How Much Will A Comedy Night Cost?
This will depend on the size of your venue, how many people you expect to attend and how much they’ll be paying. For a reasonable comedy night you may have to spend upwards of £300 if you want a quality bill. If it’s your first comedy night at your venue it’s sensible to go for the best bill you can put together even if this does lower your profit margin. An entry fee between £5 and £10 is an acceptable price for a good small venue comedy night, a good benchmark for pricing your tickets might be the cost of a cinema ticket in your area.
The acts are coming to do a job for you and whilst they may enjoy it, and they may do it for “free”, that is no reason to not pay them. Comedy can be an expensive hobby, and the token ten pounds towards petrol can make a massive difference, not only to their performance, but also to your reputation as a preferred venue. At the very least buy the acts a drink!
The Golden Rule for putting on entertainment for me is that you should expect to take three times as much as the entertainment, above what you would ordinarily expect to take. For example, if you are putting on your comedy night on a Wednesday and your usual take is £200 then you would need to take (using the £300 budget above) £1,100. This means an audience of 100 would need to spend, on average, £11 a head … only you can assess whether this is likely.
One option is to host an “open mic” night, where newcomers to the comedy scene or other amateur comedians perform short sets (5 minutes or so) for free. You would still need a compere and all the kit and in my opinion work best after you’ve established your reputation as a comedy venue.
What’s A Good Night For Comedy?
Weekend nights are always the best for attracting customers but in most cases these nights are already profitable for you, so choose a quiet night where there’s nothing else to do in the area. Sunday nights are great for a relaxed comedy night, especially if you want to capitalise on your Sunday lunch / TV sports offering … having a full-house all day and evening can make all the difference to your profitability.
Promoting Your Comedy Night
- In house promotion (table talkers, posters)
- Staff talking up the event
- Inclusion on your website of Facebook page and Twitter messaging
- Local listings magazines
- Websites such as Chortle.
- Local paper
- Email and text your customer database
Keeping Your Audience
Comedy, as with live music, relies on developing of a regular audience. Keep people coming back by:
- Keeping your comedy night always on the same night e.g. the second Thursday of the month
- Gathering a mailing list so you can remind people when it’s on.
- Reward regulars by giving them ticket deals (you can do this through the mailing list)
- Give the night a catchy name
Hopefully these simple guidelines will ensure your comedy night runs smoothly and should help make successful and profitable.
Top Tips for the Night
- Ensure you have a clear high quality sound system. Have a spare microphone in case of any mishaps.
- If you have a bar in the same room as the performers close it whilst there on stage. No one wants to hear the kerrrching of a till just before someone’s about to deliver a punch line or have people chatting at the bar.
- Choose some music to go on whilst the acts aren’t on stage, use music that was popular when your main audience demographic were young. This will help create a nice atmosphere. As it gets closer to show start time slowly increase the volume. This will raise the level of chatter and give the room a nice buzz..
- If an audience member is being consistently disruptive don’t mess around. Ask them to leave! Customers are paying to hear the comedian not the heckler.
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