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Hiring a Comedian - Setting a Budget

Rates for Hiring a Comedian and Setting a Budget - How Much Does it Cost?

One of the most frequent question asked by visitors to the site is "How much does it cost to hire a comedian?". Unfortunately there is no set, one size fits all, price for booking a comic. The circumstances of each individual booking have an impact in determining the price. Prices can range from $200-$10,000 or more depending on your needs.

At you set the price you are willing to pay by setting your budget in your booking request. It is important to remember that the budget you set is very important in the decision process for a comedian to decides if they are interested in your request. The more reasonable the budget , the more likely the comics are to respond.

The following should be factored in when setting your budget. These go a long way in determining the price a comic will accept for a booking.

  • Popularity / Name Recognition of Comic
    Most comics have a minimum amount that must be met for them to work a booking under any circumstances. The more popular or recognizable the comic the more this minimum amount will be. On the comedy club circuit, more recognizable comics are known as Headliners, i.e. the comics that are well known and thus will draw in the crowds, and and the up and comers are known as Features and typically perform first to get the crowd warmed up.
  • Day of the Week and Time
    The day of the week that your booking is scheduled for will impact the price. Weekend Evenings will usually command higher prices as there is more demand for comedians and comediennes to perform at clubs, parties, and functions. Conversely an early week booking may be able to offer a lower price as the performer is more likely to be available and willing to fill in an open date. Daytime bookings can sometimes have lower prices as it may allow the comic to "double up" the bookings for a day and allow if the timing of the two bookings allows for them to leave one event in time to get to the second.
  • Size of the Audience
    This is fairly straight forward: The more people viewing the performance(s) the more you should budget.
  • Type of Booking
    The type of event that is being held for the booking can also impact the budget. For example: corporate events and private parties tend to command higher prices than fund raisers and charity events since the latter events are usually trying to have most of the proceeds go to a worthy cause. Comedy clubs and universities can usually get better rates per performance because of the likelihood of multiple performances, repeat future business, inclusion in a circuit, and exposure for the comic to the entertainment industry.
  • Exposure/ Prestige
    With up and coming comedians the more the booking has the ability to increase the exposure of the comic to the entertainment industry, the more likely it is that the comic may take less money now, in exchange for the opportunity to showcase his talents and furthering their career.
  • Number of Performances
    While an increased amount of performances on a given day will lead to increased cost, the cost PER performance will actually decrease. For example a headliner may want $2000 for an evening with a single performance but $3000 for an evening with two performances.
  • Chance of repeat business
    As mentioned earlier, the likelihood that you would use a comic multiple times can have an impact on your budget. If a comic feels they have the ability to come back for a repeat performance they may be willing to accept a lower fee than if the booking was strictly a one time deal.
  • Location of Booking
    While all the comics on our site are experienced road warriors, let's face it, travel can be a big inconvenience. Even if you are willing to provide travel and accommodations there is still the time and effort involved in getting to the location of the booking. This of course will have an impact on your budget. On the other hand if a comic is local and can easily get to your location they may be willing to work for a lower fee simply for the convenience of getting off the road and getting reacquainted with their own bed.
  • Willingness to include travel and or accommodations
    If you are willing to pay for the travel and accommodations of a comic that needs to travel to the location of your booking, it will not only make your booking request more attractive to prospective comics, but will also allow you to pay less for the entertainment portion since the comic will not have to pay these expenses out of their own pocket.

Other Factors to Consider when setting a budget

  • The old adage holds true; You get what you pay for.
    There is normally a correlation between a performer’s fee and the quality of the program. Just as you wouldn't expect a $5 happy meal to be comparable to a $100 gourmet dinner, you wouldn't think that a $200 comic might be similar to one who charges $4000. And consider this: You often pay many times more for the meal than for the entertainer (on a per person basis), when in fact the evening's entertainment is far more likely to be remembered than the meal. Consider the true value-per-person-attending when deciding on your entertainment budget.
  • The Comedians and Comediennes on are professionals.
    This is their living and what they do to support themselves and their families. Just as you expect a fair wage for your job, you should also expect to pay a fair wage when hiring them for their job. Also, stand-up comedy is not a regular 9-5 job and the performers typically are not provided with a benefits program so fun things like health care, retirement savings and vacation time are something they have to pay for entirely out of their own pocket.
  • Time on stage is not the only time spent on their act
    While it may seem that it that you are paying a high "hourly" rate when hiring a comic, it is important to remember that there are countless hours spent perfecting the act that you see on stage. What you are seeing is the finished product of countless hours of writing and rewriting material and trial and error testing to create the best act the comedians and comediennes possibly can. Laughing is easy, creating comedy isn't.

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