Practicing Your Stand-Up Comedy Routine On Stage

Comedy-Mic-300x300There are many opportunities to practice your stand-up comedy on stage. This article discusses several of the ways and places to hone your stand-up comedy skills.

Showcase Clubs

These are unpaid, but they have space for you to get stage time. Showcase clubs will generally have a lineup of 10 plus comics each night, whereas traditional clubs only have three. Ensure your growth and improvement as a comedian by getting yourself a regular spot at one of these clubs. You will be able to perform consistently and see rapid improvement.

Pick a club to be your hangout

As mentioned earlier, building relationships with the people who work at clubs gives you an advantage. Find a club to make your regular hangout, and get to know the staff. This will show your dedication and get your more stage time. It is a tough road, but stick it out and everyone will know that you are serious about your career.

Clean Routines

To really hone your skills and improve your comedy, consider using clean routines so that you are not just getting shock from foul language that shatters the assumption of society’s morals. Plus, you will never be able to use foul language on network television. Now, you are probably thinking about comedians such as Eddie Murphy who use foul material, but he and many others got their start on Saturday Night Live. Eddie also got a lot of his stage time in movies where he had to act as well as be funny. You will also find that clubs are more likely to book clean comedians; most actually insist that your material is clean.

Be Considerate of Time

The clubs you find will have time restraints. Beginners often make the mistake of going over time and creating a bad reputation for themselves. The club wants the whole show to end on time, so be considerate and respect the time restraints.

Put Your Own Show Together

Offer to arrange a comedy night at a restaurant or bar that has a P.A. system and microphone. You may have to do a little work convincing the manager of the establishment that it will help bring in more business and not cost them anything. And, to pull off your own show you will most likely have to do all the organizing on your own and pay for the advertising on your own, but you will have a great place to perform. There is always the option to find other beginning comedians to get in on it with you. You can then share the responsibilities and the cost.

Take some time to discuss what you are doing with the owners and see if they will let you build a small stage. Having a small stage gives the comedian a psychological advantage. Being level with the crowd can make being funny difficult.

One way to ensure you have an audience at your show is to have the other comics bring the audience with them. Have their amount of time on stage be determined by how many people they put in the audience, and if they don’t have any they don’t get to perform. This is a very popular technique being used in comedy clubs right now.

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Benefits Of Hiring Party Planners

Corporate picnics and outdoor parties have become a trend these days with many companies arranging different types of picnics and parties. These kinds of activities make a different impact on the performance of the firm and create a stronger bonding between the employees and company. Thus, it is necessary that these events and picnics are planned in the right manner so that everyone enjoys it. Company party planning and picnics can be arranged in the best way with the help of an event planning company. These companies organize many activities which help in team building which improves the performance of the company and the communication skills.

It is better to hire an event management company for all these events so that everyone can enjoy the party or event without any problems or responsibilities. Many times the employees’ families are also invited for these company parties or picnics which makes the atmosphere even more interesting. The event planning companies provide all the services that are required to make the event successful. It is a misconception that hiring an event management company for company party planning can prove to be quite expensive. There are many advantages associated with it. If you are planning for a BBQ party then it becomes very difficult to find the right kind of venue. However, a party planning company will find the right kind of venue for the party and also make sure that you are allowed to make the necessary arrangements like music, inflatables and the place is big enough to accommodate all the guests. BBQ catering San Francisco provides the best catering service.

You don’t have to worry about the menu or food transportation if you hire an event management company. you can also ask them to prepare some delicious BBQ treats which can be prepared at the venue itself and served hot. The event management companies also provide transportation services in case of company picnics. The transportation rates are quite low and affordable. Entertainment is the key factor which will enhance the whole event and make an everlasting impression in the minds of the guests. The party planning companies offer different types of entertainment services like personal performers, games and face painting. It is better to let the event planner decide what kinds of activities will be enjoyed by the people like there can be a different set of activities for the kids. Thus, these were some of the benefits of hiring an event planning company for company party planning and picnics. You can find many companies online which provide good company party planning service and assistance.

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Top Tips For Booking Entertainment

1. Know your event objective. If the aim of the event is to educate people then the entertainment is not the key element of the event. You would do better to use some light form of entertainment during the break to help attendees unwind and relax rather than anything that is going to be overpowering. If however you are organizing a corporate gala dinner then you may need to book a headline that can really entertain

2. Know your audience. The attendees of the event will also play a large part in your choice. Using a Blue Comedian would not be appropriate for a corporate family fun day, but a good selection of street performers, face painter and caricaturists would be an excellent choice.

3. Know the theme of your event. The theme of any event will dictate the style of entertainment used. If you have a Las Vegas theme then some fun casino tables and an Elvis Impersonator would be appropriate. If however your theme is more subtle such as a black tie dinner it might be a simple matter of booking a good function band to play two sets.

4. Know your Budget. Always know how much of your budget has been set aside for your music and entertainment. You cant possibly start to research entertainment ideas until you know how much you have to spend in the first place.

5. Know what is included in the Fee. There are often travel expenses added on top of an artists fee dependent upon the location of the event. You will also need to clarify whether or not they require you to provide a PA & lights of if they will be providing all their own equipment. You dont want to be left with any nasty surprises so always remember to ask these questions.

6. Know their experience. Ask for testimonials and review. Dont be frightened to ask them what types of events they have performed at and how long they have been performing for. Another good question to ask is whether or not this is their full time job or just something they do on the side for a bit of fun.

My last piece of advice would be to try and see whoever you book in person before committing to a booking. As wonderful as show reels and demo CDs are they dont necessarily give you an honest picture of their performance. You need to see what they are like when in front of a live audience. Can they work a crowd? Are they professional? Do they dress appropriately? Try before you buy and do your homework. A little investment upfront saves a lot of hassle further down the track and will give you peace of mind.

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Tips When Buying Concert Tickets

For many people, listening to music is one way to relieve stress and relax. When you hear your favourite music being played, you will naturally feel more alive even if you are driving your car, cleaning the house or even inside the mall. You can surely listen to music just about anywhere. You can purchase and download songs and upload these into the device of your choice or simply listen on your laptop or desktop computer while you are working or studying.

No matter what way you choose to listen to your music, nothing beats seeing your favourite artist perform live in a large venue. Sure, there is an incomparable intimacy between a band and its live audience in a small venue, like a lounge or bar. However, words often fail to describe the concert-going experience. A concert is a pleasurable assault on one’s senses – from the artist performing, to the stage and light design, and even to singing in unison with other passionate fans.

Of course, watching an artist or band perform after a long hiatus or reuniting after a long breakup can also make attending a live concert even more enticing – even a hundred times better than watching the same performance online.

But how do you get to buy the best concert seats? Before tickets are released online, a substantial portion of tickets are allocated for online pre-sales. Pre-sales of tickets for concerts typically fall under two categories, the first one being allocated for fans and the second being allocated for sponsoring companies (typically, credit card companies).

In order to purchase tickets, prospective buyers must know beforehand a specific code. To get these codes, you either have to be a member of a fan club or subscribe to a particular credit card company. If you fail to purchase pre-sale tickets, you will have to wait until tickets are released for the general public. Do note that during this period, you may be competing with other fans for a limited amount of tickets. As such, try to go online as early as possible to increase your chance of purchasing tickets. This also gives you ample time to register.

Another worthwhile strategy you can try is to use as many devices as you can in logging to the ticket seller’s website, including using your smartphone and tablet. However, if you fail to purchase a ticket, you do not necessarily have to resort to purchasing tickets from a scalper selling them at a ridiculously high price. Sometimes, there are instances wherein additional tickets are sold a few days before the actual date of the event.

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Hire a Magician Tips

For a lot of people the last time they wanted a magician at their party was when they were 8 years old but magicians don’t just work for children. Adults have always been a great audience for magic because they have defined critical thinking. They “know” it isn’t “real magic” but if the performer does his job right he can bring about the childlike state of wonder in an adult. A good magician can bring you right back to experience the fuzzy feeling you had as a kid when your grandfather pulled a coin out of your ear.

There are 3 styles of magic that are most often hired for events where adults are in the majority.

Close-up magic (the most popular choice for people hiring magicians)

Cabaret shows

Drawing room shows

Close-up magic is often seen at cocktail parties where the magician mingles amongst the guests performing miracles with borrowed objects and simple objects he has on him. He works without a table and uses people hands when he needs to. This is an excellent choice if all the guests will be standing with drinks and eating finger food.

Another type of close-up magic that is closely related to strolling magic is table magic. Table magic is performed between the courses at dinners, wedding breakfasts, balls and banquets. You are more likely to see a short (between 3 – 8 minutes) mini cabaret act that has a structured feel to it. The magician may use the table but it will be as unobtrusive as possible because at banquets there is a premium on table real estate.

Close-up magicians are being hired more and more for Trade Shows to draw people to the stand with customised magic presentations. Presentations are designed to showcase the features and benefits of the stand they are representing but with amazing magic and not just dry sales pitches.

Cabaret Shows are a great way for a lot of people to see some great magic in a relatively short space of time. Often a close-up magician who has performed strolling/table magic before hand will also do a 20 minute cabaret act after dinner.

There are many different styles of cabaret magician – comedy, traditional manipulation act to music, mind reading etc. The type of event you are organizing will dictate the type of cabaret magician you will require. If you would like lots of audience participation and laughter go for a comedy magician, if there will be lots of non-English speakers present then go for a visual act like the manipulator and if it is a very business orientated environed maybe a mind reader would be more suited.

You also see cabaret magicians at comedy clubs, cruise ships and also occasionally at motivational events where the magic is combined with a motivational speech.

Drawing room shows were almost a dead art for nearly a 100 years. They were immensely popular with the Victorians where the gentry would all gather to watch a conjurer perform magic. In recent years it is coming back into fashion at private parties where a magician may perform after dinner for 30 minutes or so. This is a taste of days gone by and is close enough for apparently no shenanigans to be going on yet far enough away to use larger effects for everyone to see. This kind of show is most related to a cabaret show but the effects are smaller and it is more interactive as the audience in only a few feet away.

When choosing a professional magician it is important to choose wisely as in any industry there are “cowboys”.

Questions you may like to ask any prospective performer you are engaging are…

How long have you been a professional?
Some magicians may seem great on paper but as all know paper doesn’t refuse ink. Experience is the key in this industry so make sure they have cut their teeth.

Can I see you perform?
The answer depends on the type of performer you are considering engaging. If it’s a cabaret magician he may well work at comedy clubs where you can go and see him perform and close-up magicians often work at hotels, restaurants and bars as the resident entertainer several times a week. If it’s open to the public then go and see them work. However if the performer works mainly at corporate events, weddings and/or trade shows you may find it impossible to see him work live as these are closed events.

Have you got a brochure/video I can see?

Most professional performers will have promotional kits including photographs, video and brochure. A good promo kit doesn’t mean they are a good magician, it may just mean they know somebody who works at a printing press. A cheap and tatty looking promo kit doesn’t definitely mean the performer is bad, but it does show a lack of professionalism and that is a warning sign. In this day and age some performers have no hard copy for promotional use as it dates so quickly so there website acts as the brochure. If the website looks like it was made from cut outs of magazines then they are not interested in making a good first impression. Would you trust somebody who didn’t make a good first impression at your event?

Does the price include VAT and any other charges?

When in negotiations don’t forget to clarify if there as any other expense other than fee quoted.

What magic tricks do you do?

You should be able to gain a good idea of the style of the magician from any online or hardcopy brochure but if you want to know what kind of effects he/she performs – go ahead and ask!

Are you a member of any magic societies or performer bodies?

Many magicians will be members of different magic clubs around the world. In the UK the most prestigious is the The Magic Circle where there are only 1500 hundred members world wide and you have to perform in front of experienced peers to gain membership. Again in the UK you will find many magicians are members of Equity the performs union which is another sign of their professionalism.

Have you got any referees I could phone?

This may seem like a reasonable question but a lot of magician’s work mainly in the corporate area and are not permitted to pass out the contact details of their bookers. You should be able to see testimonials and letters from clients on the websites/brochures. Of course the best way is personal recommendation; ask friends if they have ever hired a magician.

Have you got public liability insurance?

This is crucial. The magician will be in close contact to your guests and maybe borrowing objects from them for effects. You don’t want to end up with a magician who isn’t covered!

I hope this all helps to give you a better idea of the different types of magic that are available for you to hire for your next event and what to look out for when hiring.

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Finding a Good Corporate Event Singer Guide

There is nothing to make a corporate event go better than some quality musical entertainment, and there is a variety of different types of singer available, ranging from opera singers for hire right through to those who offer a more traditional rat pack style. Finding a good singer, however, is potentially quite difficult, so here are some tips on how to go about that.

The first thing to remember when looking for a corporate event singer is to consider the style of music that is best suited to the occasion. Whereas more relaxed music might be more appropriate for certain casual corporate gatherings, there are more sophisticated options for those who are looking to make a real impression.

The first step therefore is to carefully consider the particular theme of your event and the impression that you want to make on your guests. For sophisticated and traditional events, consider having an opera singer or several, or simply look for a solely instrumental band or a string quartet.

For a livelier occasion, one choice is to hire a rat pack style or swing style singer. This type of music can add a lot of dynamism to any occasion, and remains one of the most popular choices not only for corporate events but also for many other special occasions, including private parties and public celebrations.

After you have thought about what type of singer that you are looking for, it is next time to find a professional who can perform your corporate event who has a lot of experience in delivering this particular style of performance. Indeed, many singers will specialise in performing at just a handful of different types of event to ensure that they deliver an unbeatable service.

It is therefore advisable to choose a specialist rather than a generalist. At your corporate event you will no doubt need someone to be able to deliver a truly professional performance and one that is fitting of your company. This can be important if you have any special guests at your event, so choosing a high quality singer who has experience performing in this kind of environment is essential.

This leads on to the next point and that is to look for someone who has adequate references from other companies that they have performed for. A good event singer will have a long list of testimonials from those who have been truly satisfied with their performances. After finding a person whose style suits you, asking for references is absolutely essential.

In addition to looking for references and also taking the time to consider the musical style that you want, the next thing to do is to make sure that you choose someone who is not only professional in their performance but also in their service, particularly in their communications with you.

It is important to choose someone who is a communicative individual because you will no doubt have a number of details to sort out before the actual big day itself. The singer should be able to inform you efficiently from start to finish of the entire service and will help put your mind at ease.

This is important not only in order to make sure that everything is arranged correctly, but also because a professional corporate event singer’s conscientiousness will likely mean that you get a much better service that is adapted to you.

A successful performance is not restricted to hiring a quality singer, as a professional will be able to tailor your track list, his or her dress, sound system and performance to your own unique company needs.

These are just a few tips to help you find the right singer for your corporate event. From considering the theme and type of music that you wish to enjoy, to discovering if your singer is communicative and therefore able to address your needs and concerns, all these pieces of advice can help you avoid any unpleasant experiences and ensure that everyone has a great time on the big day.

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Tips on Hiring a Performer

Tip #1 Organize Your Information

Before going out and calling up entertainers, be sure you’ve got all the information about your event so that you can convey exactly what you need and want. This will allow the entertainer to give you an accurate quote and make suggestions that will fit your event specifically. The most critical piece of information you’ll need is the date of the event. If the entertainer isn’t available when you need them, you can quickly move on to the next option.

The most common mistake when trying to hire entertainment is sending a short email asking for pricing and availability. The entertainer can’t give you a price if they don’t know what exactly you want. It’s like walking into Target and asking how much it would cost to buy something. Well, that depends on what you want. The more detail you can provide, the more accurate the performer’s response will be, streamlining the process for everyone.

After finding out if the artist is available, take a few minutes to tell them all about your event.What is the goal of the event? How many people are coming? What is the age group of the attendees? Where is the event being held? How long and how often would you like the performance for? Chances are that they have done plenty of events like the one you are planning so they know what to do and can even make suggestions to make it even better.

If, by chance, you are asking for a kind of entertainment that they don’t provide or they are unavailable, don’t be afraid to ask them to make suggestions for other entertainers that would work well with your event.

Tip #2 How To Tell If The Performer Is Any Good

Any good performer will have their own contract, technical rider, performers insurance, and glowing references from other clients that have hired them. Check out their website and look at any videos they have posted.

You can learn a lot about a performer by looking at the promotional materials. This is how they choose to present themselves to the world; this is who they are and what they do. Let these tools be helpful to you.

Tip #3 Discussing Pricing

There are two ways to go about pricing: 1) tell them your budget and they will offer the amount of entertainment that will fit that budget, or 2) ask them what they’ll charge for the kinds of entertainment you’d like. Don’t worry if their price doesn’t match the budget, they should have different options at different price points. For example, they can do a shorter show or take out parts of the show that may be harder to transport in order to lower the price. If it’s simply not a good fit, they should be able to make a recommendation for someone who may be able to meet your needs and/or wants.

You can also offer other things other than money to get a lower price- no, this does not mean publicity. Entertainers have gotten way too many emails from clients that offer “good publicity” in lieu of payment. However, professional pictures, video, or other services at the event such as the ability to sell merchandise, could be a great way to negotiate a lower price.

Some clients will set up gigs in the area with other organizations in order to share the cost of bringing in a performer. Others forbid the artist from doing additional shows around the area during the time they have hired them. If you have a preference one way or the other, state this up front. If you discourage other work in the area, make sure you are paying enough that the event by itself is worth it.

Be sure to ask about travel expenses. This can include the price of a hotel room, rental car, airfare or gas, shipping costs and anything else associated with getting themselves, their assistants, and their equipment to your venue. This expense is often in addition to the price of the performance. Some performers include travel in their quote, including myself. Again, ask up front. This can make a huge difference in whether or not you are compatible for one another.

If your event is run by a committee, designate one person to be in contact with the performers, and if possible, empower that person to make decisions about price ranges and hiring. It is confusing to deal with several different people from an event, or to have one person who really wants your act contact you before being authorized to do so by the group.

Tip #4 Hiring the Performer

You’ve found the entertainment you want and are ready to make it official! Often performers will ask for a deposit to be returned with the contract to hold the date for you. Return these items quickly because typically a performer’s availability is first come, first serve. If two clients are asking about the same date, whoever is the first to return the contract and deposit, will get the date. The rest of the fee is often due at the day of the event, though it is possible to pay ahead of time or make other arrangements. Normally the performer is paid by check, though some performers have the ability to take credit cards, and of course everyone accepts cash.

The performer can also help you promote your event. Ask them for pictures and video that can be used in advertising and promotion. Most performers have social networking and can let their followers know the when and where of your event if it is open to the public.

Tip #5 Carefully Look Over the Contract and Technical Rider

Be sure to take a careful look over the contract and technical rider the performer provides. The contract is going to outline everything that you’ve agreed upon, including who provides what, when, and how. Make sure that everything you need from the performer is written in the contract.

The technical rider, is a list of things that the performer needs in order to put on the best show possible and do it safely. If you need any changes, or if you have any questions about the contract or the technical rider, communicate this clearly to the performer. They love to hear that you’ve taken a close look at the details and are there to help you with anything you need.

Make sure you share the Technical Rider with the people or person in charge of the stage, sound, and lighting, and be sure that they have everything that is needed. Every performer is going to need things like easy access to a bathroom and a place to change so be prepared for this ahead of time.

Tip #6 Think About the Setup and Schedule

Take a look at the space and put yourself there in the moment. Ask the performer for tips on setup; they are there to help you make your event the best it can be. Round tables are great for keeping conversation going at the table, but make it difficult for everyone to see the stage during the entertainment portion.

Make sure that food is not served during the performance. In the battle for attention, food will always win. Entertainment is great after dinner, but be sure that the servers are not clearing plates while the performer is on. If at all avoidable, don’t put a big space or a dance floor in front of the stage, it will feel like there’s an ocean between the audience and the performer. Make sure everyone has a comfortable place to sit without the sun in their eyes. If there are more seats than people, take the farthest seats away or block them off so people sit closer together and closer to the performance.

Don’t schedule the entertainment after a break. The energy needs to go up when the entertainment takes the stage. Know who is going to introduce the performer. It should be someone who can vocalize enthusiasm and excite the crowd to get that energy level going up. Ask the performer for a written introduction to make this smooth for everyone involved.

I hope that these tips will make your next hiring process smoother and more enjoyable. Entertainers really do want to help you create a special event and make it all that it can be. Remember these tips, relax, and enjoy the fantastic entertainment at your next event.

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Stand Up Comedy Tips

Stand up comedy tips will help you become a better comedian. Three stand up comedy tips include contextualize it, redirect it, and be transparent. Below I expand on these tips in detail.

Stand Up Comedy Tips #1 — Contextualize It

The first of my tips is to put your anxiety into a worldwide or universal context. You are one person on this planet in this galaxy and in this universe, so there is going to be someone else out there with a bigger problem than you have.

Looking at this planet and those who live on it with you, you are quite lucky. You are able to go to a comedy club while others are hiding in their homes because there is a war waging outside their door. There are people who have had their families killed in war, who do not have food, and who are constantly afraid that each moment may be their last. The anxiety you have of getting onto stage is very small compared to that of others.

Your anxiety is real and very important, however taking a few minutes to put it into a worldwide context will help you shrink it and take control. Own your anxiety and put it to work as energy for your show, after all you have the opportunity to make people laugh and enjoy life.

Stand Up Comedy Tips #2 — Redirect It

The second of my tips is to understand that the way you think about your feelings and emotions impacts how you react to them; you may be creating the problem. Maybe that feeling of anxiety is not because you are afraid to take the stage, but rather because you are excited to take the stage.

As humans we have a natural adrenaline rush when something unknown or someone dangerous enters our world. This phenomenon is often called our “fight or flight” mechanism. It was instilled into our brains as a way to fight off those saber-toothed tigers before we were civilized. You needed to be quick, alert, and stronger so that you could either fight or run away from that tiger.

Today this trigger is still inside you. It is a burst of adrenaline preparing you for what is ahead, so why not use it to your advantage? You have the chance to think more quickly, be more alert to respond to your audience, and a stronger state of mind will make you more confident. Redirect that anxiety into an emotion you can use to have your best performance.

Stand Up Comedy Tips #3 — Be Transparent

The third of my tips is that you always want to be transparent with your audience. Does this mean you have to tell them every single detail? No, but be sincerely honest. The audience knows if you are scared, tired, or not wanting to be there. So, be upfront with them and tell them. If you are scared, tell them that you are scared and if you have to pee, tell them you have to pee. Sure you can make it humorous, but let them know. Most people try to hide their feelings, but the audience can tell so just be transparent with them.

Many comedians feel fear before they enter the stage, as it is perfectly natural. You have just been given a natural adrenaline rush so use it. When you are transparent about your feelings, you will see great results. Plus, they will diminish. Consider and implement these and other stand up comedy tips to improve your act.

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Improving Your Stand Up Comedy Act

Get Stage Time

The best education you can have as a beginning comedian is on the stage. This book is sharing several strategies and techniques with you, but the only way to truly learn how to be funny is to get stage time. You need to stop waiting for the right time and just get out there now.

If you have a love for making people laugh, then use that as your motivation to get out there and learn. As you get your stage time you will learn what does, and what doesn’t, work through a process called trial and error. Yes, you will fail, but remember that failing is the best learning experience. You will not improve if you do not perform in front of live audiences.

Practice performing anywhere there is a group of people

You need experience to improve your performance. Getting the experience may not be a fun process, but you need to put together a strong 20-25 minute show that you can consistently get laughs from night after night. Once you have that show that continually works for you, you will be able to start getting paid work. However, until that point you still need to get the experience. The following section will give you suggested opportunities to get that experience.

Open Mike Night

Nightclubs, restaurants, coffee houses, and other places provide ample opportunities for beginning comedians to perform a three to six minute comedy show. You will be able to get laughs anywhere if you can get laughs at open mike nights. There are some things that you need to know before undertaking the open mike nights.

You may not be treated fairly

It is going to be tough. You will most likely be slotted early in the show before anyone is there or late in the show after everyone has left. There will be times when you get lucky and have an audience, but they will most likely be other comedians waiting their turn or drunks that couldn’t care less. Whatever the case, keep your belief in yourself and the process.

Learn when the sign-ups are

More often than not you will have to sign-up earlier in the day, or even the week if not earlier. It will take time, but you need to be committed to making the sign-ups so that you can get your practice on stage.

Regulars will take over

Even though you have a specified slot, the regulars may take over and bump you later into the show. The worst case is that they bump you completely off the roster. It will get frustrating, but keep at it and keep your cool. The more you perform at a given club, the more seniority you will gain.

Pay attention to your cues

Most of the time the club or coffee house will have a signal of some sort that lets you know when it is time to get off the stage. Pay attention to it. Learn where it is and how it works, and watch for it during your show. You have about 30 seconds after your signal before they get forceful or even ask you to never return.

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Ten Tips to Help You Choose the Best Party Artist

Hiring a Caricature Artist to draw at your party or special event is a great way to insure that your party will be a memorable one! More than any other party favor, a caricature allows the guest to ‘take home a piece of the party”. But out of the hundreds of caricature artists how do you choose the right one for YOUR event? I’m glad you asked! here are ten surefire tips for helping you make the right choice!

1. Do you like his/her drawing style?

As the consumer you have the right to choose an artist whose style appeals to you. If you are comparison shopping, and I’m not against it, you SHOULD Do this, look for an artist whose style of work you would like to have on your wall. FEW artists are able to deviate from their “HOME” style. If they draw wild and exaggerated, chances are they will draw YOU wild and exaggerated, and MAYBE you don’t WANT that. Since you’re BUYING the service you deserve to get what you want, no?

2. Does he have pictures of his LIVE work?

ANY artist worth his salt can draw an excellent picture WHEN HE HAS TIME. look on their site to see if they ‘re live work actually LOOKS like the person they’re drawing. Ask them HOW LONG IT TAKES for them to draw. Remember you are PAYING them by the hour. If you have 20 or more guests and you get an artist who draws one picture every ten or twenty minutes then you’re in for empty pockets, unsatisfied guests and a long night.

3. How FAST can he draw?

If he cant draw with a Three to Five Minute time frame he is SLOW.  The bottom line is that you want as many guests to be drawn as possible. a decent caricature artist can draw between 12-20  caricatures per hr. Keep in mind that color takes longer to draw than black and white.  Ask your artist about how fast they can draw if time is a factor at your event.

4. How Personable is He/she?

The artist, unlike the hot dog vendor at the food court, is an LIVE ENTERTAINER. You WANT someone who is going to be able to entertain your guests and be personable. He/She should be “part of the event” No matter how FAST the artist draws, every guest at the party might not walk home with a souvenir, BUT if the artist is entertaining, that wont really be an issue. You want people to leave the party with a good feeling about YOU the host/hostess. Your artist can assist you in that.

5. What VIBE do you get from him/her?

Does the artist REFUSE to meet with you prior to the event> do they rush you off the phone, or are they “all business?” Sometimes this is an indication that they are “all about the money” and while it’s TRUE they are working professionals, you want someone who you can work with. Ive heard accounts of people who have been insulted by artists, ignored by them, and even ridiculed all in the name of “fun” Trust your instincts if you get a weird vibe don’t hire them.

6. How much experience does he/she have?

How long has the artist been doing his job? While we all must begin SOMEWHERE do you really want a novice to try their skills at YOUR event? While there are some novices who are very talented, the dynamic of a live event makes some of them fold. I’ve SEEN it happen! You want your event to be a success, not some “grainy exercise”for a novice.

7. Is he/she affiliated with other companies?

While it’s true most caricature artists work as independents I find that it’s good to find out who they are or have been affiliated with  in terms of other company’s. For example I have worked with numerous event planners in NYC and across the United States for many years. Having worked with these individuals has helped me establish a track record with them for being dependable, professional, one time, courteous and fun. ANY artist off the street can tell you “they’re good” how would YOU know that for sure? Professional affiliations help you to ask artist employers how good they are. Testimonials from reputable clients also fall into this category.

8. Are his/her prices reasonable?

That is,are the rates  REASONABLE for YOU? that’s the key question. Is the artist willing to negotiate?. You might be pleasantly surprised. I’ve actually come up with many ways my clients can save money by booking me for different types of events and have even thrown in free additional specials at no cost whatsoever. As of this writing, the going rate for party artists are $100.00 to $200.00 per hr, with a 2 hr minimum. Some artists require deposits to secure the date, some desire to be paid in cash, others by check.

9. Is he/she willing to travel

You need to ask. Some artists charge an additional travel fee based on location. You don’t want to hire an artist then find out later there are hidden costs involved. There’s nothing illegal about an artist charging a travel fee, but as a client you may not be willing to spend the extra cash for covering that expense.

10. Has he/she worked your type of venue before?

Every event has it’s own dynamic. I’ve seen artists show up at formal events wearing jeans and a tee shirt and utterly ruining the “vibe” of the event just because they aren’t accustomed to working in that venue. Some artists DON’T work well with children, some do. Ive even met one artist who “didn’t like” to draw the elderly! You would be surprise how many artists “cant draw Black people” It doesn’t hurt to ASK the artist the truth, and to ASK FOR SAMPLES.

Follow these tips and I will guarantee you that the next time you choose an artist for your party, they will be the right fit!

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How To Tell A Joke Like A Pro

It’s simple to tell a joke. Here are easy tips:

> Start in a relaxed and confident manner.

> Don’t prematurely laugh.

> Speak to the audience like there’s only one person in the audience.

> Know and choose good material, and the subject matter of the joke needs to fit the audience.

> Build up to the punch line(s) and increase voice changes, animations and exaggerations as you get nearer to the end of the joke.

> Pick a joke on a topic you are familiar and comfortable with.

Here’s an example:

“A big game hunter walked into a bar in Banff, Canada and boasted to everyone at the bar about his hunting skills. He was truly a marksman. He bragged on – anyone could blindfold him and he would recognize any animal’s skin by feeling it, and if he found the bullet hole he would even tell them the caliber the fatal bullet.

People started to glance away from his bragging, and then the hunter said, “I’ll prove it! If I guess your question right, you buy a round of drinks and if I lose I’ll buy a round of drinks.”

So the bet was on. He was blindfolded carefully and one of the golfers took him to his first animal skin. After feeling it for a few moments, he announced “Bear.” Then he felt the bullet hole and declared, “Shot with a .308 rifle.” He was right.

They brought him another skin, one that someone had in their car trunk. He took a bit longer this time and then said, “Elk, Shot with a 7 mm Mag rifle. He was right again. Through the night, he proved his skills again and again, every time against a round of drinks.

Finally he staggered up to his hotel room, drunk out of his mind, and went to sleep. His wife was already asleep when he arrived. The next morning he got up and saw in the mirror that he had one hell of a black eye. He said to his wife, “I know I was drunk last night, but not drunk enough to get in a fight and not remember it. Where did I get this black eye?”

His wife angrily replied, “I gave it to you. You got into bed and put your hand down my panties. Then you fiddled around a bit and loudly announced, “Skunk, killed with an axe.”

First, if you want to tell this joke, keep in mind the following:

> Make sure you’re comfortable with the topic and read the joke several times so you’re completely familiar with the story.

> Relax before you begin.

> It’s a good joke to tell at a bar to your buddies.

> Vary your voice when the hunter speaks and when his wife speaks.

> Pause before delivering the punchline.

Here’s another example:

One Christmas the family came home to celebrate. All four kids in the family were successful and had become wealthy doctors and lawyers. Over the break they were eating out and talking about what great gifts they had given their old mother, living in a faraway city, for Christmas.

The first brother says: “I have built a big new house for mum with its own private 9-hole golf course.”

The second brother says: “I spent one hundred thousand dollars to have a cinema built in her new house.”

The third says: “I ordered my regular Mercedes dealer to deliver a luxurious convertible to her.”

The fourth brother says: “Well, Mom loves to read the Bible and you know how bad her eyesight has become. I recently came across a priest, who told me about a parrot that can recite the entire Bible. It took twenty priests well over 12 years to teach him all that but nowadays that parrot’s so good that you only need to say the chapter and the verse and he recites it. I had to promise to give one hundred thousand dollars to the Church every year for the next twenty years, but well, mum is worth every penny.

Christmas is over and mum sends her boys a thank you note: On the first she writes “John, the house that you have built for me, is so big that I use just one room, although I have to clean the whole house. The golf course is great; you know how I love to play the game but I’m having trouble seeing where to hit the ball. Nevertheless, many thanks!”

The second was told: “Charley, that cinema has got Dolby surround and 50 people fit in easily. Wonderful! But all my friends and acquaintances are dead, I’m deaf and almost blind, so I never get there. But thanks for the good idea!”

On the third: “Pete, I’m too old to go on a trip and my groceries are delivered at home so the Mercedes is rusting outside. But it was a nice idea. Many thanks!”

And the fourth: “My dear Hank, you’re the only son who thinks and cares enough about me to think of something that I really enjoy! The chicken was delicious! Thank you very much!”

Practice this joke and before telling it remember to do:

> Get totally familiar with the story.

> Vary your voice for each of the four children

> Use your own judgment, but most like to make the fourth child, Hank’s voice, sound like he’s trying to overly impress the other three.

> Change your voice to an elderly woman at the end and pause before the punchline.

Here’s two final tips for easily telling a joke:

> Tell the joke like you’re talking to one person. This makes you less self-conscious and your audience will relate to you better. If eye contact with a listener distracts you, pretend there is a wall in back of the audience and you’re talking directly to an imaginary people behind that imaginary wall.

> Embellish details and animate and build it up to the end. For practice, watch your favorite comedians on you tube and pay attention to their voice changes, embellishments, animation, exaggeration and build up toward the end of the joke.

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