Hourlong clean set at a high school, eh?

A while back I was asked to do a clean set (1 hr) at a high school for "mostly students and some teachers." They also wanted to know what I would charge for a set like that.

Doing a clean hour, eh? Plus one that works for a bunch of kids. Seemed like a stretch. Should I suggest bringing other comics with me? And how much should I/we charge?

I explained the whole situation to Myq Kaplan to get his .02. Here's what he wrote back.

1) do you have an hour of material?
2) do you have an hour of clean material?
3) do you REALLY?
4) if the answer to those questions are more negative than positive,
i'd definitely recommend something like bringing someone else, either
to open for you, or to offer to bring a three-person show, say, or
even a showcase if you wanted. you could certainly say something like
"my hour of nightclub material might be more appropriate for adults,
but i would gladly and capably offer to bring you a one hour show,
hosted or headlined by me, with several comics that will provide the
perfect atmosphere and show for you."
5) that said, what price should you quote... first, you can always
tell them that there's a broad range that is flexible depending on
various circumstances, and say that you're willing to work with them,
depending what their budget is, and ask what they'd like to pay.
6) as a baseline, doing an hour at a COLLEGE, the lowest
standard rate for something like with would usually be in the
$1000-$1500 range, and there's no reason not
to start there here. for either yourself, or possibly for the whole
show, though if you feel comfortable saying something higher, go for
it. (and this is all speculative on my part, i have other people do my
money stuff for me now and they might say even higher numbers, but
they're pros at this.) if you were going to have three people, say
with yourself hosting, someone headlining, and someone in the middle,
you could break it down like $400-$500 for yourself and the headliner
(or if you're the headliner, maybe a little more and a little less for
the host), and somewhere around half that for the middle act.

again, the proportions of what you "should" ask for might be off here,
is this a rich school? is it a fundraiser? etc.
usually, if people want you, they won't be turned off by asking for a
high number. the first college i ever got for myself headlining, i
asked for $1000, they said "all we have is $750," and i said "fine."

keep in mind this is low and not ideal. at the time, i didn't have an
agent or anyone assisting me, and in hindsight i'm not sure if i
SHOULD have said yes, because to take less than an industry standard
can be harmful to us all in devaluing what it is that we do, and make
it harder for other comedians to potentially be paid what they are
worth in the future... just to play devil's advocate here, and remind
people that sometimes it's best NOT to take a gig when the
circumstances are less than ideal.

all that said, the gig in question here is a high school, not a
college, and who knows what kind of budget they have (not me), what
they might be charging for tickets (do they?), how many audience
members they'll be expecting (all factors that might come into play in
determining a fair price for a particular gig, which is why it can be
good to start by asking them what their budget is, and move forward
from there, especially because my experience with high schools is less
extensive and probably less standard in general than colleges, for

as far as doing it all yourself, i definitely think you should
honestly ask and answer yourself as far as what you are really capable
of doing, to deliver them a good show. if you can do it on your own,
great, and go for it.

I followed his advice. Mentioned a number as a starting point but said it's just a ballpark thing. But I never heard from 'em again. Er, problem "solved." But I figured the advice might be worth sharing so here it is.

P.S. Myq's new album is available. Check it out!

1 comment:

Abbi Crutchfield said...

This was a missed opportunity to change all swear words to euphamisms (e.g. marble fudgecake) while keeping explicit content and have many angry adults' jaws drop. You could recount your failure on The Suit, Nick Cobb-ian style.

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