Stand-up comedy has been around for decades, with the minstrel shows of the 1800s its early roots. Then came the vaudeville acts and slapstick shows, followed by variety TV shows in the 1950s. It was the ’70s when stand-up was birthed and comedy clubs began taking off, with names like Red Foxx, George Carlin, and Richard Pryor taking the stage.
Moms Mabley was the first female stand-up, known for her old woman character. There were few females up on the stage when it first started but there are many more today. From Amy Pohler to lesser-known names like Angelique Bates, women are making people laugh around the world.
While COVID-19 led to many comedy clubs shutting down, with the light at the end of the tunnel and many people in need of a good laugh, it might have you thinking about starting your own comedy club. But there are a few things you should know about making that a reality.
Research the Competition
How many comedy clubs are in the area you plan to establish your own? It’s important to visit as many as you can to gauge the current offerings and take note of any missteps along with popular trends. Attend shows during the week when there are typically fewer in the audience as well as big show nights. Check out prices for food and drink and evaluate the overall ambiance too.
Know Your Target Market
If you have a target market, your advertising dollars will stretch farther and you’ll be able to plan many other things around those potential customers. Generally, the preferred clientele for comedy clubs is young couples. They’re more likely to make a club a regular staple for date nights, go out more often overall, and even likelier to take advantage of meal and drink options, meaning higher profits for you.
Choose the Right Location
You’ll want a venue where you can take advantage of pedestrian traffic, meaning in a popular shopping area or near other entertaining establishments like movie theaters, bars, and restaurants. When potential customers have finished dinner, for example, they might notice you and decide to take in a show afterward.
A site close to public transportation and major roadways will make it more convenient for people to get there, resulting in larger audiences too.
Set Prices and Rules
You can set your own ticket pricing and rules by checking out the local competition. Not only do you have to think about how much to charge for tickets, but guidelines for cancellations, no shows, and possible discounts. Some clubs don’t charge an admission fee, or charge a lower amount but require patrons to purchase a minimum number of drinks or spend a certain amount on their bill to reserve a table.
Get the Word Out Through Social Media
These days not only does your club have to have a website, you’ll need to set up pages on Facebook and Instagram at a minimum. Social media is one of the best tools for successful marketing. You’ll be able to provide your followers with information about upcoming performers, special discounts, or even contests. Setting up contests can help create a buzz about your club as it provides more of an incentive for people to take a closer look.