So You Want to Produce Your Own Comedy Show…

cclub

Tired of waiting on others to book you? Sick of driving 30 minutes just to get 3 minutes of stage time? Think you can do it better? Would you like to make some money and network with other comics? Here’s what you should know and be prepared for as you decide on how to start your own room.

Prepare Yourself- In order to start your own room you should already have a solid set, or at least something to build on. Prepare your pitch before you go in to talk to a venue owner and don’t go at peak business times, they won’t be able to talk to you. Have a set date/time you’d like to do the show, frequency, pay, and a business card or some way for them to contact you and follow up. The more professional you look and sound, the better the chances of sealing the deal.

Start Small- In your quest to find the perfect room don’t bite off more than you can chew. You should look for a small bar, preferably with a low ceiling, little distractions in the way of pool tables and TVs, and it should have a set up that is ideal for comedy (few booths, good viewing angles, no window distractions). I find a lot of success with smaller bars in smaller towns that don’t get a lot of entertainment regularly.

Get a Sound System/Lighting system- Many of the venues I think are ideal for comedy do not have a sound system set up and renting one can cost a fortune. This system is incredibly affordable, compact, produces excellent quality sound and I have done rooms that seat 500 people with it. Bad sound shows poor preparation. I would also suggest a small portable spotlight. Many venues do not have adequate lighting and a poorly lit performer will kill the set.

Stick to the Basics– No show should be over 2 hours. Ever. Yes, they do continuously running shows in LA, but you are not in LA. Your crowd will walk, become restless, or get tired no matter how good the comics are. Weekday shows shouldn’t start past 9, no one will come because they work the next day. Try to set a regular schedule of the shows, it helps audiences know when to expect another show. Start out once or twice a month and work your way to weekly if there is a following.

Decide on a Format- This is probably the most important part of your show being successful. Different rooms have success with different shows, but here are a few suggestions:

  • – Open Mic: Show Up, Sign Up. No more than 12 comics, 4-5 minutes each. Be aware, some open mic comics will be vulgar, unprepared and may be unprofessional, this is unavoidable at a true open mic. Host does 10 and sets the tone for the show, letting the crowd know what to expect. These types of shows are not for the older audiences that are easily offended and usually work well in dive bars or some hipster scene bars. Give it a title like “Raw Comedy Night” or “Open Mic Mayhem” and don’t try to sell it as the pros taking the stage, because it very rarely will be. Show should not exceed 1.5 hours. Crowds get tired. I usually only pick this style of show if the bar is desperate for patrons and hope that by having 12 comics out, at least half will buy a beer and keep the business afloat. Don’t expect more than $50 from the owner on these shows.
  •   -Showcase: 5-7 comics don’t 7-10 minutes each. These comics are hand picked by the host. You usually want the better comics or newcomers that want a bit more time on these shows. Audiences like a bit of variety and too much of one comic can be a bad thing if the bar isn’t into the show. Again, keep the show about 1.5 hours and bill it as a showcase. Let them know some of these comics are touring and successful so they feel like this is more than an open mic. You can usually get better money for these shows from the venue since you will be providing quality entertainment. Shoot for $150-200, expect to get $100.
  • – Standard Show: 3-4 Comics, Host, Feature, Headline and occasional guest spot. These are much harder to pull off but can be successful and great networking tools for you if you can put money in the pockets of other comics. Show should be 1.5-2 hours. Promote it as a professional show and let the bar know they are getting top talent and should pay as such. Pay should be at minimum $150, $75, and $50, or $275 a show. Some venues you can make this on a door deal, but don’t be dependent on that and don’t charge at the door if the venue usually doesn’t charge for shows. I lost $200 on a show that had a low turnout, and the venue cancelled more shows because people that did come turned away at the door because of the cover charge. If it is a restaurant, you might consider a deal with the owner that comes with a show and meal, and you get paid from that. For instance, I’ve worked several Italian restaurants that do $20 for a meal and comedy show and the comics get paid from the venue out of that.
  •    -Competition: 10 comics, 5 min each, and audience voting. Give a cash prize and encourage comics to bring people out to the show to vote for them. This can be a great way to revitalize a dying room and get new people in the door, and it can also attract better comics that otherwise wouldn’t show to an open mic without the hopes of getting paid.
  •    -Alternating: I have seen a few successful rooms do showcase shows once a week and then put on a pro show the last week of the month. These can be successful as well if you market the last show of the month at each prior show. You don’t even need a new budget for the show, just collect $100 each show, put aside $50 from the first three shows and use the extra $150 at the end of the month to pay a headliner.
  • -Theme nights: These are great for bringing out folks that may not otherwise attend a regular comedy show. LGBT, Service Industry, Urban, College Night, All Female shows, Geek Night, really any theme you can think of. Theme nights also open new avenues for promotion as you can get the college, or group you are promoting to promote in their circles as well.

Set Expectations on Both Sides- This is where the most problems occur.

  • Their Side: Let the venue know the show you plan on putting on and also what you expect from them. Many bars expect you to be the one to bring the crowd and think of your show as an afterthought. Tell them these demands must be met: All TV’s turned off, all pool tables closed, and in house promotion of the show is mandatory (a flyer on the window and bathroom stalls, and preferably a table tent). Make sure the venue also has an ideal seating arrangement. Ask them to move chairs, get the audience close to the stage, facing you, and tightly packed. They have to trust you to set up a great atmosphere for the show. I would also suggest that you negotiate a free drink for performers and maybe a few free drink tickets to give away to audience members to keep them engaged. Talk to the bartender and remind them, the more people they talk to about the show during the week, the better the turnout, and the more tips they make. The venue has to be on your side or it will always be an uphill battle.
  • Your Side: In addition, you need to help the venue. Promote all drink specials, encourage people to stick around after the show, never talk bad about the room and if another comic does then don’t have them back. Remind everyone to tip well, and compliment the service if you see them doing a good job.  The venue needs to make money in order to give some to you, so help them any way you can.

Promote- Promoting is not posting in all of your comedy groups. Promoting is finding an audience that wants to watch comedy, not perform it. Promoting means setting up a facebook event and inviting friends (local only, don’t piss off your out of town friends with a weekly invite to a show 1500 miles away). You should also do up a flyer and print it and have it at the venue. I would also suggest investing $50 and making a banner to be put up during the show. Make sure it says when the shows typically are so that people know this isn’t a one-off comedy night. If you’re serious about it you can also do a drawing for free drinks and have people submit their emails and create an email list to promote. Barking also works if it is a heavily trafficked area. You can use sites like eventful, and craigslist to post about it, as well as posting in your local newspaper and entertainment magazines, most of these are free or cheap. Anything to spread the word.

Run the Show- It is up to you to handle this room. You NEED to have a great host. Maybe you are that host, maybe you aren’t. Just because it is your show, doesn’t mean you have to host it. But the host sets the tone and the rules for the room, a bad host will kill a room quick. Keep the show moving, pick it back up in dead areas, get to know the patrons, and develop a relationship with the owner. When you select comics, be particular. Don’t just have your friends on every show. Don’t give overly preferential treatment to certain comics and always keep a tight ship on time. Find talent, network, and build a loyal following with customers and comics. It is so vital that you own the room and really shape it into what you want it to be.

The First Night: The first show has to set the tone for the rest of the shows. If a bar wants to start doing comedy next week, say no. Put it a few weeks out and give yourself time to build anticipation. You HAVE to get a crowd out the first show. Hand select the comics, even if it is an open mic, and make sure that the comedy is not overly offensive. Set up the stage ahead of time, prepare and make sure that everything is tested and working. The first show is the first impression and you want as little room for error as possible. In most cases, the first show will be free to the venue and they are trying it out. Let them know, if it goes well you expect pay though. Do not keep doing free shows if you are making the venue money. Honestly, if you are smart and really want the venue to work you will find a good headliner with a local following to bring into the show and just pay him or her out of pocket. The investment will pay off if the crowd gets a good show and keeps coming back week after week.

That should be enough to get you started. Email me if you have any questions.

Got some more advice or success stories? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Constructing Your First Five Minute Stand- Up Comedy Set (An Outline)

guy-writing

The most difficult thing for someone to do is to get on that stage for the first time. While your material will stand on it’s own eventually, it can be hard to know how to arrange it and make it most effective. Below is an outline of how I would suggest you build your first five-minute set to get the most out of your time.

0-5 Seconds: Get the stage in order. Put down your water, adjust the mic or put the stand behind you. Just make sure you are ready to go. Don’t start talking and then try to do those things, you need eye contact with the crowd, not the mic wire.

5-30 Seconds: Get to a joke. Get there quick. The audience is judging you immediately, and you only have a few seconds to put build trust and assure them that you are funny. You should have a great one-liner to open with. If you have an obvious look, address it. Just be sure to keep it short, the longer the wait for them to laugh, the less successful the rest of your set will be.

  • Alternative: As you begin to improve your comedic ability, it is also a good idea to replace the first 30 seconds with an observational joke about the venue (don’t insult them), the area, or a friendly comment on another comic on the show. A lot of pros do this because it does two things: Demonstrates your ability to be funny on your toes, and brings the audience into the moment. They won’t see it as something scripted and will connect better with you.

30-60 Seconds: By now you should have 3 or 4 jokes in. Your jokes should be short to start off with. You want to get as many laughs per minute as possible. Most comics tend to talk about physical appearances or where they are from to start out with. Here is where you establish the tone of the rest of your set. Are you self-deprecating? Are you sarcastic? Are you energetic? Let them know you as a person within the first minute, they have to connect with you or it will be an uphill battle.

1 min-4 min: I won’t tell you exactly what to put here because this is your brand of humor and there is no cookie cutter method to building great material, but I will give you some advice on what structure should be in the middle of your set.

  • First, continue to keep the jokes short. No single joke should be over 30-45 seconds. And if you have a 45 second joke, it should have several punch lines built in as you build up to the final big punch line. The audience is forgiving on short jokes that don’t work, but when you invest their time in a story that doesn’t pay off they will turn on you.
  • Second, your set should flow. Try to have transitions and have one joke lead into the next. It makes your set more memorable to an audience when they can follow along, you stand less risk of losing their attention, and you can begin to build your stage persona by keeping a theme.
  • Third, do not get rattled by jokes that don’t work. if a joke bombs, shake it off and move on. You have to keep the pace and rhythm, and letting a failed joke eat at you will ruin the good jokes.

4 min-5 min: Your last minute should be your best minute. You started this set with your 2nd strongest joke, end with your strongest. Hit them with a few small punch lines and then hit them with the big one right at the end. This is the joke they will remember you for and it can make or break your set, even if the rest of your set was crap. I have seen comics eat it for 4 minutes and close on a hard hitting joke and have audience members praising them on the way out. Now, if the joke doesn’t work it is important that you still end your set. Some comics keep trying to sell a joke or go into another joke and go over time. Don’t be that comic. Also, after your last joke, say your name again. “I’m …. Thank you!” The audience won’t remember your name until they like you, so tell them your name before you leave.

Extra tips:

  • Keep the material personal, but relatable if you can. Jokes that are centered around true events are not only great for connecting with the crowd, they are also easy to remember since they actually happened. Jokes that you are invested in also come off as genuine and usually get a better response.
  • No music cues. These are difficult to time, and you only have 5 minutes. Stay away from them for your first few sets.
  • Steer clear of crowd work. It’s not as easy as you think. It is a craft that is learned over the years, and truthfully most of it is not really in the moment, but more of a controlled joke with audience participation.
  • If you time your set and it is 5 minutes exactly, trim it. If you get laughs, you won’t want to walk over them by beginning a new joke right away, so anticipate a laughter/applause break. If you don’t get any, which is expected on your first try, then you will come up a tad short. But short is always, always, always better than going long. Do NOT go over the light. Ever. Even if you have to drop a joke, get off stage when instructed.
  • Keep it to just material. No merch pitches, no “salute the troops”, no toasts, no self-promotion, just the jokes.
  • If this is a showcase, unless you are the last comic avoid telling the audience to applaud for the host or other comics when you take the stage. The audience gets tired of clapping over and over as every comic that gets on stage bids for cheap applause at the onset. Just go into your material.

Good luck and enjoy building your set. Remember, keep doing your jokes to make them better. You should not be doing a new five minutes each time on stage. Practice, build and refine and you will have a solid five for a tape or audition in no time. Got something to add? Do it in the comments below, and feel free to share!

 

Am I A Fraud?

In a recent trip to the movies I saw the a trailer that was overall unmemorable, except for one line that I heard mixed within:

“The more successful you become, the more you begin to fear that you’re a fraud.”

I wanted to enjoy the movie I paid to see, but from that point on, all I could hear was this quote echoing through my skull again and again. So much of what I have felt recently was compacted into that one simple statement. From the first time I chose to call myself a comedian, I had placed a tremendous amount of weight on my shoulders and it seems that with each step forward in my career, instead of feeling a sense of relief I almost feel a sense of high expectations and mounting anxiety. In taking that title, I began to second guess myself. Am I a fraud?

It is not that I steal jokes, or copy a style, and it is not that I had others write for me. It is that each and every time I step on that stage, tell someone my occupation, or write another joke, I fear that someone will call me out, and I will fail them.

What if they ask me to tell them a joke? What if this joke has been done before? What if they don’t find me funny tonight? What if someone is funnier than me? I could have the best set of my career, get offstage and then see a youtube video of another comedian spewing jokes in an impromptu interview that would have taken me years to write  and endlessly compare myself to them, second-guessing if I am even a comedian at all. How can they make it seem so easy? Why does it not come naturally to me? Maybe my jokes are too formulaic, or maybe it will come with time. I am still new to this. But then again, how much time? What if it doesn’t come at all? Is there a time when I should throw in the towel?

In any normal job it seems that once you are hired, that is what you are. No one ever second guesses if a wide receiver is indeed a football player if he misses a catch. No one sees a postman and asks for proof that he delivers letters.  No parent sits in on classes to see if their child’s teacher actually teaches. But tell one joke to no effect, and I suddenly feel like I am waiting for Shaggy and Scooby to come and rip off my mask.

Every time we take the stage as comedians, we are being judged on one of the hardest scales in existence: our ability to make other’s laugh. If we follow through and do a good job, then we are congratulated with laughter and applause that satisfy our own egos during the brief time we are on stage. The feeling is unmatched. However, the second that time is up, the clock restarts again and we have to prove our worth on the next show, time and time again. The stage becomes our own personal Groundhog Day.

Even today, when Jerry Seinfeld steps onto a late night stage to deliver jokes, people look for him to prove his worth. The man has the most successful TV show of all time, several top selling specials, and a hit internet series. Yet still we stare at him, arms crossed, eyes fixed, with one demand: be funny. Not only be funny, be as funny as we think you are. If not, we may doubt your abilities, your passion, possibly your entire career. Imagine being an NBA player and being expected to hit your career scoring high in every game. Still though, if you had one bad game, people wouldn’t stop cheering for you. No one ever talks about the 90 shows Dave Chappelle kills, but if he has one breakdown with a heckler then the media and public drag him through the mud talking about how he lost his touch.

If that isn’t pressure enough, just waiting for your turn on stage most clubs have walls surrounding you with floor to ceiling pictures of comedians that have graced their stage. Comedians once in your shoes. Comedians that made people laugh. Comedians that once shared your dream. And now they are laughed at not for the jokes we remember them by, but for the crazy hairstyles and off-the-wall gimmicks from decades ago. Names few recognize, and fewer can recall. It is the Dark Souls comedy ghosts of those that came before you, many of whom if they could talk would probably tell you “Don’t do it.”

Comedy is a constant audition for a job that has more variables than constants. It is a matter of proving yourself night in and night out with end goals in mind that often result in newer career paths with exponentially harder goals being thrown at you. Every step up the ladder is met with a “The Princess isn’t in this castle” and a trip back down to start on another ladder. One slip up can set you back years, or possibly end your career. Despite this, it is a fear that I try to embrace and overcome even though when I really think about it I am not sure I truly grasp what I fear in the first place. When I am successful at making people laugh, it is a level of fun and gratification that goes unmatched in the real world, but when I fail it is a sucker punch that would make even the Hulk wince in pain. But yet something about it keeps me coming back for more.

Even now I sit here fearful of posting this, worried that other comedians will not share my sentiment and will say I am not cut out for comedy. Then again, maybe it is the worrying and constant analysis that makes a good comedian. I really don’t know to be honest. What I do know is that the amount of fear that I have inside of me cannot stop my desire to take that stage and keep going at it night in and night out just to bring some joy and laughter to someone’s life, so I think that that is a good sign that I am meant to be doing this. Time will tell, or at the very least, the picture on the club walls will.

Six Ways To Be a Real Stand-Up Comedian on Social Media

So you think you are a stand-up comic? Before you walk the walk you need to get good at talking the talk. Here’s how…

1. Tell everyone you are “opening” for famous comedians. Are you the feature act? Nope. Host? Not likely. Guest spot? Getting warmer. “Opening” the door as they walk inside the club? More realistic. It doesn’t matter that you only get a two minute set and all two minutes are from the back of the room telling people to silence their cell phones, just post about it and talk to everyone like you are the real deal. Be as vague as possible and answer no one when they ask how much time you are doing. Bask in the congratulations that will come your way and be sure to give all of your friends the impression that this person requested you. No, they didn’t just request you, they came to this town just for you. Snap that pic at the end of the night that you waited in line like everyone else for, but be sure to tell us all about how he was a really down to earth guy and you can’t wait to work with him again. I’m sure they feel the same way.

2. Friend request every comedian you ever work with. You will likely only work with them again about once every 3-10 years, but be sure to remind them of your daily existence by inviting them to all of your shows. Sure they are 500 miles away, but if on the off chance they happen to catch a flight down to surprise you with a visit, you want them to know that you are hosting a show at TGIFridays. This goes for all events: birthday parties, trivia nights, and baby showers. Turn that weekend of comedy into a lifetime of “Hey, look at me.”

3. Don’t stop at just comedians you work with, friend request all the bookers and other comedians much more successful than you. Now creep, and creep hard. Comment on everything they post, but make it as witty as possible if you want them to see how truly funny you are and to shower you with gigs. Praise every joke they post as hysterical. Did they post about the weather in Florida being so much nicer than the weather up north? It is obvious you are dealing with creative genius here, so treat them as such and share it and be sure to add in your own “hahahahahahahaha” right above it just so they know how like-minded you are. Comment on all their family photos but make it about your own kids, it is important they see that your bond goes deeper than comedy, that way they can’t ignore you. Message them now. Send them the same thing you sent them 900 times in an email that they never responded to, but be sure to begin this one with “Hey Buddy,” because you guys are pals for life and way beyond a formal greeting.

4. Post about your shows in every comedy group. We are all waiting on the edge of our seats to see what you are up to next and how you are going to change the comedy game, so please don’t leave us waiting. Publicize your shows about 6 months out and remind us weekly with new fliers that look like ads for Star Search. Is it a comedy contest? Even better. We are all dying for that $50 prize money that we would have to get a $400 plane ticket to participate in. Are there local groups you could post these in that would make more sense? Sure, but comedy isn’t about making sense, it is about making people talk, and what better way to do that than to piss everyone off with non-stop phone notifications.

5. Post all your current event jokes online as they come to you. Is it the first thing that popped in your head? It must be highly original and no one else thought of it, so post it. Don’t check to see if other comics are posting the exact same thing hours before you, just do it. Bruce Jenner in a car accident and you want to blame it on his sex change? Highly original, post about it. Witty observation about white girls wearing UGGs and drinking Pumpkin Spice Starbucks? Haven’t heard that before, tell us. Got a joke about Bill Cosby’s rape allegations and Pudding Pops? Revolutionary my good man, you are truly living with your finger on the pulse of topical comedy.

6. Did you just kill? Brag about it. Not some small Robert Durst under your breath kind of brag either. I am talking full-on OJ “If I did it…” brag. We want pics of the empty room five hours before the show, the green room, every comic on stage, and every audience member you met afterwards. Be sure to thank them too. This isn’t the Oscars, no one is going to play you off. Commence relentless tagging of not only comics on the show, but the bookers, family and friends that came out, and even people whose house you passed along the drive to the club. They may not have clapped for you at the show, so you need to clap for them virtually. Make sure to post it to all platforms, Twitter, Instagram, Myspace, Farmers Only, the works! But before you do, double-check to make sure that all of those posts get copied to your Facebook profile so we get to relive the moment with you again and again. We would hate it if our newsfeed showed us updates about our actual friends.

Got it? Now get to work. You’ll have that Comedy Central special in no time all thanks to your efforts on social media. That’s how Carlin got started. Oh, and one more thing… please share this online. There is a good chance that if you do I will take you on tour with me.

Making the Most of Twitter (for Comedians)

twitter I’ll start this off with a disclaimer: Twitter is not easy. The best jokes on there sometimes go unnoticed and the lamest tweets can blow up, so take what I say with a grain of salt and go into this knowing that you will be frustrated. Also, I am aware some comedians will say they would rather wait around for people to find them on Twitter, and if that is the way you want to do it then go for it. However, I believe that as a comedian, you are marketing yourself. If you have a product you are proud of, there is nothing wrong with telling people about it instead of waiting for them to find it for themselves.

That said, many people have asked me how I got so many followers. It seems that once you pass a few thousand, and no one has heard of you, people instantly assume you bought them. Not true. So far I have around 32k followers, over 50k favs and 10k retweets all from a little bit of Twitter magic and hard work. Here are some steps to help you get the big numbers on Twitter and gain some exposure.

1. Get Crowdfire– Crowdfire is an app available on iTunes and Google Play. You can also use it online through their website. It is essential and you should probably get the paid version so that you can get the full benefits. The free version will work, just not as effectively. Now I will detail how to use the app to the best benefit to you and how you can get more followers.

Screenshot_2015-02-03-11-20-04

   A. Unfollow- Unfollow between 100 and 200 people a day. This keeps your ratio at almost even. The app will show you a list of those people you follow and that aren’t following you. You should rid yourself of their dead weight unless you are really interested in what they have to say. Press the – sign next to their name and begin unfollowing until the count reaches 100-200 (100 if you don’t have a lot of followers, 200 as you start to get more). Do NOT press the – sign like rapid fire. Just do it at of a rate of about 1 per second. Unfollowing too many people too fast will get you flagged by Twitter and may get your account suspended.

Screenshot_2015-02-03-11-21-06     B. Copy Followers– Go to the “Copy Followers” area and type in a username on Twitter to copy their followers. The app already gives you their most engaged followers, but you need to find someone good to copy. I prefer to copy people like me. Find another comedian that has over 5k followers but under 20k followers. Or find people that might be interested in you. Copying the followers of a comedy club for example will get you followers from that comedy club’s profile and chances are they go to that club. Copy between 200 and 300 followers. Do NOT copy more than 300 over a 24 hours period. I have done this a few times and I almost always get flagged by Twitter and a temporary suspension. Also, you can’t follow more than 2000 without having 2000 followers yourself. Repeat the unfollow and follow procedures until you get past this milestone.                 

*** Before you copy followers, make sure the last tweet you sent out was yours and it was a good one. People click on your profile and you want the first impression to be good enough to get them to click that follow button. Having a pic of you doing stand up and even a link to your own website in your heading also makes you look official.

    C. Wait– Just sit back and wait. Once you follow about 200 people, you will find that around 30-50 of those people you followed will look at their recent followers, click on you, and follow back. Thus you are building up your follower count. The more followers you have and the more important you look, the greater the followback ratio will be in the future. TwitterRT 2. Share the Love- People take notice when you Fav and RT them, so do this often.  If you fav something they tweeted, they will then see you did that and, if they haven’t already, will follow you. If they are already following, they usually return the favor with their own Favs and RT’s. Also, some people won’t even follow accounts that don’t RT people because it looks selfish and disengaged from the audience, so show interest in others and they will show interest in you.

3. Follow a Cycle- You obviously want your tweets to be successful, so here is a nice time schedule that I follow in this simple formula: Fav and RT anytime before 5PM EST with exception of the 1PM hour (lunch time is busy time for Twitter, post your own). Post your own tweets anytime after 8PM during the weekdays excluding Friday, this is when Twitter has the most active traffic. Post very little on the weekends just to keep your followers engaged, but don’t sweat it too much as weekend Twitter is notoriously dead.

4. Disconnect Other Social Media– Posting instagram photos to Twitter is just clutter. They don’t get near as much attention as just posting the photo to Twitter. Same goes for having your Facebook connected to Twitter. Not many people click on Facebook links, or any links for that matter. hashtags 5. Use Hashtags Sparingly– Hashtags are nice for looking up trending topics, but when you are a comedian they can be clutter to an otherwise good joke. People usually RT and Fav tweets that are just short and simple jokes much more than the tweets with 10 hashtags in them. I steer clear unless it is about something topical that I may want referenced, to get picked up by news outlets or it is part of a hashtag war.

6. Tweet During Events– The most attention my tweets receive always come during events where people are tweeting about big topics. Some of my most popular tweets came during Presidential Debates, major sporting events, big news stories, and TV show premiers. People like discussing things they are interested in, and when everyone is interested in the same thing you should capitalize on the opportunity. Bonus: Some automated accounts even follow people who tweet out keywords. For example, tweeting “Nirvana” could get you 3 or 4 instant followers from rock music profiles or Yoga companies. So tweeting about something other than beer could get you some attention.

7. Set up a DM*- If you want your fans engaged you can set up an automated Direct Message through Crowdfire that will go to anyone that follows you. I have had several different DM formats I tampered with and oddly enough found the most success with a simple Hello and a link to my Youtube video. I used to include a link to my website but most people won’t click on links, however when they see Youtube they know they aren’t being scammed and will click on it more often. Just doing this I increased the views on my video by 800 within a month. Then just make sure you have a link to your website on your Youtube so they can find more.   * Sending automated messages does anger some people and occasionally people will unfollow because of it. It is really not a significant number though to be too worried about, haters will hate. lists 8. Create Lists- This is one of the most underutilized tools on social media, period. If you really want to use Twitter as a promotional tool, it is a good idea to set up lists. Anyone who says they enjoyed my video, like my tweets, enjoy stand up comedy, or show interest I add to a list of people I can contact at a later date if I need to promote something. Also, I have had a lot of people say “Let me know when you come to (insert state)”. When they do that, set up a list for that state and add them to it. When you get a show there, send out a tweet to them letting them know. I honestly have had a ton of people show up to shows from Twitter that I never would have gotten to a show otherwise.

9. Favstar.fm Set up an account with them. They are simple and easy. It shows a lot about your profile and posting a link to it in your bio can direct people to your most popular tweets. No real need to buy a membership that I have found, but a lot of people do and if they see you have an account they will add you to their list.

10. Tag clubs and comics- If you work with someone at a club, tweet about it. Not relentlessly, but it does deserve a mention or two. Mentioning the clubs on social media can help sell tickets, and mentioning the comics you are with can spread their fanbase to you. club 11. Seek People that Went to Your Show- Every time I do a show at a club, I then do a Twitter search for the clubs name, or the name of the headliner and see who talked about it recently. Almost always there are a dozen or so people that posted pics or updates about the show. Fav those tweets and follow those people. If you had a good set, they will remember you, follow back and talk to you. They were already at the show so these are your ideal fans. You can’t hand a business card to everyone, and most people forget your names, so helping them find you later is a great way to build up your network and pack the club again next time you are there.

I am not a social media guru but I have found that most of the tricks I use work well for me and hopefully will do the same for you. If you have a tip or trick, please feel free to add it in the comments below. And of course… follow me on Twitter.

10 Things We Love to Hate about Disney Theme Parks

I am a massive Disney fan and 5th year passholder at Walt Disney World. While I love going to the parks, I also know that some things get on my nerves.

blacklights

1. Black lights on every ride– Disney, is it completely necessary to put black lights on every single ride? If so, is it also necessary to illuminate me at the same time? I would like to enjoy The Little Mermaid Ride without showing everyone around me that I am covered in the crumbs of the two Mickey pretzels I ate while my wife was watching the parade and that I have a dog at home that likes to sleep on my back. Every ride I step on, I end up looking at some point like a radioactive Chia Pet. If I wanted people to make fun of what was on my clothes I would just wear a Dallas Cowboys jersey.

disneyline

2. People who think they know Disney in line– We get it, you love Disney. And by all means, feel free to discuss that with the person next to you. But when you begin talking at above average volumes in order to feel like the Ken Jennings of the Small World line, then I get annoyed.

disneypic

3. Flash pictures- The signs all say no flash pictures, the audio recordings all say no flash pictures, and the cast members say no flash pictures. But the second we turn around that first corner, you start snapping away like the Haunted Mansion ghosts are having a disco party. No one needs 90 photos of their kid sitting in a Doom Buggy. You are annoying us, and your kid. Let them enjoy themselves. Put away the electronics and create memories, not an epilepsy test.

monorail

4. The one unairconditioned, monorail car- Why do I always get cursed with this? It is 98 degrees out, in the shade, and I make my way to the monorail hoping to enjoy a nice comfortable ride back to the ticketing station. The doors open, I step in, and the people on the monorail have a look on their face like the I just walked in on a hostage situation. No airconditioning. Of course, there are no seats left, not because it is crowded but because the people that sat down have their backs stuck to the leather seat and haven’t been able to stand up. All you feel is hot air smacking in your face like you are going to spend the next 8 minutes in the burning room on Revenge of the Mummy(Yes, I threw in a Universal reference. It seemed appropriate here).

starbucks

5. Starbucks- The first time I saw a Starbucks on Main Street USA, I almost cried from the sadness of seeing a major chain store invading the sacred Magic Kingdom landscape. Sadly, the only thing that kept me from crying was drowning my sorrows in a Venti Java Chip Frappuccino. Still, I can’t help but remember the old penny arcade and personal touch that the Main Street used to have and cringe that the only personal touch they now have is when I get my name misspelled on the side of a cup.

waldo

6. Waldo C Graphic- I would take 5 hours of Fozzie Bear jokes over 2 minutes of this monstrosity. Personally, I love the Muppets. In fact, I would dare to say that they are my favorite show at Hollywood Studios. But Waldo C Graphic is not a Muppet. The obviously dated CGI and that painfully awkward voice seem almost forced into an otherwise great production.

ksafari

7. Weeklong Tours- I get that Disney is trying to create a story behind the ride, but explaining on the Kilimanjaro Safari and Jungle Cruise that we are going on a several week long tour is roll your eyes worthy and an insult to the real three week long tour, the Studio Backlot Tour (RIP).

tram

8.Tram guide with limited English– I love the diversity that Disney has with the hiring process but there is just one small adjustment I would make: Can the parking lot tram ride come with subtitles? My wife and I like to call it the Peanuts ride because the operator always sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher. The frustrating thing to me is that I always pass by ten parking lot employees with great speaking skills, and then get on the tram only to listen to the Eddie Vedder of park information attempt to tell me everything important I need to know to find my car later.

dad

9. Over anxious dad on drums in Africa– The drums in Animal Kingdom and EPCOT are always filled with off-beat kids looking to expel some creative energy, and that one dad looking to reclaim his youth in a garage rock band. It typically starts with a tap or two with his kids, and eventually the little ones are tossed to the side so the dad can go at it thinking he sounds like Garth in the music store but looking like Animal having a seizure. It isn’t that serious dude.

fastpass

10. Fastpass + – Yay! I can plan my day in advance and be sure to get the rides I want! Wait. Only three? The ones I want are taken? I can only choose two from this category? I can’t choose multiple parks? There is a 7 hour spread between rides? Well, at least I don’t have to worry about waiting in line for Winnie the Pooh anymore.

Got something you want to add? Do it in the comments below.

Author: Devin Siebold is a stand-up comedian from Orlando, Florida. He has a new comedy album “Extra Credit” out now in all major online stores and you can see some of his comedy here.