Comedy Outliers: Third Time’s the Charm

Comedy-Outliers-3YearAnniGuest post by Brandon Collins and Mike Brown of Comedy Outliers. They offer advice to comedians, performers and event organizers on how to survive and thrive in today’s competitive artistic climate.

“It’s all in the game…”

Over the past three years, the NY comedy scene has changed significantly. Some comedy clubs have come and gone. Some have opened or reopened to great success. The alternate scene for comedy has also changed. When we first began “Comedy Outliers” in 2012, there were only a handful of independent shows in the city. Now, several shows run in bars and theaters every night in every borough. Some are good, some are poor examples of what stand-up comedy can be. Either way, comics and producers have really stepped it up over the past three years.

Our Advice: Be Adaptable

“Comedy Outliers” has worked on being adaptable and making sure that we’re constantly ahead of the curve. This has presented some challenges, which were even more compounded with our venue issues. Nonetheless, our reputation amongst comedians has never faltered and our audience has always shown up month after month. But even with all of the successes and yes, failures … we’re still here. Three years later. With a popular show born out of a Facebook chat that turned into a showcase featured in the New York Comedy Festival and The New York Times. We learned to take a moment to reflect on past achievements in order to set goals for the future. We’re thinking about expansion, improving our current products (new and improved CO podcast coming soon) and potentially taking the show on tour. Once you realize you can achieve the goals you set out for yourself, the possibilities are endless. Hope ya’ll continue to rock with us as we begin year four.

A note for New Yorkers: Go out and celebrate three years of Comedy Outliers at Lilly O’Briens (18 Murray Street) on Saturday, February 28th at 7PM. The show has a $15 cover with no drink minimum. Pay only $10 if you purchase tickets in advance. You can also support their efforts by donating on their website or listening to their weekly podcast.

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Making Your Talent Feel Appreciated

CO30Guest post by Brandon Collins and Mike Brown of Comedy Outliers. They offer advice to comedians and performers on how to survive and thrive in today’s competitive artistic climate.

A few years ago, when we were producing one of our first independent comedy club shows we were asked by a comic performing on my show, “So since you’re charging a cover how much am I making for my set?” At that time we were so ignorant to the business of stand-up comedy, we had no idea what they were talking about. But after speaking with some veteran comics whose opinions we greatly respected, we came to learn that the common rule of thumb with comedy shows is: if you charge a cover, you SHOULD pay your talent. Of course there are some show producers that don’t follow that rule and some comics don’t expect to get paid for every bit of stage-time. This is because stage-time and money are both valuable to a working stand-up comic. When we ran our “Comedy Outliers” show without a cover, there was never any expectation to pay our comics with anything besides a free beer and a sincere “thank you” for their time and talent. The only comic we would pay during that time was the headliner as they were usually a highly regarded comic who had several credits and added a certain amount of hype to help build the “Comedy Outliers” brand. We would pay for these comics out of pocket, which became expensive after nearly two years of being an entirely free show.

One of the main reasons we began charging a cover (we try to keep it as affordable as possible btw, use discount code “Summer” for $5 tickets) was because we wanted to be able to pay ALL of our performing comics. Another reason was to build the brand through better podcast equipment and merchandise, but we can only continue to produce great shows and content if we have exceptional talent. By creating a budget as producers and knowing our limits in what we can pay for talent has forced us to produce a much tighter show that provides a high quality experience for our audience. It is important to remember as producers that your talent needs to feel like their time and talent is being appreciated. When we were just a free bar show, the performing comics were just happy to be in front of a great crowd that was both diverse and energetic. Now we can offer that pay them for their time that they could’ve spent at another show. This has helped us build a stronger relationship with the comedy community in NYC that we love so dearly. They are always appreciative of the gesture and that’s a great feeling to have as a show producer. Keep that in mind when you produce your new show…spread the wealth!

Comedy Outliers’ next show is at Brick NYC (22 Warren Street) on Saturday, July 26th at 7pm. The show has a $10 cover with no drink minimum. Pay only $5 for advanced tickets if you use the discount code “Summer” for $5 tickets! You can also support their efforts by hitting the “Donate” button on their website or by listening to their weekly podcast.

 

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Comedy Outliers-The Times They Are A-Changin’

COwebaprilGuest post by Brandon Collins and Mike Brown of Comedy Outliers. They offer advice to comedians and performers on how to survive and thrive in today’s competitive artistic climate.

It was time to make a decision and it would not be an easy one. After producing an “Outliers” show for a private YELP event and hosting a successful 2-year show, we were offered an amazing opportunity to bring our talents to Webster Hall. It was a bittersweet moment for us as we wanted to remain loyal to Lilly O’Briens, but with their new construction delayed indefinitely and our following growing more each week, we had to take this opportunity. We were given the chance to run our show just the way we have in the past but this time with the support of a business with a high profile and its own following. Everything’s perfect right?

This is where our dilemma came. After 2 years of hosting free monthly showcases, this new relationship with Webster Hall would allow us to book top talent but at a cost. A $10 cover. Our main concern with this new cover admission? Would our fans come? We had been providing what we felt was a great product that garnered strong praise from comics, positive word of mouth amongst our audience and the attention of NY publications. But this had all been for free. Would this work? In this brief lapse of confidence,  we began to worry about whether or not this would work. However, this moment also brought some clarity. If after 2 years, our fan base wasn’t willing to pay an admission charge for our showcase, which had been consistent and praised then maybe it’s not as successful as we thought. After months of hearing various audience members tell us, “You should be charging SOMETHING for this amazing show!” It was now time to see if they would come through for us. It was a huge leap of faith but with the turn-out of more than 50 people during our first showcase in early March, we were proud of our decision. Not only were we able to pay all of our talent, we were also able to purchase better raffle prizes, invest in a new “Comedy Outliers” banner and new podcast equipment.

This is the next step in our evolution. It’s risky and requires even more work on our part when it comes to marketing, producing and executing a show that has helped us build a mailing list of hundreds. We are excited, nervous and thankful for this opportunity to work with Webster Hall on expanding the Outliers brand. Year 3 looks very promising.

Comedy Outliers next show on Saturday, April 5 has a $10 cover with no drink minimum. Buy advance tickets. Support their efforts by hitting the “Donate” button on their website.

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Comedy Outliers: The Three Books That Influenced Us

CO21final2Today we feature another guest post from Brandon Collins and Mike Brown of Comedy Outliers. Brandon and Mike offer great advice to comedians, or performers in general, on how to survive and thrive in today’s competitive artistic climate.

The Comedy Outliers have a show coming up this Saturday, October 26 at Lily O’Brien‘s in New York City. Their shows are free but we highly recommend you pick up tickets so you don’t show up to a full house.

If you’re in New York or headed that way, be sure to check out their show. It’s rare to see comedy of this calibre without a cover charge or drink minimum. That said, if you want them to continue bringing these great shows to the Big Apple, we highly encourage you to support their efforts by hitting the “Donate” button on their website.

So, without further ado, I give you Brandon and Mike of The Comedy Outliers:

We love to read and are always looking for books that will give us a unique perspective on comedy, life, and successful people. For this month’s blog, we figured we would share the top three books that have influenced our stand-up comedy and the way we view want the brand of “Comedy Outliers” to develop.
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Comedy Outliers: The Push/Pull of Partnerships

272716-250Today we feature another guest post from Brandon Collins and Mike Brown of Comedy Outliers. Brandon and Mike offer great advice to comedians, or performers in general, on how to survive and thrive in today’s competitive artistic climate.

The Comedy Outliers have a show coming up this Saturday, September 21 at Lily O’Brien‘s in New York City. Their shows are free but we highly recommend you pick up tickets so you don’t show up to a full house.

If you’re in New York or headed that way, be sure to check out their show. It’s rare to see comedy of this calibre without a cover charge or drink minimum. That said, if you want them to continue bringing these great shows to the Big Apple, we highly encourage you to support their efforts by hitting the “Donate” button on their website.

So, without further ado, I give you Brandon and Mike of The Comedy Outliers:

“Sometimes I’m tired of seeing your face, but we work so well together!” –Confucius

Sometimes in partnerships, especially creative ones, you have conflicts. As in any pairing there are times of joy and success (which we have often talked about in past blogs) but sometimes there are disagreements and creative tensions. When you are a creative person you sometimes focus on your own specific ideas and needs. This can be tough when you are in a group or partnership that relies on compromise and equal focus.
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Comedy Outliers: Step Up Your Networking Game!

254162-250Today we feature another guest post from Brandon Collins and Mike Brown of Comedy Outliers. Brandon and Mike offer great advice to comedians, or performers in general, on how to survive and thrive in today’s competitive artistic climate.

The Comedy Outliers have a show coming up TONIGHT at Lily O’Brien‘s in New York City. Their shows are free but we highly recommend you pick up tickets so you don’t show up to a full house.

If you’re in New York or headed that way, be sure to check out their show. It’s rare to see comedy of this calibre without a cover charge or drink minimum. That said, if you want them to continue bringing these great shows to the Big Apple, we highly encourage you to support their efforts by hitting the “Donate” button on their website.

So, without further ado, I give you Brandon and Mike of The Comedy Outliers:

We are often commended by fellow comics and show producers on our networking game. That’s a pretty good indicator that we are effective in getting the word out about our “Comedy Outliers” brand. That’s how good planning and understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses pays off. Mike Brown is out in these streets meeting everyone and their mother telling them about this great monthly showcase he co-runs. Brandon Collins reads everything he can about successful marketing strategies to make sure the brand is reaching the masses. We both also give out hugs to those that come out to support what we are doing. What? Hugs are free. And soft when you use the right kind of fabric softener.
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Comedy Outliers: Nobody Puts “Comedy Outliers” In A Corner

co18Today we feature another guest post from Brandon Collins and Mike Brown of Comedy Outliers. Brandon and Mike offer great advice to comedians, or performers in general, on how to survive and thrive in today’s competitive artistic climate.

The Comedy Outliers have a show coming up this Saturday, July 20 at Lily O’Brien‘s in New York City. Their shows are free but we highly recommend you pick up tickets so you don’t show up to a full house.

If you’re in New York or headed that way, be sure to check out their show. It’s rare to see comedy of this calibre without a cover charge or drink minimum. That said, if you want them to continue bringing these great shows to the Big Apple, we highly encourage you to support their efforts by hitting the “Donate” button on their website.

So, without further ado, I give you Brandon and Mike of The Comedy Outliers:

“Oh yeah, ‘Comedy Outliers’! I heard that’s a great urban show!” This is occasionally something we will hear from comedians who we mention our successful free monthly show to. These are comics who have not been to our show before but only know of it through positive word of mouth or the promotional pictures we post on our website and other social media platforms. This is unfortunate, not because we don’t want to be labeled an “urban” show but because one of our main priorities is to be the most diverse comedy show in New York City. Being marginalized doesn’t help us achieve that. We welcome performers that appeal to all spectrums of humor: mainstream, urban, alternative and dry. We also pride ourselves on the ability to draw an audience of different ethnic and religious backgrounds. This is why comics enjoy performing at “Comedy Outliers” so much. Because it is the true test of their comic material and if their punch-lines hit at our show, they know they’ll hit anywhere.
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Comedy Outliers: That’s A Brand Name!

co17finalToday we feature another guest post from Brandon Collins and Mike Brown of Comedy Outliers. Brandon and Mike offer great advice to comedians, or performers in general, on how to survive and thrive in today’s competitive artistic climate.

The Comedy Outliers have a show coming up this Saturday, June 22 at Lily O’Brien‘s in New York City. Their shows are free but we highly recommend you pick up tickets so you don’t show up to a full house.

If you’re in New York or headed that way, be sure to check out their show. It’s rare to see comedy of this calibre without a cover charge or drink minimum. That said, if you want them to continue bringing these great shows to the Big Apple, we highly encourage you to support their efforts by hitting the “Donate” button on their website.

So, without further ado, I give you Brandon and Mike of The Comedy Outliers:

We were recently hired to produce a private comedy show for a private organization that had an active membership of over one hundred people. The representatives who hired us had been to our “Comedy Outliers” show multiple times and were hoping we could bring the same fun, high grade comedy to a private fundraising event they were having for their group. We were very excited by this opportunity and worked very hard to book a venue that could comfortably accommodate their group size and talent that was catered to their preferences. All in all, we were thinking that it would be exactly like a standard “Outliers” show, which we hold in the highest regard.
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Comedy Outliers: A Wonderful Audience

co16Today we feature another guest post from Brandon Collins and Mike Brown of Comedy Outliers. Brandon and Mike offer great advice to comedians, or performers in general, on how to survive and thrive in today’s competitive artistic climate.

The Comedy Outliers have a show coming up this Saturday, May 18 at Lily O’Brien‘s in New York City. Their shows are free but we highly recommend you pick up tickets so you don’t show up to a full house.

If you’re in New York or headed that way, be sure to check out their show. It’s rare to see comedy of this calibre without a cover charge or drink minimum. That said, if you want them to continue bringing these great shows to the Big Apple, we highly encourage you to support their efforts by hitting the “Donate” button on their website.

So, without further ado, I give you Brandon and Mike of The Comedy Outliers:

When we at Comedy Outliers produce a show and say “You’ve been such a wonderful audience” – we mean it. A wonderful audience member is appreciated and always welcomed to comedy shows! Here are a few ways you can make sure you’re one of the wonderfuls.

1. Turn off your phones

Why would you have them on anyway? Pay attention! It’s a LIVE show! You silence your phones before a movie starts, and it’s a movie. Unlike a movie, a comedy show is with real people who can’t afford to ignore you (on screen or on the street).

2. Don’t talk during the show

In the crowd, you may whisper “That’s the funniest comedian I’ve ever seen. I want to support them financially forever.” On stage, all a comic hears is “Blah blah blah – I don’t like this person’s show so I’m going to talk through it.” Comics are insecure!

Don’t talk. We’ll think it’s a heckle. Or talk, if you WANT to heckle and leave the show in tears. Don’t invite that negative energy into a show.
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Comedy Outliers: Blog About It!

TodCO15ay we feature another guest post from Brandon Collins and Mike Brown of Comedy Outliers. Brandon and Mike offer great advice to comedians, or performers in general, on how to survive and thrive in today’s competitive artistic climate.

The Comedy Outliers have a show coming up this Saturday, April 20 at Lily O’Brien‘s in New York City. Their shows are free but we highly recommend you pick up tickets so you don’t show up to a full house.

If you’re in New York or headed that way, be sure to check out their show. It’s rare to see comedy of this calibre without a cover charge or drink minimum. That said, if you want them to continue bringing these great shows to the Big Apple, we highly encourage you to support their efforts by hitting the “Donate” button on their website.

So, without further ado, I give you Brandon and Mike of The Comedy Outliers:

We hate blogging.

It’s sad that as performers, we have to do things that are not performance-related to have people come to our show. In 2013, having talent and a diligent work ethic isn’t enough. Sure we can host and produce the pants off of Comedy Outliers and get listed through various publication’s help, but if we don’t have any representation in the digital realm…we don’t exist.

In some cases, the digital medium doesn’t really lend itself to our cause. Let’s say you like the Comedy Outliers show, then you make sure to like the fan page. Sounds great (and THANK YOU) until Facebook monetizes our hard work. They suggest/force/penalize us into paying money so we can reach you, who’ve already agreed to being reached in the first place! All the work put into to creating our fan base is done just so we can pay Facebook to reach our fans? Something doesn’t smell right. We need to grow out of the manure.

If we want Comedy Outliers to grow as a show, we need continue to build a great show- not a stronger web presence. It amazes us how potential audience members might dismiss our line-ups because a comedian may not have a website. We’ve heard “Has [insert comedian here] been on TV? Where would I know them from?” In turn, we will say “take my word for it” but they want to take the comedians words, in 140-characters or less, before they make a decision. Some people would rather we have Outliers on Twitter instead of business cards. Ah, the power of the internet.

YOU (the reader) have the power in your hands. Don’t judge a show (or performer) by their web traffic. Judge them by their talent, and support them with your…well, support! Come out to a live show (like ours next Saturday, April 20th) or make a purchase of some merchandise so we performers can focus on performing.

This entry would be longer, but we’re putting some finishing touches on our show. If you can’t make it, hopefully the audience will blog about it. We’ll put it on our website. And podcast. And fan page. Etc…

Mike Brown and Brandon Collins

Comedy Outliers

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