We are so excited that you have invited Peppi to come for your event. A comedy event can be the most fun your group will ever have. It is well worth the planning and preparation. Every event host works hard and wishes the same thing for their event.... SUCCESS! Nobody wants their event to be a flop. Did you know that hiring a comedian is much different than hiring a band or a speaker? There really is a science to comedy that few people realize. The more of these TIPS you can employ, the more enjoyable and successful your event will be for everyone. The larger the audience, the more of these TIPS you will probably need to incorporate. Ready? Here we go:
TIP #1: ADVERTISE EARLY AND OFTEN - Advertising a comedy event is the first step to priming the audience for laughter. It is best to begin advertising at least 45 days in advance. The larger the event, the earlier you'll want to begin advertising. Add an additional month of advertisement for every 200 people you hope to have, even up to four- six months in advance, beginning with a "Save The Date" notice.
~ Eye catching advertisements are the best way to build excitement and begin priming the audience for laughter. Media for these promotional ads will be provided for you upon your request. Advertisements may be done via:
1. Posters & flyers posted weeks in advance. Don't forget "Tinkle Ads" posted inside stall doors in restrooms where you have a captive audience, restroom mirrors, doors to the building, bulletin boards, local restaurants, stores, businesses. If no one in your group can design a flyer, let us know. We will design one and email it to you for your printing needs.
2. Bulletins, handouts, newsletters
3. Radio ads
4. Mailouts & Handouts
5. Ticket Sales (Even if there is no charge for the event, use tickets as reminders and a tool for guests to use to invite others.)
6. Social Media (Facebook, Email, Twitter, Website, Instagram, etc.) Promote often & ask your group to share it on their social media. All of these are FREE. We encourage you to use them to your full advantage.
7. Let the audience know "A COMEDIAN IS COMING!" When guests arrive in anticipation of having a fun time; they laugh even more.
TIP #2: KEEP THE EVENT FREE OF DISTRACTIONS - Much of "getting" comedy is being able to enjoy the show without distractions. If the audience misses a cue from the comedian, they may not "get" the joke. Very many of these may ruin the entire show for your guests.
~ OUTDOOR VENUES ALMOST NEVER WORK FOR A COMEDY SHOW. There are just too many distractions: Airplanes flying low overhead, birds squawking loudly, children playing nearby, a dog running through the pavilion, the volleyball from the game next door hitting a guest in the head, and the most upsetting distraction....bad weather. Laughter is contagious. But outdoors, the laughter doesn't reverberate and spread, because it just dissipates into the open air. So the audience actually laughs less because each person feels like they are the only ones laughing. They just cannot hear the laughter of others like they would if they were indoors sitting right next to other people. Just save yourself the grief, and never plan an outdoor comedy show.
~ If a banquet or party setting, it is best to wait until after the food is served, eaten and tables bused, to begin the show. The audience cannot laugh with food in their mouths, or applaud with a fork in their hand. With comedy, it is important that everyone has a good view of the comedian's face, since many times the comedian doesn't even use words. A facial expression or hand gesture may be all that is needed to get a laugh, but if the audience is distracted because someone dropped a plate crashing to the floor, or loudly scooted their chair, then that moment is lost forever. Too many of these distractions may cause audience members to leave saying "she wasn't funny"; when in fact, they were just distracted, and missed the funny. Buffets are the worse! The audience will be distracted by guests returning to the serving line. Noisy kitchen help can also be a huge distraction. So if possible, ask them to wait until the show is over to clean the kitchen, if it is a part of the same room, or at the very least, to work as quietly as possible.
~ The very best setting for a comedy event is a dark, or dimly lit room, with a spotlight on the comedian. This keeps the audience from being distracted by movement around them. It also lets the audience know that this is a REAL show, so they will stay in their seats and pay closer attention to the entertainer. Think of it like a magic show. All eyes need to be able to see the comedian clearly so they don't miss a thing..
~ Provide childcare (for infants and children), or let your guests know that they will need to find a sitter. A crying baby, or a fidgety child can spoil the fun for your audience. Believe me! I hear about it often from upset guests as they are leaving the show: "I couldn't hear a word you said for that crying baby!" or "I was so distracted by the kid behind me kicking my chair throughout the entire show!" There's always that one parent who won't take their disruptive child out. Peppi absolutely loves children, but It's never fun when a child ruins the show for another guest. It's especially sad when that guest is a young stay-at-home parent, who hasn't had a break from her children in months, but she saved her money to buy a ticket, and pay for a sitter for her own children, only to have her evening spoiled by someone else's disruptive child.
TIP #3: PROVIDE ADEQUATE SOUND & ADJUST ROOM ACOUSTICS - If the audience is going to enjoy the comedian, they must be able to hear the comedian.
~ The event host will need to make provision for adequate sound equipment. You will want to take notice if the room has poor acoustics. If allowed, unplug vending machines in the room, just before show time (& remember to plug them back in afterwards). Even if no one is making a purchase from them, soft drink vending machines make a constant running noise, to keep cold.
(Peppi's Rider lists sound equipment event hosts will need to provide for her performance.)
TIP #4: PROVIDE ADEQUATE VISIBILITY - If the audience is going to enjoy the comedian, they must be able to see the comedian.
~ For audiences of several hundred or more, a large screen broadcasting the comedian is almost a necessity, especially if the room is long and narrow, with guests seated far from the stage. The larger the audience, the larger the screen needs to be, and the more screens you will need.
~ The event host will need to make provision for sufficient lighting. A spotlight on the comedian, in a dark, or dimly lit room (with just enough lighting for emergency exits), is the ideal setting for a comedy show. This really limits distractions. If a spotlight is not available, just be sure the comedian's face is brightly illuminated from the front, so that it doesn't cast weird shadows. Being able to clearly see facial expressions is very important for the audience. Sometimes the expression IS the joke.
~ If more than 100 guests are expected, it is best to have an elevated stage for the comedian. Everyone needs to have good visibility.
~ It is best if the comedian is the only one on the stage. Guest seating behind the comedian forces the comedian to have to constantly be spinning so everyone can see facial expressions. Still some will miss that one big facial cue. The spinning will cause the comedian to get drunk, and that's never a good thing. Also, any movement going on behind the comedian causes distractions. So nothing else should be taking place behind the comedian: No set up, stage hands or kitchen help moving about; no band, emcee or anyone sitting on the stage either. All of these will inadvertently cause distractions if they are within view while watching the comedian.
TIP#5: MAKE THE ROOM FEEL INTIMATE - Seat the audience in as close to the comedian as possible.
~ Position tables and seating as close to the stage as possible. If the stage isn't stationary, position it against the longer wall, as opposed to the shorter wall, which is where stages usually are. By having it on the longer wall, the back wall is nearer the stage, which means the guests are closer to the stage as well.
~ If the room is larger than the audience you plan to have, curtain off a portion of the room if possible. If not, remove or rope off seating in the back and sides, forcing your guests towards the front and center, and closer to each other. You can always move the barrier back as the front seats get filled and even add seating if necessary. Again, laughter is contagious, but if guests are too far from one another, then the laughter doesn't spread and multiply. Up front seating is especially necessary for senior adult groups.
TIP #6: SELECT SOMEONE WHO IS ENERGETIC AND FUN TO BE THE EMCEE - The emcee is a very important part of a successful comedy show. But a boring emcee can kill the mood, forcing the comedian to have to rouse the audience from a "coma" with the very first joke.
~ Think of the most lively, fun, energetic person in your group who doesn't mind being in the limelight, but someone who won't upstage the comedian either. There's your emcee.
~ The emcee's duties: Make guests feel welcome, announce "housekeeping" (location of restrooms, show sponsors, etc.) keep the program flowing, keep the audience primed for laughter, make sure props & microphones are in place between each act and speaker, make only necessary announcements: "Show begins in 10 minutes", "Turn cell phones off", "No recording devices are to be used", "Last call for coffee before the show begins", "Turn your chairs to the front, etc.", and then the emcee may also be asked to introduce the comedian. Peppi will provide a written introduction for the emcee to rehearse prior to the event; but sometimes she chooses to use a pre-recorded introduction. She will let you know in the planning stages.
TIP #7: PLAN SOMETHING FUN JUST BEFORE THE COMEDIAN TAKES THE STAGE - A fun, 5 - 10 minute activity continues to prime the audience for laughter just before the show begins. "Priming the audience" means having them on the "edge of their seats" ready to laugh. When guests expect to laugh, they laugh even more. Get them moving. It lowers inhibitions so they'll feel more free to laugh, clap and interact with the comedian. Limit announcements until after the show is over. Boring announcements just before the comedian takes the stage, or prayer requests that "Dear Rufus may not make it through the night", kill the mood, and leave your audience distracted with worry all throughout the show, wondering if "Dear Rufus is still with us." Here are some ways to get the audience ready. Just select one:
~ A quick ice breaker activity, requiring guests to get up and interact with others
~ Lively toe-tapping music
~ A fun game with the audience
~ Door prizes (Make it fun. Example: require the winners to holler out "It's my lucky day!" to claim their prize.)
~ A funny short skit
~ A funny short video (There are tons on YouTube)
There! That wasn't so painful was it? Just 7 TIPS that will go a long way in making your comedy event the most enjoyable ever! Again, don't let it overwhelm you. None of these are really very difficult to do. Especially if you start early. Peppi is here to help. Just ask!