How to Run a Comedy Club

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Running a successful comedy club requires more than hiring people who can stand on a stage and tell jokes. Sure, you need good comedians, but you also need to provide an environment your guests can relax in. People come to a comedy club to laugh and hang out. By providing good service and good laughs, you can run a successful comedy club that will keep you laughing all the way to the bank.

Things You'll Need

  • Show host
  • Microphone and stand
  • PA system

Set up a club that customers can feel relaxed and comfortable visiting. A smaller stage is ideal for solo comedian performances. It allows the focus on the performer. Round tables and comfortable chairs for your audience provide a more relaxed environment in which to enjoy a comedy show. Keep the lighting for the audience soft and the stage lighting bright.

Invest in good equipment. Primarily, this means an appropriate-sized PA system and good microphones. The central component of your comedy club is your comedy show. If your audience can't hear your comedy show, you're out of business.

Hire a funny host. The host is one of the most important elements of the stand-up comedy show. He has to be funny, just in case some of the comedians you hire to perform aren't. Pay what you need to pay to get a host that can carry a show from one performer to the next.

Take care of your guests. If you can afford to hire someone to show them to their tables and take their food and drink orders right away, guests will come back. You might even consider buying the first round of drinks, which can lead customers to buying more.

Provide a menu of quick, easy foods you can prepare in large quantities and price reasonably. In comedy clubs, much of the profit comes from the bar, so offering foods customers can enjoy easily and cheaply, such as chicken wings, sandwiches and finger foods, can be a plus for your profit margin.

Book the best comedians you can afford--and attract. The bigger your club is, the bigger the talent you will be able to book. Comedians love an audience. If you can provide one, and pay the comedian, you can attract the bigger talent. Most stand-up comedians have websites and offer information about booking, which typically involves contacting their booking agents.

Organize special event nights. The events could include cheaper food and an open mic night. Amateur-comedian nights attract crowds. When you get an amateur comedian onstage, his friends will show up to make fun of him. That's a bigger audience for you.

Keep track of your books every night. Hire an accountant to work with you. When you try something new, whether it's a new food item on the menu or a particular comedian, identify the profit margin to see if the new idea worked or did better than a previous promotion. Constant monitoring of the business end of your club will help you find the successful angles and allow you to leverage those to build your club.

Tips & Warnings

  • The primary factor that will go into booking bigger names is the expense, so you may need to start with smaller acts until your business is bringing in the money to support larger acts.

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