down gatekeeper blockades

Hi Dave – No, I’m not a comic. However, I’m a WGA screenwriter with a total focus on comedy screenplays. Can you tell me how to contact comedians’ agents about casting specific roles without running into blockades? I mean the blockades typically set up by the gatekeepers of those agents. Best – HK

Not on my watch!

Hey HK – The bigger the comedians (think celebrity) they represent, the bigger the agency blockade will be. When you make a call without prior personal contact or a great reference, plan some extra time on the phone for holding, transfers and a final request to leave a voice message and “Someone will get back with you.”

Does anyone really know who that “someone” is? I doubt it because they rarely call back without prior contact or reference. And unless you left a voice message with a great pitch (offer) that includes the opportunity for a lot of potential $$$’s (yeah, I’m jaded) you’ll spend a long time looking at your phone waiting for that return call.

Note: HK and I traded a couple emails about this, and I remembered a past FAQ And Answer article about dealing with gatekeepers (the person who answers phone calls and forms a human blockade to keep you from speaking directly to an agent or celebrity). Except the suggestions in that article were different since it concerned comedians getting past gatekeepers to book paying gigs.

This week’s question is about contacting comedians and agents that represent them and would be interested in a screenplay.

But the theory is the same. You must be SEEN and involved in the SCENE.


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I know through experience from working at the LA and NYC Improv clubs (talent coordinator) that a lot of valuable entertainment industry contacts are made by networking. It’s being part of the scene. Not only did I get to work with many great comedians, but I also met a lot of agents, managers, producers, and writers just by being in the clubs during shows. They’d come in to watch the comics, and then socialize (network) in the restaurant or bar areas after the show. Sometimes they were there because the comedians they already represented were performing, or they were looking for new talent.

And believe me, a good agent or manager is always on the lookout for new talent. Some may claim to have a full roster and not accepting new clients, but if a performer simply blows them away and the agent or manager sees a good career opportunity (for both), it’s their job to pursue it. That’s good business sense.

Now, to get back to today’s specific question…

Not on my watch either!

I’ve also seen this with producers and writers looking to interest comedians and agents in a particular project. For instance, when I worked in LA I remember getting a LOT of calls from television and film people looking for comics that fit a specific “type.” The casting call could be for male or female, tall or small, thick or thin – or for whatever the TV or film part called for. They wanted to know if any comedians fitting the desired “type” would be on the show that night or if we could put together a live showcase (audition) during a future show.

That’s why you can sometimes go to a comedy club in LA or NYC and see several comedians in a row who are similar in type and only do a few minutes (3-5 minutes is norm) of material. They’re showcasing (auditioning) for someone in the audience.

After the showcase you can usually find everyone – comics, agents, managers, writers, producers, and other showbiz people – networking in the club’s restaurant or bar. Business cards are exchanged, and meetings are scheduled for agents and comedians who are right for the project.

The people selected for these meetings and potential projects should have no problem getting past any gatekeepers. They’ve made a personal contact.

My point is that the comedians were SEEN because they’ve worked hard at becoming part of the SCENE. They were known by the club bookers as someone who fits what the writer, producer or casting person is looking for. That’s why the comics were called in for the showcase. It’s rare (in fact I’ve never seen it happen) that a booker will schedule a comedian he’s never seen perform and knows nothing about to be part of an important industry showcase.

It’s the same when you’re looking to hire talent or get them interested in a project such as a screenplay.

Quit a few newcomers (amateurs) with stars in their eyes will jump at a chance to “be in a movie!” But the comedians who’ve been around for a while will not be so naïve. They understand it’s a business (at least they should). They might listen to a pitch if it’s from a reliable or known source (friends in the biz are always throwing ideas at each other) but if they’re really interested and have decent credits, they’ll probably have an agent you’ll end up pitching to before any deals are made.


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So basically, in your case, I’d forget about battling the gatekeepers by cold calling and scope out the comedians in person who you think would right for your screenplay. Become a part of the SCENE by going to the clubs and checking out their live performances. You might even discover a comic you’ve never heard of and further discover he or she would be perfect for your film. Don’t be too aggressive (as a talent booker, that’s what turned me off the most). But take an opportunity to network after the show. Be professional and don’t come off like a stalker (you know what I mean) when you tell the comic about your project.

If the comedian is interested, they can get you past any agency gatekeeper with one phone call requesting his agent talk with you. If you meet the agent and he thinks the project is right for his comedian client, he’ll have his gatekeeper set up a meeting.

Sound too simple? It’s not and I shouldn’t make it sound that way because there are a LOT of people in the entertainment industry who practice the art of schmoozing. I assume that’s where the phrase, “Let’s do lunch,” was developed. But remember one thing:

No one would be doing it (doing lunch) if it didn’t work.

If you’re already a known name with big credits, gatekeepers are no problem – you’ll get through. For everyone else (assuming talent and experience are already a “given”) it’s all about networking and contacts. Be part of the SCENE and there’s always a chance you’ll not only be SEEN but also HEARD.

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Publishing your book – NYC agent or do-it-yourself?

Hi Dave – Which way do you lean when it comes to publishing a book? Should I get a NYC agent to find a publisher, or self-publish? My blog is essentially a manuscript in progress, which has already been reviewed and rejected by several agents, (via agentquery.com). One actually snail-mailed me an upbeat, albeit mixed personalized response saying it’s great material but not his style – yet worth publishing. As George Carlin once said: “A definite no yeah.” Thanks for your time! – C.B.

Typing Away!

Hey C.B. – Where do I lean when it comes to publishing a book? If you had asked me that question when my first book came out (NYC publisher) you would’ve gotten an ear full of advice NOT to self-publish. But today I’m not leaning one way or the other. I’ve done both and that puts me right in the middle.

There are advantages and disadvantages, but there’s no reason why you can’t do both.

This is a topic that comes up lot with both speakers and comedians. These are creative people and one common talent needed to be successful in either or both careers are writing. And one thing I’ll say right now is that I’m sure a lot of us believe in the old saying:

Everyone feels they have at least one book in him / her.

It’s one thing to get it written and another getting it published and read (make money from it). The entire process is… well, a book. So right now, I’ll just direct my answer to your question:

A NYC agent or self-publish?


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First of all, let’s clarify. A NYC agent doesn’t guarantee anything. You could have a literary agent in Los Angeles, London, Tokyo or anywhere else. It really doesn’t matter because almost everything they do today is online – just like this newsletter. There are also book fairs that agents attend where scheduled personal schmoozing with publishers from around the world takes place, so location is not important.

And if anyone thinks I’m wrong about that, here’s something to ponder…

Shoppers Delight!

My literary agent is based in Atlanta, and she scored two book deals for me with NYC publishers. Before that, I lived in Manhattan for 13 years and ran the most famous comedy club in the universe. I had contacts in television, films, and nightclubs – but not publishing. As an unpublished wannabe author, I would’ve never gotten past the gatekeepers (receptionists) in either publishing house.

But my agent, who is hundreds of miles away, put together the submissions; made the calls (schmoozed) to publishers she’s connected with in the biz (networking), and got the NYC deals.

But to start this process as a first-time author you need to have the product, which is a written book. If you already have a track record or reputation as a published writer or celebrity, an agent could work with you off an idea or outline.

Put it this way. If Kim Kardashian picked up a phone and called her agent with a lame book idea, she’d have a publishing deal. You or me? We’d better be prepared to submit a completed manuscript if requested.

After that, how successful a literary agent is does not matter where he or she is located or whether you truly deserve a book deal or not. It depends mostly on his or her contacts – meaning the ability they have in getting your creative work into the right hands.

It’s who they know.

In my view, having a literary agent score you a deal with a real publishing company is a lot more desirable than self-publishing. It’s not easy and some will say it’s pretty much impossible anymore for an unknown. But it can happen (I’m proof). And it’s great for the ego knowing real professionals running real publishing companies believe in your work enough to invest real time and money.

There is also still a stigma about self-publishing. Sorry if I bruised a few egos with that statement, but it’s true. Ask an author, “Who published your book?” They’ll sound a lot more confident and legit when they name a known publishing house rather than answering, “I did…”

But now to deviate from the topic for the speakers and comedians these articles are written for…

Who cares about who your publisher is when having a book can increase your income?

To make a living from being a comedian or speaker you must start thinking like comedians and speakers who know how to make money. They sell books, DVDs, CDs, T-shirts and anything else that’s not nailed down in their dressing room after their shows.

Did I spell that correctly?

It’s called BOR (Back of the Room) sales and there’s a lot of money to be made from it. And for the self-publisher THAT’s how you make it worthwhile.

Having a real publisher release and distribute your book is prestigious and very cool. Plus, they’ll pay you – up front. A good publisher will forward the author a $$ advance to finish the book. This comes out of future royalties, but it’s money in your pocket NOW.

Self-publishing will set you back $$’s to see your book in print. I’ve seen the costs go down the past few years and I’m a big fan of Kindle Direct Publishing (for both paperback and eBooks) on Amazon.com. But you’ll still need to make an investment to have printed books available for BOR sales.

It’s like stocking a retail store. You buy the merchandise from a distributor and sell it.

And yeah, I’m quite aware of the low-cost eBook market. All my books are also available in that format. But you can’t sell autographed eBooks in the BOR following speaking or comedy gigs. You can only hope your audience will still be excited enough about your book to go online later and buy it at a fraction of the price they would pay for a printed book.

If you’re already a working speaker or comedian, BOR products usually sell after a good performance. The audience either wants more information or a souvenir. A book about your topic – with your signature – gives them both.

So, here’s today’s answer:

Yes – of course you want someone else to publish your book and working with a NYC agent can help big-time. But that process can take years and no guarantee it’s going to happen. In fact, it relates well with another old showbiz saying – most aspiring authors are going to hear “no” more than “yes.”

Can your ego stand it?

Self-publishing is immediate. It’s possible to open a box of books in the morning, have an afternoon speaking or comedy gig in the evening – and spend your night counting $$’s from BOR sales. So even if you’re holding out for a real publishing deal, you should still explore self-publishing options.

But you should consider the dollar investment to self-publish.

If you think you’ll shop around for a way too cheap it’s too good to be true printing company, remember one thing. You get what you pay for in the publishing biz. Show up with a cheap looking book and your loving audience (potential buyers) will smile, shake your hand, tell you how great you are – and move on to the next speaker or comedian to buy their souvenir.


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Either way – published or self-published – if you have a book in you, you need to get it out. I’ll recommend going for a literary agent regardless of where they’re located to find a publisher who normally wouldn’t consider a book submission unless it came from an agent.

How do you do that?

The same way you find event planners and talent bookers. Go online and look around. Start by doing a Google search for Literary Agents – that will keep you busy for a while. Once you find them, research their guidelines for book submissions. The correct how-to info is always on the agency website.

But at the same time – and this is only if you’re already a working speaker or comedian – consider making an investment in printing costs and start making $$’s with BOR sales.

Key phrase from above statement: already a working speaker or comedian.

If you’re not getting out in front of an audience to promote your book, you’ll be competing with thousands of other unknown authors to get sales. Yeah, I know there are success stories from authors only promoting online. But I also know horror stories of self-published authors with stacks of books sitting in their basements because no one ever knew about them, and no bookstores would order or sell them without a legit publisher and distributor.

Personal appearances can result in BOR sales.

That’s why every movie star on the planet hits the television talk show circuit when their new movie is coming out. It’s called promotions and marketing. If you put in the work to write a book and get published or self-published, you need to make potential customers know about it. And in the creative businesses of speaking and comedy, your best customers are your audiences after a great show.

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Clean or Dirty? Know your audience

Hi Dave – I have one question. As a new comedian does my material have to be clean? – J.N.

What did you say?

Hey J.N. – Your question will sound familiar to more than a few readers because it comes up quite often. But you know what? New comedians ask because it’s important. And there is no right or wrong answer. Comedy is both a creative art and a business, but to be successful in this business as a creative artist there is one first goal:

Be funny.

How you get there is totally up to you. As one very famous comedian told me (and it’s in my book How To Be A Working Comic), “If you swear in real life, you’re going to swear on stage.” On the other hand, if these words aren’t already in your vocabulary, don’t add them simply because you think it’ll make you funny. That’s not who you really are, and an audience will pick up on that.

There seems to be a market for everything, so whether to work clean or dirty is a personal decision. But since you brought up the question and I’ve never been known to give short answers, let’s look at your potential choice from another point of view. We’ll call it…

Your audience.


 

 

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The deal is that everyone must start at the beginning. Since you specifically said, “new comedian,” that’s what we’ll focus on. Public speakers (corporate, college, professional organizations, etc.) already know they must work clean. If they don’t, then they’re not speaking much – if at all.

Along with learning how to write and perform, you’ll also experience different audiences, different venues, and different types of shows. For instance, many comedians love late night, beer-soaked crowds in loud comedy clubs. Others would rather perform for more sophisticated (and I’m using that term loosely) audiences at corporate events.

Have you thought about that? I’m guessing it’s still too early in your career to even consider when your first step should be just getting experience on stage. But eventually it will become both a creative and business decision because different markets have different audiences and hire different types of entertainment.

What markets do you want to play?

These are questions every entertainer (not just comedians and humorous speakers) must consider. As a creative artist with a unique way of expressing yourself, who is your audience? And as a businessperson (I’m talking about you), how can you build an audience to support your creative endeavors?

When you’re just starting out it could be any demographic you can think of, from late night open mics to charity fundraisers. And if you’re serious about this biz you need to understand the value of stage experience. You won’t become a working comic just sitting in your living room doing bits in front of your mirror or for the family dog. You must get in front of an audience and shape your material and delivery based on their response.

If they laugh it works. If they don’t, then you need to make some changes. An audience will tell you, which is why you want to get on stage as often as possible.

So… who is your audience?

Would they want clean or “adult” material? That will help determine what’s best for you.

No bad words here!

I’ve worked with comedians who are Born Again Christians and I’ve worked with the most X-rated acts you’ve ever heard. It doesn’t bother me either way. I’m a coach and I’ll coach performers in whatever direction they want to go. And if you already know what direction that is, then find places to perform with audiences that will enjoy your material.

But regardless of what anyone else will tell you, there are also rules in the comedy biz. The rules are made by the people that hire comedians for specific audiences.

For instance, you can’t perform X-rated material on network television shows such as The Tonight Show or Jimmy Kimmel Live. You can get away with a lot more than decades ago when Johnny Carson ruled late night, but these shows still have to deal with FCC (Federal Communications Commission) enforced standards and censors.

On cable television and satellite radio, pretty much anything can be said. But it also depends on the show. I doubt The Howard Stern Show and The Disney Channel fight over guests from the same talent pool. But here are a few more questions to think about…

Would you rather appear on either The Howard Stern Show or The Disney Channel or someplace in-between? Who will appreciate (laugh at) your type of humor and material? What venues and markets do you eventually want to play?

It all comes down to knowing your audience.

You can work X-rated if you want, but just be smart enough not to go on stage with your X-rated material if the audience is filled with grandparents taking their grandkids out for a fun(ny) night of live entertainment. On the flip side, don’t expect to do your best Disney material in a late-night dive bar in front of a beer fueled crowd upset that the bartender turned off the televised cage match wrestling extravaganza for your comedy show.

Get the picture?


 

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A lot of experienced comedians can play to both audiences. Why? Because they have the experience AND material that can be customized (cleaned up or dirtied down) depending on the audience. In other words, their punch lines don’t get laughs simply because they contain the F-Bomb or other words that will get them banned by the FCC from network television. They can go either way because the material is just as funny with or without them.

A great example of this are comics that work on cruise ships.

These comics need two different sets: family and adult. The family sets are performed during the before and after dinner shows. These are two separate shows since passengers are assigned one of two dinner times. One group is entertained earlier in a large theater while the other group eats – and then they change places. As it says, these shows are for families. Later that night the same comics will do adult shows for (as it says) the adults in one of the lounges or bars.

These comics go from G-rated to X-rated within a couple hours.

Talking extremes

Keep in mind I’m not asking anyone to change who they are on stage if it goes against who they want to be on stage. Yes, this is a business, but it’s also a creative business and a way to express your creativity. If your niche is X-rated, go for it. It’s the same with clean comedians. Just don’t go for it in front of the wrong audience. It’s common sense when you think about it.

So, to finally answer your question as a “new comedian,” I would suggest you work on writing funny material. And I’ll repeat: funny material. I’m talking about material that will stand up on its own and will be just as funny to an audience with or without a few gratuitous F-bombs and other choice words or expressions.

Practice and develop your talent as a writer. How would you deliver your set during an afternoon business club luncheon as opposed to at a late-night dive bar? Better still – ask yourself which venue you prefer.

Wait a minute! I almost forgot to mention something…

Just to make your decision interesting, keep in mind the people that hire comics for corporate events, holiday parties, retirements, banquets, etc… are the ones who attend business or social organization meetings. They ALWAYS pay comics, humorous speakers and entertainers waaaaay more than any beer-soaked guy in a dive bar. That’s why corporate events are much more desirable for many working comics than a weekend gig at Billy Joe’s Yucks at the corner of Dive and Bar.

Then again, an uncensored Comedy Central Special or a becoming a favorite guest on The Howard Stern Show can take almost any comic’s career to a new level. But to get there, the comics had to be funny. Working clean wasn’t a rule they needed to follow.

So…? Is it better to work clean or dirty as a new comedian? You need to make that decision – and one of the best ways to find an answer is to know your audience.

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Being influenced is different than copying

Hey Dave – I’ve been working on material and continue to search for my comedy voice. Although I want to do some improvising, I want a good amount of material to work off of. Someone said I have a somewhat eccentric and iconoclastic persona and should take advantage of that. Therefore, I’ve thought about using Prof. Irwin Corey and Steven Wright as influences and been writing material similar to theirs, especially since I like it. However, I’m afraid I’m not using them as an influence but just copying them. Is there a thin line between the 2 or just between fishing and standing there doing nothing? – JK

Hey JK – I was lucky to have worked with the late great Prof. Irwin Corey at the NYC Improv and interviewed Steven Wright for a magazine article. I consider both extremely smart and extremely funny. I also know that if I even tried to write like either one, I would be lost and confused. In fact, my brain hurts just thinking about it. But as usual I have a few thoughts about the topic, so instead of standing here doing nothing let’s go fishing for an answer…

Draw a wide line

Yes – there is a line between being influenced and copying. Ideally it should be a wide one.

As Prof. Corey would have said, “Let me explain…”

I often compare comedy to music. I’ve done this frequently in my workshops, books, and in more than a few previous FAQ articles. Basically, you can’t reinvent the wheel. And when it comes to music, someone somewhere had to hum the first tune. In comedy, someone somewhere made someone laugh for the first time. Musicians and comedians have been building on those firsts ever since.

One of my favorite all-time bands is The Rolling Stones. They’ve influenced countless bands for over fifty years and are considered by many to be the greatest rock and roll band in the world. There are many bands that have copied their formula for success, but there is still only one Rolling Stones and their place in music history is written in… well, stone.

But who influenced them? Rock historians can trace the roots of their sound back to Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and many others.

Did they copy? Yeah!

They tried their best by performing a lot of cover songs when they first started out. But it’s not what made them superstars. Mick Jagger found his own voice as a singer and Keith Richards found his voice on the guitar. The duo ended up writing their own material and classic hits based on the type of music they liked and giving it their own spin based on their individual talent and personalities.

Like the Stones, comedians start by emulating what they like.


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Keith Richards is not going to play Bach or Beethoven because he likes Chuck Berry. Based on the way you described your humor in today’s email, I doubt you would consider bringing props on stage like Carrot Top or going redneck like Larry The Cable Guy. You like Prof. Irwin Corey and Steven Wright so yes; they are both are going to influence you as a comedian just like Chuck Berry influenced the Stones as musicians.

But the big difference between being a comedian and being a musician, The Rolling Stones can (and often do) play Chuck Berry songs during their concerts. But comedians can’t go on stage and say, “Here’s one from Steven Wright” and do a few of his best jokes.

That’s copying and comedians can’t do that – period. It is called stealing material. There are some that do – and most of us know who the big-name guilty parties are. There’s a total lack of respect for these thieves from other comics and industry people, and a lot of us wonder how they can sleep at night. Must be the drugs, but that’s another article and reference to The Stones…

Being influenced is not the same as stealing.

Most creative artists, (comedians and musicians to only mention two) do not reinvent the wheel. They can build on what’s already there. Just like in many original Rolling Stones songs you can hear a Chuck Berry riff or Bo Diddley beat in the background; comedians can’t help but be influenced by the type of humor they like.

For example, Carrot Top didn’t invent prop comedy. As little kids many of us can remember holding up two paper plates on the sides of our heads and pretending to be Mickey Mouse. Carrot Top probably did that too, thought it was extremely funny – and built on it.

You as a writer and performer need to do the same, but with your own influences.

I think you understand your style of comedy. It’s like Prof. Irwin and Steven Wright, but when it comes to writing and performing it’s important for you to realize you are also very different. There’s no way you would have the exact same experiences or live in the exact same environment (city, neighborhood, families, education, jobs, etc.). You have a different life, different personality, different relationships, and different conversations.

You also have your own personal thoughts about all these experiences.

That’s what you need to put into your writing and performances – your spin. Don’t think about what Prof. Irwin Corey or Steven Wright would say. But respect that you admire what they do, are influenced to perform comedy in the same style, and then say it in your own words. Basically, they are intelligent writers, and your writing should also have some intelligence to it.

I remember two comedians I worked with in LA. Sorry, I won’t name-drop this time, but one is now an international movie star and the other is an all-time favorite television character. They both admitted to being HUGE fans of Jerry Lewis. They loved every movie and considered him to be the HUGE influence that got them both into the comedy biz.

But never in a million years would you see either of them on stage yelling out Lewis’ famous line, “HEY LAAYYYDEEE!” That would be stealing. But I’ve seen both make wild faces and pretend to slip and fall during their stand-up comedy sets like what Lewis did in his classic films while talking about their own personal experiences and thoughts.

That’s being influenced. And to take it a step further, Charlie Chaplin and Harpo Marx were making faces and doing pratfalls long before Lewis.

The idea is to use your own mannerisms and personality to deliver your material to an audience. You are not going to hold two paper plates to your head and hope people laugh. You’ll want to dig deeper and put some thought into why something is funny from your personal point of view and then convey that to an audience.

Everyone is influenced by someone or something. It’s human nature. Again, none of us can invent the wheel because it’s been done – and car companies are still building on it. The same can be said about comedians when it comes to writing and performing comedy material.

But understand what makes you unique from everyone else (we all are) and explore topics that interest you based on your style of humor. Keep writing and performing. Eventually you’ll find your own comedy voice. Then in interviews you’ll be asked who influenced you – and you can tell them. I’ve interviewed comedians for my books, magazine articles and newspaper columns and believe me; every comedian has someone who inspired them. What made them successful was when they realized they couldn’t copy but could use that influence to build on.

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Best revenge: laughs and bookings

Hi Dave – I had a great set last night and one of the other comedians that went on after me tore into me. It got really personal, and it really hurt. The people running the show asked me if I wanted to go back on to get revenge, but I did not. Did I handle it the right way? – N.R.

As seen on stage

Hey N.R. – Sounds like the first shot has been fired in a comedy war. But whether you want to get down into the comedy trenches (common comedy term – not mine) with this big mouth depends on a couple factors.

  • Your personality on stage – your comic voice
  • How you want to be seen on and off stage in this biz

Maybe I’m naive, but with a few decades of experience working with comedians, I’ve found this biz to be very supportive. Sure, there are some real pain-in-the-butt jerks, but I don’t know of any career path that’s immune from that syndrome.

Usually it’s based on jealousy and/or a power trip ego. And the funny part of it – and again, I’m talking from experience – I’ve found the more powerful someone is in the biz, the more supportive they are of new talent. This includes comedians, talent bookers and other behind the scenes people.

Hmmm…. I feel a sense of disbelief running through some minds with that last statement.

I think my experiences on this topic would make an interesting and opinionated future FAQ and Answer. I’ll wrap my mind around it for awhile, but in the meantime…

What you must decide is who you are on stage and how you want to be seen by others – your co-workers (other comedians) and the people who can hire you – in this biz.


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Comedians who are good friends can tear each up on stage. No problem. It’s like a sport and can be very funny. We used to do that at the Original Improv in New York City – to the extent of taking a microphone into the men’s room and holding it over a flushing toilet when a friend’s joke bombed.

It was hysterical and the comic on stage could rip into us for the rest of his set. Not a problem – we loved it.

But when it’s mean – as it seems to be in your case – there’s no point in it. This comic’s attack on you is either based on jealousy or a power trip – or both.

This big mouth is trying to make himself look better at your expense. You can handle it two ways – and this is based on what decisions you made when I asked earlier.

Dare mouth off?

If you are the type of comedian that can rip this guy apart verbally – then go for it. I can’t imagine another comedian taking a cheap shot at someone like Bobby Slayton (The Pit Bull of Comedy) and walking away with his ego still intact. Slayton would verbally slaughter him.

The same holds true for Lisa Lampanelli, Dave Attell, Chris Rock… you get the picture, right? These comics can hurl verbal hand grenades at anyone who dares mouth off at them first. I’ve seen them all in action and believe me, you don’t want to be on the wrong side of the insults.

Are you similar? If so – next time, go for the throat.

But if that’s not who you are on stage (or in real life) and you’re not up for verbal comedic warfare, then you did the right thing. Let this blowhard blow his own horn and reputation with other comedians and bookers.

Comics are not going to want to work with someone that has a reputation for taking cheap shots. And bookers want to deal with the least number of problems as possible. Again, from experience as a booker, I’ve known non-headline comedians (important factor because a headliner that brings in paying customers can pretty much do what he or she wants) that are very funny, but a pain to work with.

So, guess what? We don’t work with them when it’s at all possible.

Who needs the extra aggravation when the job itself can be aggravating sometimes? Like with any job, you go for the least resistance. And if someone else is just as funny and easier to work with – that’s who gets the gig.

Good advice

The bottom line is that in an ideal world, all you should be concerned about is becoming a better comedian. If someone with the same career goal doesn’t like you, then you must be doing something right.

Want revenge? The best way to get back at this person is to get more laughs, which will lead to more bookings.

So, use this as an incentive to focus:

If your hard work and dedication pay off, maybe someday this loudmouth will be parking cars at a comedy club and ripping into his new co-workers while you’re inside headlining. Make it happen.

Have a comment or want to sign up for Dave’s free newsletter?

Please use the form below.

Thanks for reading and as always – keep laughing!!

Singing the comedy blues

Hey Dave – I have a confession to make and was wondering if this is normal or not and if so, how to deal with it? Is there such a thing as having the blues in comedy? I guess you could call it the Comedy Blues. I mean, I’ve been told “no” before and had terrible sets in the past. But I strongly feel it has made me the keen comedian I am today. But still, if I may… help! – A.

Got the blues?

Hey A. – Congratulations. You’re a creative artist. And I think you’re riding what comes with the territory – an emotional roller coaster. It can be a series of BIG ups and downs. That’s why a lot of people can’t deal with a career in the arts – whether it’s comedy, speaking, acting, music, writing or too many others to list.

It’s not easy.

If it was don’t you think more people would go for it? You have to admit that standing on stage getting laughs, greeting your fans after a show AND getting paid for it is a pretty cool gig. People in the audience see that and quite a few wish that they could do it but are afraid of rejection or looking foolish. But those who actually take a chance and really go for it don’t seem to have much of a choice. It’s what they have to do.

Okay, this might be more motivational today than instructional, but what the heck. I’m a creative guy so follow me on this one…

Let’s relate this to music. A lot of great songs are about HIGHS while a lot of great songs are about LOWS. Let’s call this latter group blues songs since… well, that’s how you referred to your comedy state of mind AND that’s what they’re called anyway. Basically singin’ the blues is telling listeners nothing worth having or doing seems to come easy. Blues songs are usually about losing love, money or both.

But in our case, let’s relate it to being creative.

To be more specific – going for a career as a comedian (which from this point on will also include humorous speaker). You want soooo bad to have something good happen, but there are often roadblocks. Things never seem to move as fast as you want them to. Yeah, there are big HIGHS to be had – like passing an important audition, getting your first paid gig or winning a contest.


Summer 2021 Comedy Workshop at The Cleveland Improv comedy club

Starts Saturday – August 24 – noon to 4 pm

Includes an evening performance at The Improv

Thursday – August 12 at 7:30 pm

Space is limited and pre-registration is required

For details, reviews, photos, videos and to register please visit

TheComedyBook.com


 

There are also big LOWS when those things don’t happen.

But you know what? Every working comic will tell you from experience that you’ll hear the word “No” a lot more often than you’ll hear “Yes.” Especially in the beginning.

It comes with the creative territory.

Do you want to stick around in this crazy biz long enough to (hopefully) have a career? Then you’ll need to develop a thick skin along the way.

Let’s move from music and relate this to sports. The best relief pitchers in baseball are going to lose a few games in the last inning during a long season. What makes them the best and others basket cases or unemployed is the ability to shake off the loss, forget about it and try to win the next game.

It’s a mindset they need to be born with or develop if they want to be successful in a competitive business (sports).

Being a comedian means you’re a creative artist in a competitive business. You put your creative work and talent on display to be judged by others, such as talent bookers and audiences. Some will like it and others won’t. It’s the nature of the biz. Hopefully your talent and perseverance will eventually lead to more likes than dislikes.

Likes are the highs and dislikes are the lows. The goal is to not get TOO high or TOO low. But it’s not easy when the results are based on your personal creative talent.

I remember working in NYC and hearing aspiring comics just breaking into the open-mic scene or at their first audition at The Improv saying they plan to have a sitcom within a year. I’m not lying about that. I’m serious and heard it said more than a few times. And I could look at the comedians hanging around The NY Improv at that time like Ray Romano, Dave Attell, Brett Butler and Larry David, and knew how hard they had been working at it for years. They didn’t get everything they auditioned for, but they had experienced the highs and the lows. There were no guarantees they would make it when they started, but someone saying “No” wasn’t going to stop them from continuing.

They were talented (duh!) but hadn’t scored television sitcoms or specials within their first year of doing comedy. The new comics at their first open-mics with unrealistic goals were setting themselves up for disappointment – big lows. They needed to be realistic and understand what to expect:

Comedy Blues

Comedy HIGHS and Comedy BLUES. It comes with the territory.

And to finish this thought, I don’t remember anyone getting a sitcom within a year of their first open-mic or Improv audition. But I remember the above mentioned comics coming to The NY Improv every night and paying their dues on stage.

Which leads me to another thought about riding these highs and lows. It’s called paying your dues. Some people drop out of the business because they can’t take the lows. Others have no choice (creative artists) and continue – with thicker skin.

But it’s important to realize that just continuing is no guarantee of success. Talent, business, connections and sometimes just plain luck are also involved.

Basically, there’s no straight answer to your question. It is what it is. Sometimes it’s good to take a break and regroup. Other times you put your head down and continue if that’s what you must do. For many creative artists there’s no choice in the matter.

Finally, here’s another creative thought…

Consider bringing these feelings (blues) into your writing. You don’t have to talk about having “comedy blues” (blues singers go for the sad while comics go for the laughs). This may add more real emotion and real life into your material and delivery. Audiences can always tell when someone is faking it. They can also tell when creative artists are really going for it and sharing something real about themselves.

Most good comics and speakers have that ability. They talk from experience because they’ve paid their dues by riding the creative roller coaster.

Remember – it’s a creative art. And being a creative artist is not always easy.

Have a comment or want to sign up for Dave’s free newsletter?

Please use the form below.

Thanks for reading and as always – keep laughing!!

Build your potential client contact list

Hi Dave – Speaking and comedy both sound like serious business. I’m dead serious about the value of comedy in business — way more serious than folks who don’t know how to laugh. How do I get those humorless folks to seriously see how silly it is to filter out fun from the expressions of ideas? How do I make it pay for me to show them how to make it pay for them? – R.W.

Already laughing!

Hey R.W. – Here’s something I’ve noticed about the humorous speaking biz. It seems the people who need us the most – and you know the ones I’m talking about, the humorless people – are the last ones to search us out. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say the event planners that schedule humorous speakers already understand the value of humor in the business world. And like us, they’re just trying to convince the other people who need it most to use it.

Anyone who knows anything about the value of humor in business and everyday life already know the positives. I won’t get into a long list, but here are a few of my favorites:

  • Less stress
  • Better teamwork
  • Increased productivity and attendance
  • Improved networking

These are topics a lot of serious business speakers and trainers already talk about because their audiences deal with these on a daily basis. It sounds like you’re doing the same with humor as a solution. The way I see it, it doesn’t matter if you’re going to work or cleaning your house. You’re more inclined to actually do it if you can include an element of fun.

Okay, all that is just to show I agree with your point – and I’m sure many readers of this newsletter do also (the humorless people don’t subscribe). It is, as you so eloquently put it, silly to filter out fun from the expression of ideas. But as I see it, here’s your main question:

How do I make it pay for me to show them how to make it pay for them?

Networking

Your goal is to get this message to the humorless folks and get paid for it. But keep in mind they aren’t going to hire you to speak anymore than they would subscribe to this newsletter. They don’t understand the value of your message. That means you need to…

Network with event planners (people who can hire you) that already agree with your message. The best way to do this is to show them what you can do. In other words – get out and speak. And the best places to do this are where both humorous and humorless businesspeople network: At meetings.

I’ve talked about this in past FAQs and Answers and even shared some excellent suggestions from readers on where to showcase your program.

But for a simple instruction guide…


Summer 2021 Comedy Workshop at The Cleveland Improv comedy club

Starts Saturday – August 24 – noon to 4 pm

Includes an evening performance at The Improv

Thursday – August 12 at 7:30 pm

Space is limited and pre-registration is required

For details, reviews, photos, videos and to register please visit

TheComedyBook.com


If you don’t have it already, create a short (20 minutes is probably max) presentation about your topic and volunteer (for free) to speak at various organizations in your area. This could include Rotary Clubs, associations, charities, alumni groups, or whatever else you find. If you’re having trouble putting together a working presentation, check out my book How To Be A Working Corporate Comedian at Amazon.com.

Free gigs for humorous speakers are like comedy club showcases for comedians. You don’t get paid, but you get in front of people who can hire (and pay) you in the future. But that’s only the start. As I’ve also mentioned in previous FAQs And Answers you need to build a list of potential clients (buyers) through these free gigs and stay in touch with them.

It’s called networking.

Start collecting

Of course, you should always take a stack of business cards to hand out after your presentation. This is a no-brainer and business common sense. Include your contact information and website and give a card to anyone who even looks at you sideways. Make it easy for them to find you.

Except that’s never a guarantee they’ll contact you. It’s important to give them a reason for you to stay in touch on a regular basis, otherwise you’ll just be another pain in the you-know-what.

Start a blog or send out a weekly or monthly newsletter, (hey wait a minute – that’s how I got you to read this!). Make it informative and entertaining as an incentive for potential clients to at least check it out. Hopefully they’ll subscribe and you’ll become almost like an email family member (like we are right now – correct?).

Again, this makes it easy to find you in case they eventually want to hire you.

But simply handing out business cards can take a long time to build a decent list. You know what I mean – you hand out a bazillion cards and are lucky to hear from one or two people.

So, here’s how to kick-start your contact list:

A great way to building potential clients and continue adding to your contact list is to have a prize drawing whenever you do one of these free programs. It’s up to you what the prize will be. It could be almost anything from a printed transcript of your presentation to a plate of cookies. You could even offer a free or discounted presentation for their company. Use your imagination for this one and offer something you think most of your audience would want.

Here’s a personal example…

Starting the collection

At the end of my programs, I announce a drawing to win a free autographed copy of one of my books. It doesn’t matter which book because even if the winner is not into the topic, they’ll know someone who is and can give it as a gift. But to be in the drawing, they have to put a business card with an email address into a basket. The trade-off is that everyone who enters will be added to the mailing list to receive my corporate (not this one!) e-newsletter.

BUT – and this is an important but – I make it clear they can easily unsubscribe through a link in the email. They just need to receive it once. If they like it, they’ll continue to receive it. If not just opt-out and they’ll never hear from me again. And that’s the honest truth.

Everyone who wants to enter puts a business card in the basket. I draw one and that person leaves with a book. I leave the free gig with a basket full of contacts that could possibly turn into paying clients.

So, there you go. How do you reach the people who need your message? Get out and preach the gospel – your ideas – in front of people who already get it. Go to where businesspeople and event planners can see and hear you. Use these free gigs to build your contact list.

There are no guarantees they’ll hire you, but at least you’re giving them – and yourself – a chance. You need to show them what you can do and stay in touch.

Have a comment or want to sign up for Dave’s free newsletter?

Please use the form below.

Thanks for reading and as always – keep laughing!!

The promotional video generation gap

Hey Dave – Does anyone really send out DVDs anymore? Do bookers even look at them? I think online is the only way to go. – C.L.

Hey C.L. – The answer to your question was obvious to me when I was (pretend) shopping for a new computer. I wasn’t going to buy anything, but I wanted to see firsthand the new features I’m missing out on.

The techno-wizard I was soaking for information was in the middle of his sales pitch for a popular brand miniature laptop when I asked a question that stopped him cold:

“Where do you load in the DVD?”

To describe his response, imagine you just walked onstage. You’ve delivered your opening line and the audience responds with a silent stare. THAT’s what this guy did to me. On stage you start to sweat because no one laughed. One-on-one in a computer store I just hoped this guy DIDN’T laugh.

Mr. Wizard showed me a flash drive and said it takes the place of a DVD. If that gets too full or you start collecting too many, all your videos can be stored in a cloud.

The obvious joke right now is to say my head was in a cloud after this piece of information. According to him, DVDs are old school – like how my kids describe my musical tastes.

No doubt there are talent bookers and event planners that are techno-savvy, but I also happen to know a few who make me seem like a computer genius. One even considers his DVD player as an evil device that made his trusted VCR obsolete (really old school). I’m serious – no joke.

So that brings us back to your question. Does anyone send out DVDs anymore?

Not really – but sometimes…

From talking with comedians, talent bookers and personal experience, almost everything today is done online. You can really see a generation gap if someone requests a DVD (old school). It’s a lot easier to watch comedy sets online. I do it all the time – and you probably do also.

Of course, nothing beats a live showcase. But if you can’t arrange that with a talent booker in person or through connections, a film of your set is the next best thing.

And if you’re not online you’re not in the business.

——————–

Next round of online comedy workshops start week of June 28, 2021

Three 2-hour sessions plus live Zoom showcase

Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays 7 pm EST – space limited.

For details and registration visit TheComedyBook.com

——————–

With comedy clubs, a great video can lead to a scheduled showcase or even a paid gig. And as I’m sure many of you know there are a lot of comedians hoping for one of those spots. With the amount of videos club bookers are asked to watch, it’s a good idea to make the process as easy as possible. And as you should also know, clicking an online link is a lot easier than loading and ejecting DVDs.

It’s also faster which allows them to watch more comedian submissions.

When it comes to the corporate and college markets, I can’t remember the last time I had to make a DVD and send it to a client. Videos are now imbedded into websites or through links on YouTube or Vimeo. When an event planner or student activities booker is searching for entertainment, they watch online videos. It’s immediate and they can also forward the link to any other decision makers. It really makes business practices from only few years ago seem like we were working in the Stone Age.

But there will always be exceptions. I’ve heard of a few bookers who still require a hard copy promo package and DVD. I’m just mentioning that in case you run into any. If you have a good website, it should be easy to burn a copy of your video onto a DVD, run off copies of your bio, resume and headshot, put it all in a two-pocket folder and send via snail mail.

A good argument for DVDs would come from comedians with television credits.

Of course, it’s impressive for bookers to see your set from an appearance on Comedy Central (or another network), but with copyrights and other legalities chances are they won’t let you post it online. The networks usually give comics a “personal copy” and they’re allowed to use it for “personal reasons.” That would include burning it onto a DVD and sending to bookers for potential gigs. But don’t try selling it after your show unless you also want the credit of “bootlegger” on your resume.

So, getting back to your question…

No – nobody sends out DVD’s anymore and…

YES – sometimes they do.

Have a comment or want to sign up for Dave’s free newsletter?

Please use the form below.

Thanks for reading and as always – keep laughing!!

Business card – got one?

Hi Dave – I’ve decided to order business cards. I was wondering exactly what information to include. I was thinking phone number, email, and website. I was wondering if there was anything else or if there was a reason not to include my address. – K.S.

It’s called promotion!

Hey K.S. – Great decision. I’m always surprised at how many comedians or humorous speakers don’t have business cards. Maybe it seems like a relic from the past – like sending a videotape instead of a link to an online video – but it’s still an important promotional tool.

How is anyone going to know you’re out there and available for gigs if you don’t promote yourself? Unless you’re a known comedian, have a Comedy Central special or a big-time agent pushing for you, you need to be prepared to take care of business.

Of course, the FIRST business step is to be such a great comic or speaker that people will want to see you. That comes through writing, performing, rinse and repeat. But once you’re ready to move forward in your career, promotion becomes a big part of the business plan. You need to be prepared to take advantage of opportunities that could lead to showcases or even paying gigs. Promotion can help get your foot in the door. Talent, hard work and dedication is what gets you hired.

Like I said in my book Comedy FAQs And Answers:

They may call it amateur night, but nobody’s looking to hire an amateur.

Memorize that – because it’s true.

I’m not going to get into all the different methods and ways to promote yourself or even talk about showcases since that’s not what your question is about. Let’s talk business cards.

Good advice!

I write a lot about networking and being part of your area’s comedy scene. If you’re out there, you never know who you are going to meet that could actually help your career. But are you always prepared to take advantage of it?

When I was at The Improv, comedians would ask us about how to get an audition, or the best way to send in a promotional video. Then instead of leaving a business card, more than a few would say, “Let me give you my email address,” (or you can substitute “phone number” or “website” or “Facebook page”). They would expect one of the managers to write it down or would ask for a bar napkin or scrap of paper to scribble out the info.

Were they nuts or what?? There’s no way we’d take someone like that seriously. Sorry but in the back of my head I was thinking, “Amateur…”

Or worse yet, the comic would just give his name and say, “I’ll send you a link for my website” or “Keep me in mind when the club does a showcase.”

Sorry, but I suck at remembering names. In fact, right now I have this woman bugging me while I’m trying to write this. For cryin’ out loud… what’s her name? I should remember since I’m married to her…

Get the idea?

——————–

Online comedy workshops start week of June 28, 2021

Three 2-hour sessions plus live Zoom showcase

Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays 7 pm EST – space limited.

For details and registration visit TheComedyBook.com

——————–

When someone like a talent booker, event planner or club manager deals with a LOT of comedians or speakers, give them the BEST and EASIEST way to remember who you are and how to get in touch with you. Business cards are not a relic from the past or uncool to hand out. In fact, it’s an important part of doing business – if you’re serious about it.

Another example…

A young comedian dropped off a DVD for possible work at the club. Instead of an unreadable name and phone number scribbled in marker on the DVD, he had a professional looking business card in the plastic cover. That didn’t mean he would get hired or even score a showcase – talent and experience will determine that – but it certainly gave the image of being serious about his career.

Remember – nobody wants to hire an amateur.

So, to finally answer your question, a business card should include your name, what you do (comedian and/or speaker, etc…), the best way(s) to contact you, and where potential clients can see your video and promo material:

  • Phone
  • Email
  • Website
  • If you have a blog, newsletter or podcast that pertains to your career and is interesting, include the link

A smart idea is to design your business card to stand out from the competition.

A photo of yourself or a logo will work. But if you (or a friend) have experience doing this, the idea is to have a business card that’s SO unique and interesting and basically SO cool – the people you give it to will keep it, rather than eventually tossing it away or losing it in a drawer.

I know that’s tough to do – and I’m always trying to come up with new designs that fit my definition of SO cool. But it’s always a goal.

If nothing else, go on a website that offers inexpensive business cards (there are plenty, but for a suggestion try VistaPrint), design one or two with different looks and never leave home without at least a few. You can always change or update the cards later since they’ve become very inexpensive (and sometimes free).

If you’re serious about this business, you must take promoting and networking seriously. When you make a new contact or stumble into an opportunity, a business card makes it clear who you are and how they can get in touch with you. There’s nothing amateur about that.

Word of warning (based on your above question):

What do you do?

Never put your home address on your business card or any promotional material. You don’t know who will wind up with this stuff and the last thing you need is some wacko stalking you. And yes, I’ve known this to happen with both male and female performers (so don’t be a sexist and think you’re immune).

Amateurish or a relic of the past? Not when a business card can make it easy to find you and hire you. It’s called being a professional.

Have a comment or want to sign up for Dave’s free newsletter?

Please use the form below.

Thanks for reading and as always – keep laughing!!

Personality separates you from the competition

Hi Dave – I do a lot of presentations through my job. These are specific to the industry and I’d like to start speaking at related conferences. I’m not a stand-up comedian, but know the importance of humor in getting my message across to an audience. Many of my friends think I am funny in an I Love Lucy kind of way… Which I suppose comes naturally. However, I am not sure how to release that side of me when I am giving a humorous presentation. Thanks – DB

Are you getting my message?

Hey DB – When it comes to giving a presentation as a humorous speaker or doing a set as a comedian, you must connect with your audience. That’s the bottom line – period. If you don’t connect, they don’t listen.

What’s a great way to connect? By doing what comes naturally and showing off your personality. Let me explain…

Working comics know performing stand-up is more than telling jokes. Anyone can tell a joke, and some better than others. But to be a successful performer, you need to show who you are on stage.

Comics, agents, managers, and talent bookers call it your comedy voice. For our purposes, we’ll call it your personality as a speaker.

The classic joke-tellers like Rodney Dangerfield and Henny Youngman, (to mention only two) had GREAT personalities on stage. That’s what sold their material to an audience.

Are they listening?

They could do a series of basic (and clever) one-, two- or three-line jokes that fans couldn’t wait to re-tell the next day around the water cooler or in school. The fans’ renditions might get laughs from their coworkers and friends, but rarely ever the same as the originals.

As imitators, we couldn’t match their personalities.

That’s why Dangerfield and Youngman (and if you don’t know these guys, brush up on your comedy history) were paid big bucks to do their jokes on stage while the rest of us (the fans) got detentions for re-telling their jokes in school.

Dangerfield’s jokes worked because of his personality – who he was on stage (his comedy voice). He had a talent for putting himself down…

“I get no respect.”

Youngman’s personality made him a natural at making wise cracks (another talent most of us shared to earn school detentions) …

“Take my wife… please!”

——————————————————————

Online comedy workshops start week of June 28, 2021

For details and to register visit TheComedyBook.com

——————————————————————

Without showcasing their personalities, these legendary comics might never have stood out from the pack of other wise-cracking joke-tellers.

The same can be said of humorous speakers.

I always get a laugh at – as opposed to with – humorous speakers who call themselves humorous speakers just because they throw in a lame joke once in awhile during a presentation. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. For the opening of their presentation, they’ll repeat a joke they found on the internet or even worse, take an old joke and re-work it to make it seem as if it were a true story that pertains to their topic.

This – they think – makes them a humorous speaker.

I’m almost gagging as I write this since it reminds me of how I’ve seen speakers do this WAY too often. For some reason they hide their unique and fun(ny) “real” personalities (we all have one, though some are more outgoing than others), because they assume it’s the only way an audience will take them seriously as trainers and educators.

That’s fine if you’re strictly a no-frills, non-humorous speaker, trainer, or educator. But if you’re billed as a humorous speaker and want to stand out from the competition it’s important to use your natural talent.

Your personality.

So… your friends say you’re like the legendary Lucille Ball? Then there must be some truth in their opinions. I assume you’re not trying to imitate Lucy, but you just somehow remind people of her. It’s part of your personality.

As a humorous speaker you want to find a way to bring your personality onto the speaker’s platform with you. It’s who you are and what makes you an individual and unique when compared to others who speak on the same topic. That’s what helps separate you from the competition – the other humorous speakers who want to be hired for the same gig.

——————————————————————

Subscribe to How To Be A Working Comic YouTube Channel

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You don’t have to imitate Lucy. In fact, I recommend you DON’T imitate Lucy. Unless you’re hired to play her as a character it would take the believability away from your message. But if you have a talent for making funny statements or even physical humor – which is probably why your friends compare you to Lucy – then use your talent in your delivery.

But before you plan on filling your mouth with chocolate candy or presenting from a scaffold on the side of a building, (I Love Lucy fans know exactly what I’m talking about), keep in mind Lucy’s style of physical comedy doesn’t necessarily mean slapstick comedy. You don’t have to overdo it to stand-out.

Keep it simple. It could just be a look or way you naturally use your hands. If it’s part of your personality, what good does it do to hide it? If you’re in the humor game, it’s all about not being a stiff, boring speaker. Use your natural personality to connect with an audience.

Here’s the bottom line.

You don’t need to tell jokes to be an effective humorous speaker. If you have a signature story, examples or descriptions relating to your topic that an audience could find funny – make them funny. Don’t be afraid to use facial expressions, hand gestures or movement. Don’t get stuck standing in one place showing a power point or simply reciting solutions to problems – or telling old jokes.

Use your personality.

It’s a natural talent that you use everyday. Think of the last time you were together with a group of friends. Maybe you were sitting around someone’s kitchen table, and you wanted to tell your family or friends about something that happened to you that day. It could be as simple as your drive to work, but something interesting (and hopefully) funny happened.

How would you tell it in a way that would get the reaction you wanted? How could you tell it in a way that would make your family or friends laugh?

Here’s a good tip. Think of the audience as a room full of friends. How would you deliver your message (the topic of your presentation) to them in a way that not only informs, but also entertains them?

By using your personality.

They’ll remember you over a boring speaker – or one trying to entertain with an old joke you’ve probably heard before – with the same message. That’s how you stand out from the competition.

It worked for Rodney, Henny, and Lucy – and more than a few humorous speakers and working comics. There’s no reason why it can’t work for you also.

Have a comment or want to sign up for Dave’s free newsletter?

Please use the form below.

Thanks for reading and as always – keep laughing!!