Corporate Comedy: The True Underground Stand-up Comedy Market

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When I started my comedy career, there was no Internet.

Even when the Internet was made available to the general public in the mid 90’s, there certainly wasn’t the volume of information that is available today.

Subsequently, until I had been a comedian for awhile, I had no idea that there even was even such a thing as the corporate market for stand-up comedians.

One of the reasons that I added an automatic upgrade module called Corporate Comedy Secrets module to the new Killer Stand-up Online Course is because…

The corporate comedy market today still remains the ultimate underground market for stand-up comedians for a number of reasons:

1. Very few comedians have the skill to develop a stand-up comedy act that is suitable or acceptable for the corporate comedy market, which pays 10-30 times more than what a single comedy club headliner performance pays.

2. Once a comedian has committed to a “dick joke” or “edgy” act, they are usually disqualified from working in ANY well paying market outside the comedy club market (corporate gigs, conventions, cruise ships, wedding entertainment, etc.).

That’s not meant as a negative; it’s just the way it is. Simply verify that information by asking any working comedian who has been around for awhile.

3. Comedians who do work in the corporate market as a comedian simply will not tell you how they are getting work as a corporate comedian (which is mostly by referrals or through talent and booking agencies that broker such acts).

I was very fortunate that early in my comedy career, I managed to read some small passage in a stand-up comedy book somewhere that went like something like this:

“You can always make clean material blue. But it is difficult or impossible to make blue material clean.”

Related Wall Street Journal Article: At Stand-Up Comedy School, Students Clean Up Their Acts

For some reason this stuck with me. And being a guy who likes to have many options when possible…

Well, I was able to work both comedy clubs and corporate gigs without issue because of how I chose to develop my act right from the outset.

It also didn’t hurt that I didn’t have the usual problems comedians have developing comedy material because I wasn’t trying to “write” one joke at a time.

For the record: I would never discourage any comedian from working in comedy clubs — they are best suited for comedy, there’s more freedom of speech, and on and on.

And if you can develop a huge following, whether from TV exposure, using the Internet, etc.—as a general rule, you can command more cha-ching when you perform in the comedy clubs (it’s called being a “draw”).

But…

There are only about 300 dedicated comedy clubs that hire acts on a weekly basis.

There are over 17,000 businesses in the U.S. that have 500 employees or more not including government agencies and other entities that are in a position to hire a corporate comedian for their entertainment needs (which many budget for and NOT just for December holiday parties).

Note: You can use the U.S. Postal Service website to verify that information about the number of businesses.

Someone also told me recently (which I cannot verify), that there are only about 300 corporate comedians working right now.

Well, it doesn’t take a math wizard to figure out where tremendous opportunities are for comedians who can deliver corporate clean or family friendly comedy material at headliner levels.

Related Video:

One last thing…

Many comedians are under the false impression that you have to have “corporate” knowledge or corporate “experience” to work as a corporate comedian.

Not true. A band or DJ doesn’t have to have “corporate” knowledge or experience — they simply provide non-offensive, general audience entertainment, just like a corporate comedian would.

So it should come as no surprise given the information above why opportunities abound as a corporate comedian with the right stand-up comedy act.

About 

Leading stand-up comedy educator and trainer, providing proven 21st century strategies and techniques for individuals who wish to become comedians on a professional level. For a detailed stand-up comedy resume go to: Steve Roye’s Stand-up Resume.

7 thoughts on “Corporate Comedy: The True Underground Stand-up Comedy Market

  1. This article is very encouraging to me. Watching the I AM COMIC movie convinced me of what I was already suspecting: I am better suited for corporate comedy, especially since I like to have ‘purpose’ to my monologues — other than entertainment only, I mean. I’m not suggesting that there is anything wrong with that type of act; it’s just that I am known for being able to present serious and dull information in a humourous way. So, for me personally, an act that is total humour without having some reason — motivating, emceeing, explaining or selling policy, etc. — would seem incomplete, and I would feel like an actor in a play. Therefore, I am already exploring the corporate comedy market in my area.

  2. Are you saying that if I do “Blue” routines on the club circut it will make it harder for me to book clean corporate gigs? Do comics get pigeonholed like that? I love to do Blue, but I also want to make a career out of this, so I don’t want the corporate door slammed in my face. Having a good sample of clean comedy won’t be enough if I get a rep for a foul mouth? Or will the merits of both styles be able to co-exist? Please give me your personal & professional opinion. I like the Blue quote that stuck with you too. Food for thought.

    • John – you haven’t been on stage to know if blue, clean or both is right for you. I can’t determine your goals and dreams for you. There’s a saying in the insurance business that goes like this — plan your work and work your plan. You need to be having fun along the way AND entertaining audiences at the highest level possible. But nothing is going to happen until you get on stage or in front of audiences with your stand-up comedy act. Does that make sense? Not trying to mean, but football coaches don’t powder players asses. They lay out plans, they practice the plans, then they execute those practiced plans on the field. Does everything go as planned? No it doesn’t. They do they best they can do and make the most intelligent adjustments they can after every single game to make the best (and fastest) improvements they can. Stand-up comedy is no different for those who want to succeed. I don’t powder the asses of those who want to become professional comedy entertainers. I am focused on results, just like I expect that the new comedians who are looking to make headway in what can be considered one of the most challenging entertainment art forms to focus on results as well. Your success as a comedian will come from being a knowledgeable, highly prepared comedian who actually knows what they are doing on stage to make people laugh at a significant level. That’s what I offer as opposed to some sort of unrealistic “sales pitch” to get you to buy my course, promising that which I cannot offer. I hope that helps.

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