It takes money first and foremost, but it takes more than that it takes getting the right entertainer and letting the right people know which takes advertising.
For the show in Albert Lea I had hoped to get a big enough group of open mic people who would have a good time telling a few jokes. But after spending over $1,000 mostly on advertising I could not find enough people, I had went to different venues and groups around town talking to the about it and handing out fliers at events in Northbridge Mall I even went to the college in Mankato and was only able to find one person willing to both make the drive and also agree to be family friendly. Another person who agreed was someone I already knew, and that was only 2 people hardly enough for a contest or a show.
Just 2 weeks out before the show, I was unable to find enough sponsors to make my free show viable, and without enough folks to go on stage it would have been over, but I was able to get help from Joey ILO to put on a real show with real comedians, and I had signs up at Northbridge Mall along with new ads on the radio but the stations that I had advertised on then were not able to get me enough people in time. I don’t blame the radio stations or anyone else, it is hard getting new things to catch on.
Back in the 80s a company stopped advertising because they already were a well known company, and business fell by 20%. Another big business that everyone knows has big box stores located on the edge of town but yet they spend money advertising. The key in advertising is repetition, even a cute ad is only good if the person watching the ad is first moved to act, and then is able to remember your company’s name and then remembers to do it. Good campaigns take a long time to build momentum, and the most successful companies keep the message out and fresh or it will soon be forgotten as the drum beat of business and our busy lives keeps moving forward.
I was a fan of stand up for a very long time, but often could not find clean comedy and often it was price prohibitive, so I figured I could start a business and offer family friendly clean stand up comedy at a low cost, but as I start putting on shows I ran into road blocks most of which could have been overcome if I had more money.
The problem is a venue will charge you, and set restrictions. Then to get a pro comedian you have to pay them a good wage. You might need to buy or rent chairs and equipment depending on the venue. And then you need to get the word out as I mentioned above about advertising. All of these things can be done but when you’re a new guy without big bucks it is an uphill battle.
The second event in Mankato I tried things differently this time I charged $10 and paid for professional comedians, hoping that tickets sales would add up to the totals I was paying for things but that back fired. I bought ads on a local radio station and did a ticket give away, but at the end of the day I only had 8 actual tickets sold, out of a crowd of 40 which was less then the 50 at the last show in Albert Lea and most of the people were people I knew of or radio contest winners.
I could go into more detail but the point is it is not easy to get a good quality show on and have it be promoted right. This will not stop me because I believe in my mission of providing quality low cost entertainment for the family. This is why I am looking for new comedians to grow with, and doubling down on my advertising budget. I also believe Albert Lea will get better results for me because there are less entertainment options here, and in Mankato I was one of many and there was too much noise to be heard by the right people.
People passing by in Mankato Place had commented the night of the show that they would love to go to another show but they hadn’t heard about the one about to start so they could not attend. I will be doing shows in Mankato again after I get the formula right in Albert Lea.
If you look at shows like American Idol and The Voice clearly there is not only a demand for people willing to watch but the lines of people who want to try out for these shows is long, and I believe in time I can build up a comedy competition, and I know for sure with all the people going to movies every week that a market for comedy and other shows can be created as well if the price is right and the show is good, but of course it still comes down to creating awareness and demand, which I believe I can do and that is why in the next 5 plus months you will be hearing more from Wisecracking Comedy of Albert Lea!
questions? email me or call me!
Brian Link owner and founder of Wisecracking Comedy
CELL: 612-810-4710 EMAIL: brian “AT” wisecracking “DOT” com
OFFICE ADDRESS: 1119 East Main Street in Albert Lea, Minnesota 56007