Comedians and performers show up to an empty audience. The chairs are empty and the barman is bored...
Those seats seem bereft of life everlasting as they stand amongst a sea of dread and hopelessness. And comedians mull around the entrance smoking cigarettes, bitching about other venues and performers. What happened? Was the price of the entrance ticket too high? Was there enough marketing or did the portfolio of acts billed on the posters not make a dent in patrons' interests?
It's almost as if you're 18 again and almost no one showed up to your party. Granted, I'm mature enough to know I was never a popular kid. Those that did show up I keep a friendship with two decades on. There is heartbreak felt at the wasted effort, only to see the dip congeal and the chips go stale while the fire burns away your dignity.
Jump to 2018 and I'm using social media to promote a small show at the Nomad Bistro in town this Saturday, and that little memory of my 18th returns. Will people turn up? Is it going to be a disaster? Will it even be a success, or am I going to derail it with my nervousness and lack of tack, as demonstrated last week? During a show I referred to how the Germans call the English as "island monkeys"...
...to a whole room of black customers at an upmarket shebeen.
I write this not to scare you or feel sorry for me, for this isn't my first rodeo. I figure it's a great opportunity to write a blog post and a list of the to-do's you need to follow when promoting a show. And to be fair, these are the real basics you need:
- Set up the line-up, venue, date and any financials first
- Create artwork for the show and be creative with your words
- Try to find SOME money to print posters and flyers, and paste them up
- Post the show on social media and tag your comics, friends and family, but politely.
- Make it worthwhile by adding content like videos or simple biographies of the performers
- Engage with your audience and trust yourself as a promoter of entertainment, not a gig-honker
Respect the numbers and trust that, if you have done everything above, people will show up.
Meanwhile, why not join us this Saturday the 19th May for a wonderful line-up of comedians that guarantee to tickle your funny bone. Click on the Facebook link here or the poster below for more details.
On the 20th anniversary of his death, let's all read a letter Frank Sinatra sent to a magazine that featured a "reluctant" George Michael about performing to empty chairs. Very poignant.