Tuesday, March 3, 2015

How to Get Booked in Chicago

Do you think you're not getting booked enough? Is there a particular room you want to be working in? What's the first thing you think of doing to make that happen? Send a clip? What happens if you already tried that? Is this whole thing going to be questions?

Here are some tips and strategies that I've found helpful on my journey so far;

- Try messaging from different email addresses. Maybe the bookers will be too flustered by the quantity of messages to even notice you're the same person. Never hurts to hit them up simultaneously on Facebook, Twitter, and places they'd never expect to hear from you, like a handwritten letter to their home address. Um, hi, if someone sent me a booking request by way of a singing telegram, I think I'd remember them.

- When you see a producer out on the scene, make a lot of eye contact, like when you want to get your server's attention in a busy restaurant. Flash a gaze that says; please book me, and I'm out of breadsticks.

- If the producer is busy talking to someone, definitely interrupt them and make sure they've seen your messages if you never heard back. What if they were having a real, or even private discussion? Well whatever they were talking about, it probably wasn't booking you. YET. Make yourself topical! They can talk anytime they want.

- Try faking your own death, or setting yourself on fire or staging some other kind of dramatic expression of your dedication. The more you risk your shame and physical well-being, the more they'll know you're serious.

- Be sure, when showcasing for a booker that you mostly do bits that relate to your physical appearance. Be any race besides white guy and that's your calling card. If you have a little arm, if you're real fat, if you're a Jew, talk about those things. If you're just another white guy with a beard, spend a few minutes making fun of your name so it sticks in their minds, or you'd better get a really clever bit about 9/11, fast. If you're a woman, you should quit.

- If you're under 25 remember that anything you say is too smart for the older people in the room. I mean, which one of you just graduated? If they don't seem into it, they're probably just super jealous of your tight skin and bright future.

- Don't think your jokes are good enough yet? Do someone else's! Pick something obscure, not everyone can keep up with what's out there.

- Be drunk and high all the time. Sure, you can get places on time, but are you "cool?"

- Obviously go SEE the show you want to get booked on. While you're there, try to make the show about you if you can. Is that heckling? Not if you get the most laughs.

- Compare everything to SNL. No matter what. Comedy is comedy.

- Spread vicious rumors about the people involved with the show. If you can cause enough drama, maybe they'll be looking for new producers soon ;)

- Move to NY or LA.

By now you hopefully know I've been goofing around like a real silly head. The very most important thing you can do to get booked in Chicago is to BE FUNNY. The winters here are bullshit, but we're so lucky to live in a City with such an amazing comedy scene. There is constant stage time available and great, receptive crowds that are eager for amusement. You make them laugh and bookers will notice. Nobody owes you their attention, so get out there and earn it!

Funny comes first, but it can be the most challenging thing to control or maintain. Keep what you can manage in check, like your manners, your hygiene and leaving the house. Be kind or at least polite. Support the funny people around you! Maybe it's more important to love doing comedy than it is to worry about where you're doing it. If you're in Chicago, you're already in a great spot.

Strive to be the best version of yourself. Work hard and be good to people. Enjoy your successes and embrace your failures. Remember, no matter who anybody thinks they are in this scene, they aren't YOU.
Get better, not bitter and remember to have fun out there.

Contributing Writer - Reena Calm
Reena is a stand-up comedian, writer and co-producer of the popular Hoo Ha  comedy showcase.