Wednesday, May 15, 2013

So much for Brotherhood - Part II

If you haven’t done so you should take the time to read Part I of this blog.

In the course of contacting comedy clubs to get work I received this email:
I remember years ago talking to you about your room which u passed on me with over 30 TV credits so let me return that favor to you. Good luck. Just think by September we will have over twenty rooms. Oh well amazing how this business works.

Rather than comment just yet I will share my answer which no doubt confused this person. I have removed the bookers name because there’s no good reason for anyone to know it. The point of this is not to call someone out. The point is to show how strange this business can be.

I honestly don't remember you but will say that I'm amazed that you would say something like that being in the position of booking a room.

You know as well as I do that people are passed on for many different reasons. Some of them have nothing to do with talent, sometimes someone is just not a good fit.

In my case I passed on a LOT of guys because they were too blue for one of the owners of the room. And when I say too blue I mean he liked it PG-13 on the PG side.

Credits didn't mean anything to our club because NO ONE drew. We didn't have the funds to advertise. We worked the meat grinder of "free passes".

At least I gave you the respect to pass on you and not make you go through grinder of emails and calls only to be ignored.

The funny thing about that [XXXX] is I always thought that would actually gain me an ounce of respect from the community of comics that I consider my brothers.

And for the most part that has been true with a few exceptions like you.

And even so I harbor no ill will towards you. I won't waste my time holding on to a grudge like that because it's meaningless and pointless.

You're also not the first to have "punished" me for not hiring someone. Booking that room cost me a lot of work.

That last statement alone should make you happy as apparently you think I'm some sort of douchebag because I "passed" on you.

And don't forget, Wits End is no longer open and I lost my entire savings, retirement and home over it. That's even getting out 2 years before it actually closed. If passing on me does something for you that should REALLY make your day!

So I'll add your pass to the list of things I pay no attention to and continue on. I appreciate you letting me know I'm wasting my time with you.

Good luck with your rooms [XXXX]. I sincerely mean that. Comedians need places to work and if you have 20 you're actually doing something right.

I think my response pretty well sums things up.  I really have a difficult time understanding this way of thinking, If this person has been booking for any period of time they must understand that those decisions are not (or shouldn't be) personal. If a person is taking or making those decisions personally they should really take the time to rethink the business and how it works.

Because comedy is a business and because of that it’s a numbers game, on both sides.

On the club side it’s all about the bottom line. The bottom line is controlled by how many people pay to come into that club and how much they spend once they are there. Comedians are a part of that equation and I would submit to you a very small part of it. You can bring in comedians that fill the room every week and still fail. The Jon Lovitz Comedy Club in Los Angeles is a perfect example. They filled that room with big names and it still didn’t make it.  The only thing left of that club are the lawsuits trying to assign blame.

On the comedian side the numbers start with your material. You write your material and hope that it connects with a wide audience. If it doesn’t you have to somehow find the percentage of the human race that is your audience or they have to find you. Or you have to re-write your material to connect with audiences you are performing in front of.

A part of that numbers game comedians have to play is finding venues to work at. It’s a numbers game because not everyone will work you and as I explained in Part I of this blog you can’t even be sure if they are receiving your message attempting to get work.

Number, number, numbers …

So this bookers attempt to harm me by “passing” has failed miserably. The “retribution” sent my way just comes off as a small minded and petty. It comes from a place filled with low self esteem and a need to feel superior. Having to live with that to that must be a miserable existence.

This bookers attempt to harm me has truly backfired because now I know not to waste my energy on his club. Now I can focus on another club that may want to hire me. I may get a booking out of this yet ...

Vilmos has been a standup comedian since 1992.
He created a web site with Podcasts by comedians.
He is the host of The Green Room which is the longest running Podcast on standup comedy.
He also hosts The Mentorist v2 and The Spew.
His web site is
Follow him on Facebook at or Twitter @vilmosthecomic.

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