Planning an event is an opportunity to get creative and bring the best to your guests. Most people focus on location, ambiance, food, and music first. That is a great thing; however, after taking care of those basics, you should consider underutilized yet exciting entertainment options. Entertainment Exchange represents a diverse group of musicians and entertainers, and comedians are a great addition to most events. Comedians help lighten the mood, can serve as both an entertainment act and emcee. While at times underutilized, party guests always look forward to listening to a comedian to see if they are funny. Most people do not have much experience hiring a comedian, so check out these tips below on hiring a comedian for an event.
What Type of Event Are You Hosting?
Start with thinking about the type of event you are hosting. Is this an upscale gala or a casual birthday party for friends and family? The answer to this question will determine the type of comedian you invite and the type of material they prepare. A raunchy comedian may be hilarious but may prove inappropriate for an upscale gala for a nonprofit organization or religious function. On the other hand, a backyard barbecue is less formal and leaves a little more room for the comedian to discuss off-the-wall or even personal topics.
Understand the Different Types of Comedians
Different comedians have experience with different types of events. You can have a “host” type of comedian perform short routines between the various segments of your event. You can hire a comedian to do a “hot set” of 15-20 minutes as a way to switch it up and keep guests engaged. You could also hire a local or national celebrity comedian to serve as the highlight of the evening. The comedian could be featured on your invitations or marketing materials which will surely get guests excited about attending the event.
No matter what way you decide to go, just remember to take the time to dig deep and think about the energy and ambiance guests expect to experience, which will help you to choose the type of comedian that would work best for your event.
Consider Your Budget
The budget is up next, and you must evaluate your budget alongside your evaluation of the type of event you are hosting. We’ve done our research and found that Funny-Business.com gives the best tips on this topic:
If you are unsure of costs associated with hiring a comedian, working with a talent agency is the best way to make sure you don’t go wrong. There are a lot of misconceptions out there about the cost of event entertainment. In general, the bigger name, well-known comedians are in the $75,000-$200,000 range. There are some great well-known comedians in the $50,000 range as well. This is why it’s important to talk about your budget with an agency that is knowledgeable and can help you get the best value for your budget.
If your budget is more in the $5,000-$10,000 or $10,000-$20,000 range, you can get great corporate experienced entertainers with credits. Your initial research will be quicker and smoother if you have a budget range in mind. Rather than waste time looking at comedians that are outside your range, you can use our quick search tool that filters comedians by budget range.
Remember to factor in some additional entertainment expenses into your budget like travel, lodging, and rider requirements. Sometimes comedians ask for that to be put on top of their fee or offer a buy-out.
Ask the Experts for Advice
When in doubt, as the experts for advice. Working with a talent agency is your best bet, especially if you have limitations based on your venue contract or the flow of the event. On the other hand, if you want to exercise add-ons like flexibility in the performance schedule or call for an encore performance, a booking agent can help you negotiate those details early on. Talent agents have experience with hashing out these types of details and may even remind you of information you would have otherwise forgotten. If you want to save time and money, work with an expert in the field.
Budget for Add-Ons and Additional Time
As mentioned above, consider that if you hire talent, additional terms called “riders” specify additional needs from your entertainment acts. We hope you don’t end up hiring a comedian who only wants red M&M’s. Still, sometimes entertainers have special dietary restrictions and need clients to fulfill those needs, especially if they are popular.
Entertainers often hold jam-packed schedules from traveling or multiple bookings. In an effort to have the energy and proper mindset to perform, they may request food, hotel accommodations, and car service. While this may seem excessive, sometimes having control over these elements works in the client’s favor. For instance, if you hire a comedian coming in from out of town, their rider may require you (the client) to provide car service from the airport to the venue. In addition to the car service, you may have to provide dinner for the comedian and their staff. In this case, you don’t have to worry about the talent needing to spend time finding transportation in an unfamiliar city or getting lost or sidetracked trying to find dinner — you’re already providing these things. Being in control of these elements may be the difference in your event running smoothly and on time. Save yourself from the frustration and make room in your budget early on if these changes are made later down the line.
Discuss the Material Ahead of Time
Most entertainers do not want to be micromanaged and like to express their creativity in their own unique way; however, when hired for a specific event, professionals welcome any pertinent information that would be helpful to framing their material. It is best to schedule a call or offer specific details about your event early on, so the comedian has time to alter or prepare material that works for your audience. Offer the comedian and their management team as much information about the event and its attendees. The age range of the guests, the focus or cause of the event, and any off-limits topics are great starters. Allow the comedian and their team to ask questions so they can gain clarity as well.
Decide on the Set Time
While you are discussing the material, use this time to decide on the set time as well. This may have been discussed during the contract booking stage, but we encourage you to reiterate these details when you get closer to the date or if you are hashing out details. A famous comedian is usually booked for several dates, and it can be hard for them to keep up with every event’s details. A paper trail with these details helps if their team needs to revisit an email or text message to stay on the same page and execute their contract.
These are some basic recommendations, but we always encourage you to work with an agency or talent agent that can offer you the best talent and best deal. Once these details are locked in, you can actually laugh and enjoy the night with the rest of your guests.