Behind the Scenes: Day of a Comedian

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I thought it might be interesting to see what my life can be like on the road. Some days are just me in a hotel working on writing projects, interspersed with getting sucked down the Information Highway. This was a media heavy day,though, so I thought that would be more interesting for some of you to read about.

My first radio interview is with a really nice guy on a classic rock station. It’s a Bob and Tom Station in the morning, which is good since that means that the listeners of the station are used to standups. Even though the DJ has been doing it for a long time, he had no natural instincts for comedy. Like too many DJ’s that have survived in this dying business model, he was a clock watcher who seemed way more interested in hitting his 2 minute slots instead of having a good segment. That is where corporate radio has killed the charm of the airwaves, but you do the best you can to pump up the energy and promote your shows.

The next radio show I did was at a alternative/hard rock format. The interview was being taped and would be played later. I generally don’t like this as I’m concerned how they might chop it up before airing it, which hurts the natural flow. Natural is a key to good radio, as comics who just come in telling joke after joke I think makes for bad appearances. Being conversational and having it lead into bits is the best way to do it. Oh and here’s a tip.

Sit up as high as possible in your chair and push your energy up as high as possible. By doing this you bring that energy through the radio to the listener. Unless you are on NPR or a cool Jazz station, coming off passionate when you sit down with the DJ’s will get them on-board. It’s like the most intense first date you could be on and this isn’t the time to break out your unplugged set.

Well the second radio interview I did was great because the DJ conducting it had a real talent for bringing out the best in his guest. He was a good conversationalist before we even started and even though he was my age and had been in the radio biz for a long time, he still had passion for what he was doing. He asked good questions and knew when to get out of the way when I responded. We did a few 5 minute segments and I felt we could have talked forever, as he was someone who knows how to create an instant repertoire with his guest.

At my comedy show that night I had a couple people come up to me after it and mention that they decided to come out from listening to the 2nd radio show I did. That would be a tip I would give to comedy club owners. It’s more important to advertise on a station that knows how to best feature your comics than it is to get on the highest rated station who treats the comics like just another part of the job like showing up at the car dealership remote.

Besides these media appearances, I had also done a podcast the day before. This wasn’t just some unknown standup comedy podcast though, as it was with the sports columnist with the local paper. I have a lot of sports knowledge and writing for the NFL on FOX for the past decade gives me some credibility in this world. I cultivated a relationship with this columnist as I really respect his writing and we have a lot in common. Podcasts are far better than radio as they let you expand and develop things you want to offer and you are able to share more of your real personality. Unfortunately, except for a few, they have small listener-ships, but since this one is connected with the local paper and sits on-top of its website for the next week, it has some benefit in promotion.

Like most weeks, I am not on some kind of door-deal where I get to financially benefit from my extra promotional efforts, but I realize that if the club’s bottom line does well, I’m more apt to come back sooner. That is the position most of us non-draw comics are in. When I started in the biz you didn’t have to do much to promote, but now if you want to continue to stay on the radar of booking agents you need to be more proactive than just show and tell jokes. This is a full-time job. You need to be active finding ways to self-promote and that goes farther than just posting on Facebook what 5-dollar footlong you ordered at Subway.

I check-in to my hotel and the first I do is get on my iPad and mention on Twitter and Facebook the stations I just did, tagging them with it. Just like how you should buy someone dinner when you stay with someone for free, the same goes for thanking the stations that let you get on their airwaves and promote your shows. The biggest reason that Jay Leno got the Tonight Show over David Letterman was that he had pressed the flesh with the affiliate stations when he was out on the road doing standup before he got the permanent Tonight show hosting gig. These affiliates in return, supported him and were fans, telling NBC he was their guy.

I had been working for a quite a few hours before my gig even started that night. Besides these appearances, I had contacted a few different comedy bloggers in the area to promote my show, as well. I’m happy to report that the show went great, which is still the most important part of the equation…but it’s not the only element. You can’t just survive on talent anymore, as work ethic plays a very important part in your success. My famous comedian friends happen to also be the hardest working people I have ever met in the business. I am not famous, but I do know I have never worked harder at my job than I have the past few years and I feel my career is continuing to evolve.  If you can look at yourself in the mirror and say the same thing at the end of the day—well there’s not much else you can do.

See motivational speaker at his next seminar at the Econolodge Motel, next to the airport next Tuesday afternoon. This free seminar will be in room 113 and only requires you paying 99 dollars for Scott’s Standup is Your Life! 5 cassette packet. Do not miss this life-changing chance. This is limited to the first 6 people who show up, as the Econolodge bed only holds this many.

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