I root for standup comedy. Every room I do I want to make a nice profit. I feel badly when I do a room and they pay me at the end when I know they didn’t make back my salary. I also want to mention that I’ve done shows where the room is packed and only a couple of times has the manager paid me a bonus. I don’t believe anything in life ever evens itself out in the long run, but in this particular make money/lose money scenario on a comedy night, make money is definitely in the majority.
So I went back to a one night show recently that I had done 1 other time. This one nighter has been going on for a 3 years and for the first couple years they were drawing 150-250 on a Thursday night. The owner was making a fortune, as she was paying the comics low dough. I was up for doing it, though, because the merchandise I could sell after the show made up for the average pay. I killed the room the first time in, so I was looking forward to coming back.
Next time came recently and the crowd was down to around 75 people. Most one-nighters would dream of having that many people, but after the show the cranky old troll who owns the place was complaining about how they lost money for the first time ever that night. I replied I couldn’t understand how that could be since with liquor sales they still should have been way up. Her response was that she doesn’t count that, she’s just talking door money. I mentioned that maybe she should have a little perspective considering that some rooms don’t even charge a cover hoping they have 75 people that will drink because they will make it back and more in food/liquor. But I have to pay my staff from the food/liquor sales was her final statement. Now I know how little is paid to servers and bartenders, so I know that couldn’t have cost her more than 100 bucks for the whole night, even including paying the cook—who was her.
This bitch spent 2 years making conservatively 2000 bucks a night and was spending $600 in comics/bookers/hotel costs. She’s a greedy, greedy woman who now that the golden goose is no longer producing over a 1000 bucks a night for her, she thinks she’s getting ripped off. My guess is she made more money off of that 1 monthly show than she made than for any full week she had being open without it. Let me add the bar is in an economically depressed small city where she can’t pay hardly any rent for her place, so overhead is nothing. I have met a few people like this in comedy and they make me ill, if you haven’t already guessed.
So let me wrap up this little rant reiterating my initial point. I am a HUGE proponent of standup comedy. I play all types of comedy rooms and I try to do everything possible to promote them. When I’m on-stage I mention to the audience that they should keep supporting the club/one-nighter because I feel like the venue and myself are in a business deal. I root for them to make good money. All I expect in return is to treat the comics with some respect and if you’ve made 15k per year doing standup monthly, don’t fucking bitch about not making as much as usual. Greedy, Greedy old woman.