They can be the worst.
But sometimes they can be great.
What I am about to write is my opinion. I am not an expert by any means. In fact, don’t’ even read this. IT means nothing. It’s just an opinion. I just needed to write this and get it off my chest.
But I really believe that if you want to have a successful comedy show at your bar you only have to follow one simple rule:
Schedule your comedy show based on what the bar is going to look like when you are planning on having your comedy show.
Okay. That sounds really confusing and really dumb, but let me explain.
A comedian wants to do a comedy show. So they go to a bunch of venues that they think they could do a show. They inevitably end up a bar that they feel will be a cool place to perform.
“OH, there is a place in the corner that looks like they normally have a band perform. We could do stand-up right there.”
“I heard about them trying to do comedy here before in the past.”
“I know the owner, and he thinks it’d be cool to do comedy.”
All of these are very good points, but they are all brought up at 3 PM. There is a big difference between 3 PM on a Monday and 10 PM on a Friday.
I did a show last Saturday in a bar. When I first got there at 7 PM to just check out the venue, have a drink and play some pinball (They had 5 pinball machines I played them all) it seemed like a cool place. I was looking forward to the show.
The show didn’t start until 10:30 PM. This was show was a part of a festival so I went to another venue to check out another show in the festival. It was a great place, great comics and made me look forward to my show even more.
When I went back to the bar it was packed, but everyone was talking. You see, this bar was near campus, so the college crowd was out. The crowd that was used to going there on Saturday nights was in full force. Our show was supposed to start in 15 minutes.
The show gets underway and there are more people talking than listening. The comedians are getting frustrated, the crowd who actually came to see the show is getting frustrated and it didn’t make for a great show.
It was a good show, it was fun, and I’m glad I did it, but it could have been a great show with the amount of talent that was performing that night.
I’ve done shows like this before where I’ve had to battle a bar crowd. One of my favorite sets I ever did was for a bar crowd that was barely listened, but after 10 minutes I had them all.
Shows like this can be prevented if you just do the show based on what the bar is going to look like when you are planning on doing your show.
If you want to have a show at 9 PM on a Friday night go to that bar on a Friday night at 9 PM and stay there for as long as you think a show would go.
If it’s a rowdy crowd that’s loud and they like listening to loud music you are going to have a rough time getting people to pay attention. Sure you’ll have a lot of people to perform for, but how many people are you really performing for?
I’ve said on many occasions that I’ve done shows for only 10 people, but they were the right 10 people. There could be 50 people in the bar, but they might not be the right 50 people.
If you go to the bar on a Thursday night at 8 PM and it’s a little more reserved, maybe not as busy, maybe that’s the best time to try and do the show. The bar might see more customers than they usually do and it can be because of your show. Not only that, if you do find yourself having a lot of people coming to see you perform they won’t have to compete with the bar noise of the “Regulars,” on a Friday or Saturday night.
Also, if you find that at 9:30 PM the crowd starts to get a little bigger and a little bit more rowdy, than you know exactly how long your show needs to be. And if a crowd does start to show up, maybe you are able to get them to show up earlier. That is if your flyers are effective.
Look, I don’t put on shows, I just perform in shows. But I think something like this might be helpful.
I’ll shut up now.