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  • Bombs Away!

Choosing a Venue Partner for A Comedy Show

Updated: Sep 23, 2023

So you’ve done a bunch of open mic comedy, maybe even booked on a comedy show or two, and now you want to produce a comedy show. Maybe it’s to ‘give back’ or ‘do your part’ for the comedy scene. Maybe you’ve seen a 30 something comedian who never made the leap folding 100 folding chairs at 11:30 p.m. on a Saturday and thought, ‘I want that glory.’ Whatever your reason, my goal is to lower the barrier for entry to join the world of comedy.

This is Wayne Memmott, owner and operator of Bombs Away! Comedy. I have been producing, hosting, and performing comedy shows in Cincinnati for over 8 years. While I don’t know everything, I have learned a lot. In this new blog series, Producing a Comedy Show 101, I am going to go through the process of building and producing a comedy show.

Sam Miller (WA) performs at Bandito in Cincinnati.
Sam Miller (WA) performs at Bandito in Cincinnati.

Choosing The Venue

Finding a venue partner for your show is the most important aspect of producing a comedy show. I use the word partner, because you are building a partnership. The best venue to work with is a venue with which you are very familiar. Maybe you are friends with the manager, maybe you pick up shifts there, maybe it’s your favorite neighborhood haunt? Whatever the case, have a way in with the venue, it makes negotiating and presenting the show much smoother.

When I look at a venue for a comedy show, they’re a few things I look for in the venue;

  • Is there a separate room than the bar for comedy? If it is a ticketed event, do I have control over who comes into the comedy area?

  • Is there a stage, or an area that performers perform regularly? Is this venue accustomed to having live performances?

  • Are the lights controllable?

    • Are the room lights able to be turned on and off? Comedy in a well light room is always worse than in the dark

    • Is there a spotlight for performers? A clamp light from your local hardware store with a 90W spotlight works just fine.

  • Is there sound system in place, or does the producer need to provide it?

Ian Squintz performs live at Taproom on Ludlow in Cincinnati.
Ian Squintz performs live at Taproom on Ludlow in Cincinnati.

The Perfect Venue?

If I was to design a perfect venue for a bar comedy show, it would include;

  • Performance in a room the bar is not in

  • Stage

  • Adjustable room lights

  • Spot Light

  • Sound System

  • plenty of chairs and tables for guests

You have to ask yourself when looking at a venue, if it doesn’t have one of the things above, are you able to adequately provide it? Once you have identified a potential venue for comedy, it's time to approach the venue. Next week we’ll go over how to pitch a comedy show or an open mic to a venue. What are the do’s and don’ts of talking with a venue and planning some comedy. If you want to see what some good comedy venues are for comparison, come to one of our comedy shows in Cincinnati. Comedians are always free to attend our shows, regardless of the headliner. Any of our producers will be happy to talk to you about our venues.

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