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How Comedians Should Approach Black Friday

Thanksgiving is approaching, which used to mean a time for food, football and family, but now it means food, football and “fu*k off that is my discounted gift.”  Many stores are now opening on Thanksgiving to get a head start on trampling part-time workers to death in a race to get items for cheaper.  It is a great way to get discounts, while also getting the thrill of engaging in a real life Hunger Games.  Basically it is the civilized nature of  looting except you pay for the stuff instead of stealing it and tragedy is a result of the looting instead of the cause of it.  I have the convenience of small reserves of cash and a high amount of familial apathy so Black Friday/Douche Thursday (my name for the new shopping day) has little effect for me.  But as a seller of goods (or as I call my CDs “greats”) I realize in this day and age I need to offer Black Friday deals for comedy fans.  But in a day of $5 downloads, YouTube and a general disdain for paying for on-line content I, along with other comedians need to adjust and make offers that are too good to pass up. So here are my suggestions for how to get people excited about your comedy content this holiday shopping season:

1) Offer things in exchange for buying your albums or other merchandise.  During the year it is tough enough to get people to buy your comedy products, but with Black Friday competition it is nearly impossible.  So the least you can do is offer things to get people to buy what you produced (because the thing you produced may have cost money and may be a quality product, but who the fu*k are you?).  Sort of like going to a movie and demanding free popcorn and soda for showing up.  That is the baseline of comedy purchasers’ expectations. “I bought your album, don’t I get the other three free along with a limited edition engraved mug and watch?”

2) Give stuff for free just to get people to give you their e-mail.  OK, so maybe it was too ambitious to expect people to pay for content, even if you throw in lots of freebies, especially on Black Friday.  So instead, offer them all of your content (on top of videos and podcasts, give them albums, t-shirts, etc.) for free, IF, and only IF, they give you their Hotmail account that they use for spam.  That way you will build a connection to them that they only save for important e-mails about penile enlargement.

3) Do chores for people. On top of offering content for free you should volunteer to clean their house or babysit or wash their car in an effort for them to consider accepting your comedy materials for free.  You may lose time and money, but you will have increased by at least 9% the chances that your comedy album will be a prominent coaster in the guest room of their house.

4) Sexual favors.  People, this is not the normal shopping season – it is Black Friday in the Internet age of $5 Louis CK specials and free viral videos and streaming services!  If you want people to give you their g-mail account to actually see (but still ignore) your newsletter and comedy content you have to be willing to give more of yourself to your potential apathetic fan.

5) Murder for hire.  How committed are you to gaining new fans?  Comedy success and booking opportunities are about access to emails, Twitter followers and YouTube channel subscribers.  On Black Friday I recommend offering to kill a person that your potential fan hates.  If they still cannot follow you on Twitter or share a free video to friends after you kill their nagging landlord or mistress threatening to out their affair then maybe your content is just not that good.  So perhaps you need another couple years of seasoning and skill, but of course there is no guarantee that in the future the environment will be as friendly to content creators as it is now.

Happy Thanksgiving comedians, comedy fans and people who clicked on this by accident.

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Thankful List

This site is usually saved for gripes, but today is a today for being thankful so after some reflection (family, health, etc. obviously) here are the things I am thankful for in no particular order:

1) My Obama impression.  It is not my favorite bit or part of my stand up, but I like Jimmy Chitwood in Hoosiers I do feel like my Obama impression is what could hit the metaphorical winning shot for me in my comedy career.  Of course even if it makes it big, my comedy career will still be the equivalent of a hick in Indiana.  But like money to an ugly man or big breasts and loose morals to a woman I think Obama will get my stand up going places faster than if I was without it.

Me economic recovery is based solely on how long he stays in office.
Me economic recovery is based solely on how long he stays in office.

2) The New York Knicks.  As readers of this blog know I am one of a handful of Utah Jazz fans (22 years and counting) outside of the state of Utah or the Mormon faith.  The Jazz have been a disappointment this year, but the New York Knicks have been nothing short of a disgrace and thanks to ramifications of the trade for Stephon Marbury 6 years ago the Knicks’ first round pick (most likely a top 5 pick) will go to the Jazz.

Dear NY Knicks, Thanks.  Love, Utah Jazz
Dear NY Knicks, Thanks. Love, Utah Jazz

3) My girlfriend.  If only for buying me Adam Lambert’s new CD (and apparently a point on the Kinsey scale) and saving me from one of the more emasculating purchases I could make.  I made no secret of my enjoyment of his American Idol performances and although the album is way too much Lady Gaga-light and not enough Steven Tyler/Freddie Mercury/David Bowie as it should be, no gift has ranked higher on the “it’s the thought that counts” scale, except for her purchase of a Paul Millsap game jersey for me last Christmas.   And a bonus to her is that if in some alternative universe I pull a Sal from Mad Men, she can say, “Dammit, I should have known when he was singing along to that Adam Lambert song.”

Yes, that Adam Lambert is quite the singer.  Wait, you're firing me Don?  What for? A straight man can't like Adam Lambert?
Yes, that Adam Lambert is quite the singer. Wait, you're firing me Don? What for? A straight man can't like Adam Lambert?

Note – this was all conceived before Lambert dragged men on leashes, face-fu-ked and tongue raped other men on the American Music Awards.  While I appreciate his stance that there is a double standard by the heterosexual world concerning lesbians and gay men making out, it was a bit much.  And it detracts from his considerable talent.  Add another Kinsey point. Fu-k.

4) The people running shi*ty open mics, the people who are not taking advantage of struggling, new, or desperate comics and the people who run decent shows for free in the city.   Like a house of worship, the communal strength of the good people trying to do good things in and with comedy in NYC (and elsewhere) make it easier to keep following a tough dream.  So thanks to all you people as well.  To those who are manipulating or taking advantage of even one comic, go fu-k yourselves.

For all my complaints about the establishment in comedy, there are a lot of funny and hard working people making it tolerable.
For all my complaints about the establishment in comedy, there are a lot of funny and hard working people making it tolerable.