Too Professional? No Such Thing In This Business.
As comedians it’s our business to be funny. We talk about our slutty nights, unfavorable opinions on children...there may even be a Holocaust or rape joke thrown in there.
It’s just what we do and with the comedian identity, general society often gives us a pass on how we act and what we say.
One thing that I often see with comics is confusion with being a comic and it leading to unprofessionalism. They take this idea of being able to get away with anything on stage into the business and it causes a headache for those they are working with.
Since starting Comedians on the Loose, I have been able to understand more and more the business side of comedy. While I am still learning the ins and outs, I now understand why it’s important to act differently not only as a producer, but as a comedian. Once you get into production, you start to understand the art of dealing with personalities in a more professional manner.
I have even been accused of being “too professional” by peers . I’m a friendly person in general, but when people see me stressed over annoyances of comics, that is when the “too professional” label gets thrown out.
While I may be a bit of a hard ass when it comes to dealing with production and personalities, I have come to the realization that there really is no such thing as “too professional.”
Professionalism ensures you keep the right relationships.
The major thing I have learned about business through production is that real growth in comedy is heavily linked to cultivating the right relationships. For example, our show at Gotham Comedy Club is a comedy show that we model after professional shows at clubs. It’s not a bringer show and it most certainly isn’t just some bar show where it’s loosely structured. We treat our show with the utmost professionalism so not only is the club happy with us, but the comedians on the lineup have a good time as well. Yes, we may be comics, but we are also producers and our relationship with the Gotham is a production relationship. We have to follow the club guidelines when it comes to guests, bookings, time restrictions, etc. If we didn’t, we would not be allowed to produce there and keep the relationship. Plain and simple.
Even with comics, the ones that have called us “too professional” are ones we have either never worked with or have made our relationship with them less significant. This is why you see certain comics getting rebooked on our shows. Yes, they are great talents, but it’s also based on having a positive working relationship which makes us think of them for future shows and projects.
It is true, you may lessen the lot of people to work with by being rigid on professionalism, but if you keep bending the rules on your standards, every relationship you have will walk all over you or not get you anywhere.
Professionalism keeps your reputation positive.
Reputation is everything as comedians. When you display professionalism, people will remember you and it will keep you on a gradual path of growth. It may not be the fastest route, but cultivating a positive image is worth it if means being seen in a good light.
Believe me, I have seen it happen where comics act unprofessional and people say not to book them because of it. Whether it’s not not listening to a producer’s instructions (running the light, sneaking people into the club, etc.), cancelling last minute, or just being a difficult personality, it’ll eventually get around. No one is invincible to negative perception and a booking is not just about your experience with a production, it’s also about their experience with you.
What kind of experience are you giving to those you work with? Comment below and let us know your thoughts!