Bitching On Booking

Wednesday July 28th, 2010 – Lake Villa, IL

I’m finally starting to take action on making Wednesday my set day for tending to all of my booking duties each week. I need to completely revamp any and all booking practices or tactics I may have used in the past, which have been painfully piss poor in hindsight.

It’s always been a chore to deal with bookings and I admit it. I’ve never been good at it because I’ve never enjoyed the whole booking game, but that doesn’t mean I can’t change my outlook. Like it or not, it’s something I have to improve so why not learn to enjoy it?

If I don’t do it, I don’t eat. If I hire someone else, it’ll cost a ton. The smart thing by far is for me to organize myself to the point of only having to answer calls for bookings, but at a much higher rate than I get now. I used to be able to sit back and wait for gigs to find me. I still get calls, but it’s a lot tougher for everyone these days. I need to be on top of it.

There are countless agencies around the country who book entertainment of all kinds. In my experience I’ve only been booked a handful of times from any of these places, and it’s usually been a pain in the ass. The agency takes a huge cut and usually rapes the buyer by charging too much for the show as a whole. I’m all for profits, but rape is another story.

I just want to be fair with people. I want to work within their budget and give them my absolute best performance for whatever price is agreed on. I also want to be considered on as many gigs as possible but there’s no way I can find them all on my own. I need a push.

Technically, that push should come from agencies. I’m in with a few, like Marc Schultz and Zanies in Chicago, but they don’t get nearly enough work to make a living. Once in a while I’ll get a private party from them and it will be ok, but I’m going to need a lot more.

I explored a few possibilities today of websites who list comedians and was surprised at the amount of absolute garbage that was on most of them. I’ve always noticed how rotten acts seem to be better at promoting themselves, probably because they have to. I still hate to see these wank poles get any work at all though, as all they do is pollute the gene pool.

Talentless Hack ‘A’ spends $5000 he got from a trust fund getting top of the line promo  pictures, website, lame video clips and whatever else he can buy and gets listed on a lot of sites. Since he’s not busy working there’s a lot of time to submit, and once in a while he’s bound to hit the jackpot on some private gig that has a budget way higher than he merits.

He goes in and tanks it, permanently scorching that buyer to ever having comedy again. I’ve seen it happen over and over, but what can I do to combat it? I think I should at least be listed side by side with these apes so I can get a shot at some of those private shows.

I can do the job in most situations better than anyone else because I’ve paid my dues for a lifetime – something most hack bastards would never consider doing. They want to slide in and steal the high paying gigs when they know they don’t deserve them. That kills me.

Still, it happens all the time. I looked up and down the ‘rosters’ of some of these listing websites and wanted to puke straight up in the air. One no talent bum after another had an outrageous price tag for private shows, even though I know they’d all work for whatever a venue would pay them. Most of these goofs couldn’t make it in clubs. Why? They stink.

Sorry, not trying to pull rank but it’s true. I see excellent comedians get paid a whole lot less than they’re worth because they’re busy trying to make an honest living. They have to take what’s offered because they have bills to pay, myself included. Many of the wannabe list have separate incomes and don’t need the money. They can afford to play this game.

‘Christian’ comedy is the one that really pisses me off. They’re the worst. Most of those acts are horrific, but they’re “doing it for the Lord”. Gag. I know of one mook I helped get started who has a Christian radio show in Rockford, IL. He bent my ear every which way but loose to the point of being a pain in the ass, without so much as a half ass thank you.

Then, he got some over his skis big paying gigs, but didn’t put me on any of them as he told me I’m “not a believer, so why would I book you?” He was never funny, but I tried to be nice anyway. Then he pulled that stunt and wonders why I won’t talk to him anymore.

I saw his mug all over a couple of those sites trying to get big bank for his futile attempt at occupying a comedy stage. He couldn’t buy a ticket to a real club, but that’s who I have to compete with apparently. In theory, I can blow every one of these ducks out of the lake.

In reality, I don’t know if I want to pay to get listed on all of those sites. Not all of them have fees, but many do. If there’s no guarantee I’ll get work, I can’t see myself spending a dime of hard earned money to list myself. But how will I know if I get booked unless I get listed? This is a dilemma for sure, but not one I want to deal with now. Other things first.

Unlike the majority of pinheads I see listed on these obscure agency sites, I can kick ass in clubs and be a top level headliner. That’s where I need to focus my energy for now. I’m able to work most good clubs in the country, I’m just not in with a lot of them for reasons that aren’t really excusable. There’s no reason I can’t approach them and get myself hired.

I’m still not consistent with reaching out to those clubs I am in with. I need to keep up a consistent dialogue with any and every place that books comedy that I want to work. It’s a numbers game everywhere, but I do have a lot to offer a lot of venues. I’m experienced as a solid headliner, and most places haven’t had me back in a while so I’ll be ‘fresh meat’.

Still another aspect is getting this ‘Schilitz Happened!’ show going in Wisconsin. It will take even more ingenuity to find my own venues for it, but I plan on going that exact way. Nobody will tell me what to do or how to do it, and any profits I can make will be earned.

I’m glad I took some time to at least examine this situation, even though it put me in an irritable mood. Searching those sites let me know there’s a whole world out there with no clue of who I am. That’s good. It’s a chance for me to develop a whole new group of fans.


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