Comedians: 4 Lessons Learned in 2014

event-tips-comedy It has been awhile since our last Brown Paper Tickets guest post. The past few months have been a blur with lots of big things happening with Comedy Outliers. This year was very eventful in regards to the changes we experienced both good (being involved in the New York Comedy Festival) and bad (losing our main venue), but we have come out the other side feeling very confident for the new year.

We’d like to share event tips and lessons learned from 2014.

1. Networking Is and Always Will Be the Game

Always be ready to promote yourself. We learned to share our brand with new people we meet. Carry business cards, be prepared to speak about your credits and don’t forget to keep promoting. Each event we produced presented new networking opportunities. We tried to meet everyone in the room, from the waitstaff to audience members and cooks. You never know who someone knows. This year, networking led to working with Yelp, Webster Hall and Comedy Central.

2. Be Persistent, But Not Annoying

Trying to book talent for our show can be exhausting, even if it’s just on a monthly basis. There are specific comedians that we reach out to who are frequently unavailable to perform either because of conflicts, or unsure of their commitments that weekend. Eighty percent of the time, the comic will ask for us to reach out with a future date. Do they really intend to perform on our following show? We’re not always sure, but we still follow up. This has led to us booking some pretty impressive acts and gotten us on popular podcasts like Robert Kelly’s “You Know What Dude?,” “Keith and the Girl” and the Anthony Cumia Show.

3. Don’t Give Up When Challenges Arise

We experienced a few bumps in 2014 when it came to working with venues and managers to host our monthly showcase. Whereas at our original stable, “Lilly O’Briens” we worked directly with the owner, we found ourselves working with managers who believed in our “Outliers” shows, but the venue owners did not. This led to us having several one-offs at various venues throughout the year, which was exhausting and trying on our confidence. Our fans’ consistent support, despite venue changes helped us get through these hiccups.

4. Make Sure Your Following Feels Appreciated

This year, we began charging a small cover for our shows, changed venues several times, and took part in the New York Comedy Festival. We made sure our audience understood why these changes were happening and ensured them that our shows would maintain the same level of “Comedy Outliers” quality. With our recent New York Comedy Festival showcase, it was extremely important for us to tell our faithful audience how wonderful it was to have had their support over the past two and a half years. Allowing our audience to feel a part of our achievements was rewarding for us and them. It creates a sense of community that will hopefully drive us to even greater heights in year three. 

With the year wrapping up, it’s fitting that our upcoming holiday showcase brings us back to where it all started: Lilly O’Briens. Lilly’s has moved to a new location down the street from their prior spot, but like us they have bounced back and are ready to host our amazing show. So come out this Saturday night and have a drink and a laugh with us. 

Comedy >

Comedy Outliers: A Million Ways to Deal With Venue Changes!

CO29final-normal fontGuest 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.

We Heard You.

We Listened.

We’re Back.

Those were the first three sentences in our first email we sent to our mailing list after the third showcase we held at Webster Hall. Based on the feedback we had received from our followers and our overall experience as producers, we came to the conclusion that our partnership with Webster Hall just wasn’t a good fit. The most difficult part about this revelation was that we had told our audience that it was essentially our new home AND we would now be changing the location of our show for the third time in less than six months. After a successful run of two years at Lilly O’Briens, producing a show for Yelp NYC and getting several guest appearances on popular podcasts we were hitting some rather rough speed bumps when it came to securing a new venue.

These things can happen and while it’s most important not to panic, there’s a few other things you should keep in mind as well:

1. Be optimistic and come up with an action plan! We followed up with our audience to let them know that we understood that they were not happy with Webster Hall as a venue and that we took their views to heart. We also knew that people appreciated our previous location at Lilly O’Briens in downtown Manhattan; a venue that was so random that they felt cool to be in the know about this unique event that took place every month. In the search for a new home, we knew we had to find a venue with owners that would not only be supportive of live comedy but would give us the ability to run the show the way it had always been successful.

2. Keep engaged with your audience! Using our weekly podcast and Twitter account to keep in touch with our following was crucial in making sure they knew about the changes we were making.

3. Don’t be afraid to admit when you made a mistake. We were initially very excited and proud of the opportunity to produce shows at Webster Hall. However after our first two shows, we realized that the venue didn’t quite understand what we were doing with “Comedy Outliers”. Our audience weren’t thrilled with the environment and as producers we found ourselves lost among the many other shows that the venue hosted. The decision to part ways with Webster Hall wasn’t difficult even though we didn’t have a secured new venue at that moment. We had to do what was best for our brand.

4. Be excited about the new changes! Finding a new venue required a lot of emails, phone calls with various managers and hitting the pavement to scope out potential venues. Finding the Wooly was a great success! Not only is it located only a few blocks from our old stomping grounds in downtown Manhattan but the manager is a strong advocate for the performing arts and really gets what “Outliers” is about. In our recent advertisements and promotion we have vigilantly expressed our excite about this “reboot” to our show with the new venue.

As a producer, there will be many successes peppered with a few setbacks. You have to be willing to adapt and show your audience that you are humbled by the experience. If they see that you’re doing your best to give them a great experience, they’ll come back and support you!

 Comedy Outliers’ next show is at The Wooly (11 Barclay Street) on Saturday, June 28th  at 7pm. The show has a $10 cover with no drink minimum. Buy $5 advance tickets if you enter code: “BPT”!  You can also support their efforts by hitting the “Donate” button on their website.

Comedy >

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.
Read More…

Comedy >

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.
Read More…

Comedy >

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.
Read More…

Comedy >

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.
Read More…

Comedy >

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.
Read More…

Comedy >

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.
Read More…

Comedy >

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

Comedy >

Why We Love Comedy: From the Creators of Comedy Outliers

outliersAs young stand-up comedians, we know what it’s like to perform in a loud New York bar where the audience consists of ten people who were barked in by the show’s producer(s). We also know what it is like to see that show’s producer perform comedy over ten minutes of unfiltered, often excruciating material because it’s their show. We’ve watched audiences leave these shows disgruntled and with a negative view of what stand-up comedy is and should be. This is why we created “Comedy Outliers: A Free Monthly Comedy Show.”

We are celebrating the one-year anniversary of “Comedy Outliers” this month, and we couldn’t be happier with what we have built. Having taken elements from some of the best shows we have either produced on our own or performed on, we have developed a strong stand-up comedy showcase that brings the NYC comedy-club experience to the audience without the aggressiveness and pressure of those clubs. Over the past few month our show has been featured in various publications (TimeOut NY, AM New York), created buzz within the New York stand-up comedy scene (we get submissions on a weekly basis from comics who want to perform on the show), and created a strong, faithful following. What has helped us make “Comedy Outliers” so successful in such a short period of time? We attribute our success to three main points:
Read More…

Comedy >