Working Comic. Going Corporate. – by Shawn Carter.

Shawn Carter spitting up water.

Shawn Carter spitting up water.

This week’s post may be rather short because I really only want to talk about one thing, a corporate gig I did Saturday night.  Of course I hosted Sally O’Briens open mic on Monday and the Stadium open mic in Quincy on Tuesday.  But the thing I really want to talk about is traveling to New Hampshire and doing comedy for 40 – 50 people at a company Christmas party.




Dec. 13 – That is the day that I had circled on my calendar for months.  I would just stare at it, hoping that the show would go well.  The deal was, I would provide a 60 minute comedy show for a company Christmas party starting at 5:30 pm.  The show was supposed to take place before dinner at a restaurant.  The person I had been corresponding with through emails had been super nice so I had a good feeling about it going into the show.  But still 60 minutes with no opening act and a room that’s not set up for comedy is going to be tough no matter what.

I left my apartment in Quincy MA at about 1:30 pm.  My GPS was estimating a two hour drive but I always plan for the worst possible amount of traffic.  I arrived at the venue at around 3:45 and decided to go to the gas station and buy and water and see if I could kill sometime.  The gas station was blasting country music and I got the feeling that any minute a bunch of dudes on ATV’s with rifles attached to them and a deer strapped to the back of one might swarm the parking lot.  No such luck.  Just a very nice cashier and a man buying a bag of m&m’s for his son.



At this point I felt it was too early to go to the restaurant but where could I go to kill sometime.  I checked with the trusty smartphone and wouldn’t you know it, there’s a Starbucks nearby.  I am not in some backwoods area, I’m in civilization.  Hooray!  So I went to Starbucks ordered my $5 coffee and sat at a table writing down notes for almost an hour.

I arrived at the venue at 4:55.  At first their was some confusion with the restaurant “Are you the DJ?” they asked “No, I’m the comedian.”  I responded, which was met with a skeptical look.  After about a minute of this a young lady approached me and told me that I was in fact in the right place and that her mother set up the function and she would be arriving in just a couple of minutes.  Ok… I’m alright.  At first I thought I was in the wrong place and was going to miss the gig.  Once I knew I was in the right place my heart rate lowered and I was able to relax and just get the equipment from my car.  I brought my own sound equipment because since the show was to take place in a private room of a restaurant I wasn’t sure if they would have a decent sound system.

After a few minutes the person from the emails arrived.  Trina was just as nice in person and so great to work with and actually pretty funny herself.  She admitted to me before the show that she had hired me without even watching the video clip that I keep posted on-line for potential bookings.  Then realized she might have made a mistake and watched the video to see if I was any good.  After which she admitted to being quite relieved that I was really funny.  Phew… I wiped the sweat from my brow as well.

Next step is setting up the audio.  The restaurant offered to let me use their equipment but after a thorough sound check I decided I’d rather set up my own stuff.  The restaurant had a wireless mic and the top seemed to be loose and about to fall off.  I’ve never had a good experience using a wireless mic, something always goes wrong and it’s usually that the batteries die in the middle of a show.  Also the speaker they had couldn’t kick out much volume and every word uttered into the microphone was followed by about 10 seconds of echo.  Just to be clear I’m not blaming the restaurant or people that booked the show for this, I was more than happy to use my own sound system.  Also, I think whenever possible comedians should plan accordingly for this sort of thing.

The actual show started at 5:35.  The owner of the company said a few nice words to his employees thanking them for all of their hard work throughout the year and then introduced me to the crowd.  It was a nice speech he gave and I felt like I was in good company.  Anyway, time to get down to business.  I started with a couple of jokes that went alright.  Talked to some of the people in the crowd a little bit.  I wouldn’t say what I was doing was crowd work so much as it was just making sure that I was staying engaged with the people in the room rather than just going through a series of jokes that I’ve done over the years.

Everyone in the room was generous with their attention and laughter which was helpful since I was standing in the middle of a dance floor surrounded by tables and trying to do my best to entertain everyone in each direction.   At one point right before starting a bit about guns.  I asked the audience “By round of gunfire in the air, how many of you own guns?”.  Every single guy in the room raised their hand and I think some of the women too.  Perfect.



One guy I talked to claimed that he owned 50 guns which made me think this company must pay pretty well and I should have asked for more money for this gig.  When I said that I was divorced and my ex and I once had a fight while married because she left a list of 10 things for me to do and I did 9 of them but forgot the tenth, one woman in the crowd inquired angrily “but how many times had that tenth thing been on the list?”.  It was all in fun though and I really enjoyed performing in front of this group.

At the end of the night the guy that owns the company paid me a nice compliment, saying he’d like to have me back again next year if I’m not too much of a celebrity by then.  I assured him that no matter what happens I’d be happy to come back and perform for such a great group of people again.

Then I went to Portland Maine and ate my dick.


Unscene Comedy

UnScene Comedy is the best place to find essays, articles, and media from some of the top Boston comedians.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *