July 1, 2014

5 Easy Steps

Lara Beitz
Running a showcase is hard work. I have the pleasure of working with some of the most talented, capable, motivated people I know, and we still struggle to balance the workload. People ask us how we make it look so easy. I can't speak for the women with whom I work, but I know what worked for me, and I'd like to share with you five simple steps to becoming the best producer you can be:

1. Use your strengths. Your team brought you on for a reason, so show them what you can do. I'm a really good writer, for example, so the group has me write down everything I want to tell them on a piece of paper, then put it in a special box. At the end of the year, I think I show them the box? I don't know. Guys, what do you want me to do with my thoughts box?

2. Make friends with your co-producers. People like to feel cared about, so ask them how they're doing before the show starts. Once you've established a friendship, celebrate it by waiting until your co-producer is engaged in conversation, then sneaking up behind her, throwing a glass at her feet, and screaming, "THIS IS MY FRIEND!"

3. Do the stuff that's no one's job. If your showcase doesn't already have a jacket presenter, why not make that your job this upcoming fall? Here's how: Offer to take everyone's jackets upon their arrival. Then, instead of putting them in the coat room, put them on your body, one over the last. Crab walk as fast as you can across the showroom floor in the middle of the host's set, hissing. Once they've seen their jackets, your audience members will feel more comfortable. (Another fun option: Greet your guest by saying, "May I take your jacket?" Then, when it's offered, scowl, receive the garment, hold eye contact, throw the jacket into a corner, and walk away.)

3. The rest of these probably shouldn't all be just ways to jacket-relatedly prank someone, right? Yeah,
no, that's what I thought.

3. Keep your religion out of it! When someone asks you to do your job, don't smile sympathetically and tell them you're praying for them. Ditto for telling them they need Jesus, and even dittoer for responding to every request with "I'm going to give that to Jesus." It's not Jesus' job to move the chairs, as I've personally been reminded many a time.

4. When in doubt, just lift your dress over your head, dumb down your eyes, and make a fart sound. Everyone will die laughing, no matter what you've done. Bonus points if you actually fart, no points at all from anyone if you crap. Not wearing a dress? I think we figured out your problem.

5. Never let a comedian do your taxes, even if they promise they're "good at paper". She straight up just drew an incredibly lifelike picture of a cat instead of totaling my deductions. Never again.

Lara Beitz is a producer of Hoo HA Comedy, an all-female comedy collective that hosts a weekly showcase Tuesdays at Rockit Burger Bar in Wrigleyville.