If you want to be taken seriously as a comic, you need to be serious when doing comedy. And by this I mean how you interact with others. How you carry yourself when in a comedy environment. And how you present yourself.
When a lot of comics start out, they are having a lot of fun. And why wouldn’t they? They get to be the center of attention. People are telling them they are funny. They are meeting other people who also like making people laugh. This is what fun times are. But, if you ever want to be respected as a comic and not just be seen as an open mic comic or a hobbyist, you need to get over the initial party atmosphere and get to work.
Look at comedy like you do a job. Club owners and bookers are bosses and managers. You want to be respectful to your managers/bosses. They control the work you get and the money you receive. You might think you are the best salesman in the world but if you act cocky and disrespectful, advancement will be hard to come by. And you might think it is okay to talk shit about your boss with fellow coworkers but more than likely that will come back to haunt you because coworkers will use things against you to advance themselves. Be respectful. Say thank you for the opportunity. Do your job. Don’t tell the boss how they should do their job or who they should hire. If you think you can do it better, then go become a boss. But if you just want to tell jokes and keep getting hired, be respectful. You can give incite and make suggestions. Bosses love when employees take pride and want to contribute. But do it with respect. It will keep you working.
Other comics are your coworkers. You all share a work space. You need to get work done. They need to get work done. They aren’t there for you. You aren’t there for them. You all have a common goal but you aren’t a team. If you are respectful to them, they may give you referrals you need to obtain more work. But, if you act inappropriate at work, they may let other employers know of how you carry yourself. You may be come friendly with some of your coworkers but try to keep that friendship at a professional level. There is no need to be drunk at work or try to fuck your coworkers. Do that shit on your own time. Not while you are on the clock. If you carry yourself off stage like a creep, a bully, a know it all or like you are better than others than it won’t matter how good you are at your job. Your co workers will eventually lets bosses know how you act and your ability to get work will suffer.
The audience are the customers. They came to the business to buy a product, The product is comedy. They came to laugh. If they enjoy the product, they may talk to you about it afterwards. the way a customer would talk to a salesperson after enjoying a product. Your job is to be friendly and thankful. You want them to become lifelong customers. Sometimes the coworker thinks they are bigger than the product because the customer is raving about how they sold and delivered it. The coworker must always remember that this isn’t personal. This is business. The customer isn’t hitting on you. They simply enjoyed the show. How you treat them and how you handle the situations after a show determines if the customer will continue wanting the product and if the boss continues allowing you to be the one to sell it. If the customer follows you on social media after seeing your performance, this doesn’t mean they want to date you. This means they were happy with the product. Do not message them creepy things. Be thankful they are around to support the business you love so much. Without them you wouldn’t be able to do your job. Be respectful. Be thankful. And get back to work. Don’t blow your next sale because you confused professional courtesy with personal feelings. You are at work. Act like a professional.
Most importantly, treat all 3 categories the same. Management, co workers and customers. Because in our business, those roles can switch at any time. The new comic you talk shot about and say will never be any good, the one you bully and say is weird, may one day get tired of not getting gigs and start producing shows. And they might end up booking really good, well paying shows. Shows you won’t get because you decided to be unprofessional to seem cool and feed your own ego. And customers might watch comedy and then decide they want to do comedy. Encourage those who mention that they might want to make the jump. It can’t hurt you. It can either benefit you or not effect you at all. they might try it once and quit. They may try it, ask you for a little advice since you were the only comic they ever met, then become a peer. A peer who may be able to, down the road, refer you to gigs you didn’t know about. Instead of telling dreamers to keep their day job, encourage them to chase the dream. Most won’t pursue it, but they will remember the kind words and become fans of you and your comedy for life. And we need loyal fans to keep comedy going. And that booker you hate simply because they never booked you, might also be a comic. You may have to work with them for someone else someday. That can be an awkward night in the greenroom if they heard previously that you were talking shit about them because they hadn’t hired you. Most likely they haven’t met you yet and have no clue who you are. You emailed them twice and they didn’t respond. So, you trounced their name in the mud and word got back to them. Now, not only is this an awkward time but you ruined your chance of impressing them in person. Because it doesn’t matter how well you do that night, they aren’t going to hire someone who conducts themselves in the manner you previously did. And bookers should treat comics and audience members with respect. You don’t automatically get respect simply because you made yourself a boss. Listen to the coworkers. A lot of them have been in the business longer than you. Listen to the customers as well. They may not always be right but they will let you know what they don’t enjoy. And ignoring the feedback of others will lead to your business shutting down.
It doesn’t matter how if you are a brand new comic who hasn’t made a dime or a 10 year vet, if you are going to say you are a comedian, then you are stating this is your occupation. Your job. So, act like you are at work when you take on the role of comedian. Act professional. Treat comedy like a job.