This post comes from NYC comic Adam Conover regarding compensation for comedians performing at the UCB theaters in New York.
Hello to folks interested in the issue of UCB compensating standup comedians! I have some news for you.
A group of us who care about this issue, standups and UCB performers both, have spent the last two weeks putting our heads together to try to resolve this disagreement. Here’s how things have shaken out.
First off: UCB is not going to pay comics to perform. It’s simply not their philosophy or business model, and as that model has proven to be an incredibly successful way to incubate comedy over the past 15 years, it doesn’t make sense for them to change and risk damaging it in order to accomodate a few standup shows. The case for paying performers was made, and was heard, but after much discussion, the decision by the management was that if comics aren’t comfortable under any circumstances with UCB charging a cover but not paying comics, then the business models simply aren’t compatible, and UCB should retreat from the standup arena entirely rather than totally change the way the theatre works. That, of course, would be their right.
ok fine, ill do stand up. uuggghhh it’s been a while.
I was sick from my birthday on Thanksgiving until just this week, so over a month. I was dead broke up until last week. I use these as excuses, but most of all I’ve just been scared to do comedy again.
I just need to overcome my fear of…
also for adults.
I recently tried giving advice to a first-time comedian and this is what I thought to say:
First of all, just do it. Write and perform as often as you can and more. (That’s the advice that I hear most often from professionals)
But I’d like to add something that I think helped me out a lot, too. Expose yourself to the world of comedy by listening to comedy podcasts and other comedy media.
If you’ve been listening to WTF with Marc Maron, you’re doing it right. The reason is because it’s important to hear the process of “making it” from 200+ comics. You’ll find that you’re able to envision each step of the comedy path much easier by hearing how it’s done every week from the ones that do it best. It definitely provides consistent inspiration to work harder.
I listen to comedy albums as often as I can, and not just the ones by my favorite comics. I’ll listen to most anything. Even comics I know I don’t like. Why?
I want to hear what EVERYONE is doing. Every comic, good or bad in your eyes, brings something valuable to their performance and it’s usually the reason that they’re famous. If you can approach an album with a critical ear, you’ll walk away from it enlightened on some aspect of their performance.
So basically you should write, perform, and submerge yourself in the comedy world.
Or you can disregard this whole thing. There is no unified “comedy advice” that produces a surefire success story, but writing and performing often is definitely the only advice that can’t be challenged.