In the real world of being a stand up comedian, you must learn to get off stage on time. Not only is it professional, but there are others that are affected by the loss of time.

If the club is doing two shows, between shows the staff must exit one audience, restock the bar and clean the tables, and then usher another audience in. If the stand up comedian goes over time, this creates a domino effect throughout the club staff.

The club managers have less time to get everything done, so they must pressure the rest of the staff, waitpersons, bartenders, door persons to hurry up so they can open the second show on time. This puts the entire staff in a bad mood. After all, this is a comedy club.

The manager must now go to whoever went over time and chastise that stand up comedian so it doesn’t happen again. This takes time and creates stress. None of this happens when the stand up comedian gets off on time.

My wife Gayla Johnson was headlining a club and in the first show, the feature stand up comedian went over time. The manager had to tell her to cut five minutes out of her show. Being a professional, Gayla did that with no problem. Her show ended on time.

The feature stand up comedian went over his time again in the next show. Being a professional, Gayla knew to cut her show, but it still pissed her off. She didn’t complain to the manager because she knows part of her job is to always be the solution, never the problem.

There was a different feature stand up comedian the next night. No one asked what happened to that him. The staff knew he was fired for not bringing his show in on time. If you can’t end your show on time, there are hundreds of comics out there who can.

One additional problem for that feature: many comedy club owners and managers know each other. They call each other when they want information about a particular comic. This feature will have trouble getting more jobs because he’ll be branded for running his time.

There will be shows when you may mistime your set, which is why you must trust the light. When you get the light, trust it, even in the middle of a bit, end your show and get off stage.  Those who decide to ignore the light to finish a bit or keep searching for that last big laugh will go over time. Learn how to only do the amount of time you’ve been given. That’s being a professional.

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