Important Questions to Ask When Hiring a Comedian

A comedian is a great way to infuse energy into any event. They provide levity and a sense of escape from everyday reality, and there are so many types of comedy out there it can be easy to find a comedian who fits the mood of the event you’re hosting. You may think it’s solely about the jokes, but when you hire a comedian there’s more to consider outside of how funny they are.

What type of experience do they have?

An experienced entertainer is almost always a safe bet. Someone with many years under their belt will be more likely to follow through on their commitment, know how to tailor themselves to fit your audience, and provide an overall better experience throughout. You can ask specifically if they have performed for an audience similar in size and type to the one you’re hiring for.

How do they define their comedy?

Some comedians prefer a very physical type of comedy, or one that involves various props and sends them all over the stage. Others are fine simply holding a mic and telling straight jokes. Ask them how they define their comedy and what type of audience they enjoy performing for. You should figure out quickly if their genre of comedy fits the people in your crowd.

What does a typical set look like?

Ask them what their typical set looks like. Is it a longer period of time punctuated by breaks? Do they prefer to do shorter sets? As mentioned, some comedians may need a lot of room on stage and equipment, while others are fine with a minimal stage setup.

Do they prefer to get the audience involved, or not?

Some comedians are most comfortable standing on stage and telling tales and jokes to those in attendance with little to no participation from them outside of the laughs at the end of a punchline. Other comedians thrive on calling on audience members for material or to move along a gag. The audience you are hiring the comedian to perform in front of will inform which type of act is best for your needs.

Can they provide references?

Word of mouth is a great way for comedians to get recommended for gigs. Ask them if there is a past client or two you can talk to about what it was like to work with them so you know what you are in for from an unbiased source. You may even be able to seek these people out on your own if you know of prior venues and events the comedian has performed at.

What does their contract look like?

A document outlining all the details of the event and expectations for it helps protect both the entertainer and the person doing the hiring. Find out what if you need to put down a deposit to hold them for your date, if they need travel or accommodations expenses covered, and what their terms are when it comes to cancellations and date changes. Nailing down these finer details will help the hiring and event go much easier for everyone involved. 


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