Today’s “be the best comic you can be” business tip is about etiquette. There are lots of unwritten rules when you’re a comic. Here’s a few of em:
1) Any feature that doesn’t ask the headliner if its okay to sell merch is a dick. Any headliner that says no is a bigger dick. Also, discuss prices ahead of time so no one is undercutting anyone.
2) When you’re not on the show, doesn’t matter how important you’re used to being – it’s someone else’s show.
3) Green rooms are for comedians on the show. Some comedians want everyone to come hang. Some want to be left alone. Unless you’re friends with the headliner, don’t walk into their space. (I don’t mean Facebook friends. I mean “would help them move” friends).
4) If you have promo to put out on the tables, ask the club first. You never know what their plans are re: their tables, so don’t just assume.
5) The best way to cancel on a show? Ask if it’s okay. Don’t just tell them you’re bailing. Ask if it will be a problem first – they will most likely say its fine, and respect you for it.
6) Clubs determine guest spots, not headliners. Don’t ever ask the headliner unless it’s someone who you’re very close with. (i.e. do you know their kids’ names? Have their cell number?)
7) Any club that “bans” you from playing somewhere else is breaking the law and run by assholes. That said, respect the people that brought you to the dance. If a club is loyal to you, be loyal to them. At the MC and guest spot level, work wherever you want. At the feature level (and especially the headliner level), try to stick to one club in each market. And if you’re ever going to play a “rival” club, ask if its okay first.
Obviously, there are no real rules in comedy, written or unwritten. But I hope this is a good guideline to remind everyone to think about how important it is to be polite and careful when making an impression.