Working Comic: The Good, The Bad, and The Money. -by Shawn Carter.

“What do you do all day?”  That’s what most people ask me when I tell them that I haven’t been working.  Well, I send a lot of emails.  Some of them are in response to comics that have requested to be on the show at Stadium in Quincy.  Some of them are to bookers and I’m the one requesting to be on their show.  Some of them are to people that have hired me to do comedy and I fulfilled my part of the deal but I have not received payment yet and it’s been over a month.  That last one, happens much more often than it should.

Comedy is a strange business and I wanted to take time to discuss the different aspects of it this week.

The Good?  I get hired to make people laugh.  Companies offer me money to entertain them.  I get to go on stage and clown around and get paid for it.  Sometimes the people that hired me pay me the night of the show.  That is great!  Sometimes I get to work with comedy legends like Lenny Clarke.  Sometimes I get to perform for 3o minutes for really cool crowds like the one at Dick Doherty’s Comedy Escape in Worcester last week.  Sometimes my friend Rick Canavan will give me a guest spot on a Friday night at The Comedy Studio because my show got cancelled and he is a nice guy.  Sometimes I have to tell comics to give up their seats so that we can fit more audience members in the room at Stadium in Quincy.

More Good?  I have some of the best people in the world working with me, helping me, and believing in me.  Jim Akiba helped me turn Stadium from a pretty good open mic into a legit comedy show that draws the best damn Tuesday night crowd I could imagine.  Ted Pettingell is the funniest guy I know and he’s willing to spend his time each week recording a podcast with me called “Fart: The Podcast”, Phoebe Angle encourages me to take chances all the time to try and advance my comedy career, including a conversation where she talked me into spending much of the summer in New York City (she might just be trying to get rid of me).   Scott Oddo is helping make that dream of going to New York a reality.  A bunch of really funny comics have taken time to help promote the June 20th show at Stadium.   Someday I’m going to pay everyone back for the help they’ve given me.  But today I’m just gonna try and pay the rent.

The Bad?  Sometimes shows get cancelled, checks come late, and I get way down.  In the past month I had a show booked where I was going to make some money but then I got offered a full weekend of work and so I explained to the person booking me that I had to take the full weekend of work.  That person was very cool about it and everything seemed to be going great.  Then that weekend of work got cancelled because the headliner was bringing their own opener.  I’m not upset with the club that cancelled me but I was going to make some money, then I thought I was going to make more money, and now I’m going to make no money. That’s just how it goes sometimes, and yes I checked with the first person and they had already booked someone in the spot they originally asked me to do.  Sometimes you work with comics that are assholes.  I wouldn’t want to say any names because I understand that sometimes that person is just having a bad day but between the experience I had and the stories I’ve heard from other people I’d say it’s safe to say that Pauly Shore is awful to work with.

The Money?  It’s not great.  I’m at a point now where I’ve run out of savings and I have to make my money from week to week in order to survive.  Sometimes the checks are late but the bills always come on time.  That’s something that I learned very quickly.  It sucks that you have to email a booker, “can you send the check soon because I need to pay my bills”.  So many bookers assume that comedians also have day jobs and don’t need the money from the shows that they’re doing.

Ok, that’s more words than I meant to write.

Here’s a list of shows I’m doing this week.

Monday:  Sally O’Briens- hosting open mic comedy

Tuesday:  Stadium in Quincy- hosting a free booked comedy show.

Saturday:  Stadium in Quincy- hosting for headliner Joe List.  Tickets are $20 at the door.



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