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. 

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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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Following Through: The Comedy Outliers Perspective

tumblr_inline_mji7sb8wor1qa0r4rToday 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, March 23 at Lily O’Brien‘s in New York City. Their shows are free and are first come, first served but if you’d like to make a reservation for six or more, e-mail them here.

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:

“Why do I need headshots or business cards?”, “Why do I need a website when I’m not even making money right now?”, “What do you mean I need to network? Facebook is more than enough”, “Do you like cupcakes?” To be honest most artists, specifically stand-up comics, ask ALL of those questions at some point in their lives. Even the one about cupcakes…sugar is an entertainer’s best friend. Anyways, what we have found amongst many of our colleagues who are still seeking success and riches is an extreme resistance towards being business savvy about their craft. 
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