There has been a heated debate within stand up comedy regarding comedy festival submission fees recently and I think it is important that young comics or would be comics learn that there are a lot of things outside of festivals and bringer shows they can do to improve their comedy career. Granted, none of these things necessarily involve writing or performing, except for one, but in a day where it is less cost effective to work the road and more difficult to crack into rotation at hometown clubs due to growing numbers of performers, social media and other uses of the Internet are the best ways to reverse engineer a comedy career. Build a fan base first, then get them to buy tickets to your stand up that you have not had time to work on and perfect – it is that simple. So here is the way to do that, instead of complaining about festival fees:
1) Take a picture with a child of a different race than you and post it to social media with something about how racism is taught. Works best if you are under the age of 8. Watch your Facebook shares skyrocket and your Instagram followers grow.
2) Take a disabled person to the prom – Someone will cover this and you will become a hero.
3) Take a soldier to the prom – Someone may cover this and you will become a hero.
4) Take a disabled soldier to the prom – Someone will definitely cover this and you will go viral.
5) Post a video or blog where you “School Someone” in a specific number of seconds – Pick an easy target, like the KKK or Justin Bieber or Donald Trump. Wait for them to say something dumb on an issue of societal importance and then either in a video (at which point you have to mention how many seconds it is in the title, but can be no more than 90 seconds) or a blog post “school them” on why they are dead wrong. But you cannot claim to school them yourself. This is the risk in this method. You just have to be heavy handed about things that are pretty much consensus to thinking people and then let it get picked up by a click bait site (all sites) and they will let the world know how badly you schooled them.
6) Destroy a Heckler – This is almost a classic move at this point, but it does require you to get on stage. When you get heckled, just respond with some dismissive snarky comment and then title the video “Comedian destroys,” even if you did not do anything of the sort. People will be primed to think you did destroy.
7) Write as many Open Letters as you can – This does not cost anything and should be done daily. Each day pick someone who has said something horribly offensive, mildly offensive or not offensive at all and write them an open letter.
8 ) Be Under 30 – This is an important tip. Don’t ignore it.
9) Change all your social media avatars to a hot, but not unrealistically hot picture of a woman – their jokes are funnier, their pictures get more likes and they get booked on more shows and afternoon “writing sessions.” Doesn’t matter if you are a woman or not. Your social media profiles should identify as a hot, but accessibly hot, woman.
10) Don’t end your list posts with a conventional number. Always end with an odd number so that it appears you put more thought into generating a list instead of a pre-determined hacky number like 10.
So that is it people. You can take the condescending advice of people who have already arrived at a good place in the business or are on their way. Or you could take the advice of newcomers who talk a big game of which they know very little. Or you can follow my steps and become a successful comedian that saves money in the process. The choice is yours.