respect the light

Greg Dean Answers Stand-Up Comedy Questions: Why Should Comics Respect the Light?

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respect the light

In the real world of being a 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 a 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 comic so it doesn’t happen again. This takes time and creates stress that doesn’t happen when the comics all get off on time.

My wife Gayla Johnson was headlining a club and in the first show, the feature comic 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. The show ended on time.

The next show, the feature went over time again. 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.

The next show, there was a different feature comic. No one asked what happened to that comic. 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 show when you may mistime your set. 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, they’ll 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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