TicketSource has organised its top tips on how to successfully plan a stand-up comedy event that will leave your guests in fits of laughter. Follow these tips to put on a fantastic comedy show.
The stand-up comedy scene is thriving across the UK. Comedy events are some of the most popular events we work with at TicketSource, providing tickets for a range of different comedy events up and down the country on a regular basis, including the Piccadilly Comedy Club in London. However, planning one for yourself can be a tricky task if you don’t know where to start.
Whether you’re planning a one-off gig, a fundraising or charity event or a recurring series of comedy shows, we’ve compiled some top tips that will teach you how to organise a stand-up comedy event without needing a big budget.
Utilising the TicketSource platform and follow this guide, you will be able to run a successful comedy night in your local area just like The Funny Way To Be, a Teesdale comedy club who has grown its regular comedy night with our online ticketing website.
Find a venue
The first check on your list should be to find an appropriate venue for your comedy event. Of course, your budget is going to determine how much flexibility you have with your venue choice, however, there are a few things you should always consider when picking a venue.
You need your venue to be easily accessible - which means you want a location that offers good public transport links, sufficient parking spaces and disabled access.
In terms of the actual space itself, as long as it facilitates entertainment, you should be able to run a comedy event there. Ensure that there are facilities to plug in a microphone, that the acoustics ensure your comedy acts will be heard clearly even at the back of the room and that there are enough seats for your desired audience size.
Because comedy events rely on the atmosphere it’s important to note that it is better to have a busy room than plenty of empty seats. If it’s your first time running a comedy event and you’re targeting comedians who are at the start of their careers, perhaps it would be best to pick a venue that will reflect this.
The most important element is that your venue has a designated performance space - this can be a specific room in a town hall, a venue with a stage or even a function room in your local pub.
You’ll also want to ensure there is some sort of ‘green room’ space for your acts to relax in before and after they perform their set.
Plan your budget
It’s not impossible to plan a successful comedy event with a limited budget, but it’s important to outline your financial situation at the beginning..
Assess the amount of budget that you currently have and write a list of your expenses. Be sure to cover things like equipment, marketing materials, paying your talent (if working with established comedians) and any digital marketing spend.
At this stage is the perfect time to pursue any potential sponsorship opportunities. Contact local businesses, schools, venues and patrons to see if they would be willing to potentially support your local comedy event and see if you can boost your budget total.
Organise equipment for your comedy event
Once you’ve appropriately assessed your budget, you’ll know how much financial allocation you have for the required equipment. For a comedy show, you will need a microphone, a microphone stand, a raised stage or performance area, a PA system, a music system and hopefully a lighting system to create a more professional finish.
You should always be prepared for a technical hitch as a precaution - so it’s always handy to have a spare microphone!
Don’t forget to ask your acts what their equipment requirements might be in order to ensure that you’re covered before your event starts.
Assembling your line up
Assembling your line up is the most fun part of the planning process, though also arguably the most tricky. You need a good balance of acts who compliment each other well. It’s important that your comedy event is well-paced, the audience is engaged throughout and that the structure of your event ensures that everyone gets a fair slot for their set.
It’s also vital that you understand your audience and select your talent accordingly - an after-school comedy event which welcomes children, for example, would not be the right slot for a comedy act who likes to use profanity.
We suggest booking a mixture of acts to keep the evening interesting while keeping in mind your audience at all times. There are a number of different styles of comedy that you can mix together to create a great event!
It’s a great tip to attend as many local comedy events as possible to suss out potential acts to add to your own - and will also help you to assess how to best run your event too.
How established your act is will determine how much their fee is, but it’s always best to approach a comedian or their agent directly to secure the lowest possible figure.
Reach out to local schools, comedy groups and societies and see if any amateur comedians would like to join the line up at a significantly lower cost.
Find an MC or compere
An MC or compere is just as important as your comedy acts. The MC is the person who sets the tone of the evening, introducing your acts and maintaining the atmosphere in the room. A bad MC can undo the great work of a good comedian, while a good MC can enhance the evening if a comedian falls flat.
Your MC needs to have a concise and clear speaking manner which can be easily understood, they need to be experienced enough that they won’t fall flat with a silent audience, they need to be reliable and they need to be able to deal with hecklers.
The MC will also set the ground rules for your event, which should include things like no mobile phones, no talking during acts and no heckling or interruptions.
Set up your ticketing
TicketSource is an excellent way to manage your ticket sales - which is an imperative part of planning any show. It will quickly and easily allow you to sell tickets through a number of different online channels, to incorporate sales and special offers should you need to, to manage your ticket sales, and to directly communicate with your customers.
Another great tip which our platform facilitates is to set your seating to unreserved to encourage your audience to fill the front rows as they arrive. This is a handy tip Funny Way To Be comedy club discovered when using the TicketSource platform, as can be read in their case study.
Now that your event has a venue and a cast, you need to get people to show up to appreciate all of your hard work.
This is where TicketSource, the free online ticketing system, comes in. Adding your event to an online ticketing website provides you with a wealth of online promotion opportunities all from one intuitive platform.
Creating your event online will give you a URL to direct your potential customers to. You will be able to promote your event organically through social media, encouraging your friends and family to attend.
TicketSource also links with Facebook, which means that you can sell tickets directly from your website or Facebook page with ease. Its integration with MailChimp will let you send targeted email newsletters to those who have bought tickets, retaining their interest and building a mailing list for future events.
You can add discount codes and create exclusive sales, making the most of our promotional tools to encourage sales for your comedy event.
While online promotion is a great way of increasing footfall to your event, it’s important not to miss out on valuable offline promotion too.
Make posters and flyers for your event and ask if local venues, businesses and schools can distribute them to help you promote.
Get in touch with any relevant societies or clubs that you think would enjoy your event. Ask your comedy acts to spread the word to their fans that they’ll be performing, and contact the local press to raise awareness and hopefully gain coverage of your comedy event.
Setting up the venue
Last but not least, you’ll need to set up your venue ready for the big event. Your number one priority when setting up your venue should be that your comedy acts are the focal point of the evening, ensuring the stage area or where they will be performing is easy to see from all around the room.
Your audience should be able to see your acts from the waist up at all times, reading their body language which is such an important part of comedy.
The lighting set up should illuminate your acts without blinding them, giving the audience excellent visibility of the acts, while simultaneously giving the acts good visibility of the audience to read their reactions.
Decide how you want to lay out the audience - you can opt for a theatre style set up with rows, or a more cabaret style with tables. You will want to have as many people near the stage as possible to create a great atmosphere. If your event hasn’t sold out, a cabaret-style is a great way of making the room look more full.
When your lineup is assembled, your MC is ready and the venue is set up - you’re ready to go. Using an innovative platform like TicketSource will enable you to manage the tickets sold for your event, building a mailing list from those who bought tickets to actively promote future comedy events.
Don’t forget to make the most of the range of exciting features built within the platform in order to market your comedy event to its full potential, and get ready to have a successful comedy event that will be the talk of the town.
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