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FAQ for comedians: How to write a comedy biography


Tips on how to hire or book a comedian

They are a number of ways of hiring a comedian:

  • Contact the comedian yourself.
  • Contact the management of the comedian.
  • Use a booking agent.

There and pros and cons in using any of these methods. More about that at the bottom of the page…… BUT before you contact anyone, you need to think about a number of details that any comedian or agent will want to know:

What type of event is it?
Is it a corporate event or a comedy club?

Corporate events cover a wide range of events from after dinner speaking to private parties :

Basically you want one comedian to entertain a crowd of people for 30 minutes. A corporate audience requires a skilled comedian, since they can be difficult to entertain for a number of reasons. The audience is most likely to be there for reasons other than to see a comedian and will cover a wide spectrum of age groups and tastes - you will definitely want a comedian who will NOT offend any particular group and will keep the gags short-and-snappy. This is why you have to pay extra to get a comedian who has experience of working at such events.

A Comedy Club which covers any event where the audience pay to see comedy, normally in a pub/bar atmosphere.

The normal UK structure for running a comedy club show is to provide three comedians and a compere. The timing structure is as follows:

  • Compere opens with 10 minutes of gags and getting to know the audience
  • 1st act does 20 minutes - you need a strong act here, since the audience will be cold and will require extra effort to get them laughing. Once they start laughing, the tension level in the audience reduces.
  • 10-15 minute beer break
  • Compere opens the second section with between 5 and 10 minutes of banter with the audience
  • 2nd act does 20 minutes - this is where you put the least experienced act, sometimes even non-paid 'open spots'. Make sure the open spots do no more than 5-10 minutes. It is therefore possible to have two 10 minute 'open spots'
  • 10-15 minute beer break
  • compere opens the third section with less than 5 minutes of banter
  • 3rd act or the Headline act does 30 minutes. The Headline act is the one you use on advertising to pull the crowd.

As you can see, within the structure of a comedy club night, there are requirements for different types of comedians. Get the comedians in the wrong order and the evenings entertainment will go flat.

Where is the event?
Professional comedians will happily travel up to 100 miles to get to a venue, sometimes more. The vast majority of comedians live in London, since this is where most of the work is, with a second pool based in Manchester/North West.

You also need to think about the layout of the room. Is there a stage? - if not will the audience be able to see the comedians. At the Cheeky Monkey comedy club that I run I don't use a stage since the room layout means it is unnecessary. ALSO, does the comedian need to bring a microphone and PA. Most comedians do NOT have this equipment, so you need to specify if it is required or usually to hire it in yourself.

Finally you need to inform the comedian how many people will be in the audience. Again, the larger the audience, the more difficult it is to entertain, hence the higher the cost of the comedian.

How much?
As mentioned already, comedians for corporate gigs or private parties cost more. But you also need to think about the night of the week that the event is on. Comedians charge more for gigs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, since this is when most comedy clubs are open. Getting comedians on other nights is slightly less expensive.

Also, if you have limited budget it is always worth saying this at the start. It means that you won't get Peter Kay, BUT there will be up-and-coming comedians who perform at realistic rates to get the experience.

Who are you and how do we contact you?
Comedians or agents like to talk to you, so that they can feel of the event. So always provide telephone contact details. Also, let them know if you represent a company or yourself.

How do you hire a comedian?
There are a number of ways: contact the comedian yourself, contact the management of the comedian or using a booking agent. The pros and cons of each method is worth an article in itself, however ComedyCV is happy to advise on which is the most suitable method and also hold a list of bookers/agencies that we can discuss with you. Contact us at