Hire A Comedian (How To)

hire a comedian

Hire A Comedian

A short informational guide


A phrase fairly frequently heard via email and phone is “Yes, we’d just like the comedian to perform for an hour or so”
And of course, if your experience is from booking bands or background music then of course, those time frames seem fine. For a stand up comedian, especially when they find themselves not in a theatre environment – and really, a good many shows will be in large conference environments or converted hotel spaces – anything above 35 minutes can create a few challenges. Firstly, that’s about the time it takes the average person to finish their drink and if the performance is longer – the room starts to move toward the bar and the comedian’s job is more difficult. Secondly, some call it a ‘comfort break’ – we’ll call it ‘Toilet Time’ – people have needs! And again, moving over 35-40 minutes means more people getting up to visit the little room. Again, more movement in the room, things get a little tricky.
We advise, if you’re wanting a longer show – simply book more acts and programme an interval or two. We do understand that people want ‘value for money’ – but the end result of trying to get the comedian to perform for longer means the show may get tougher the more the minutes tick by.

Timings, Part 2 – Timetables

We cater for emergency bookings with aplomb, but do bear in mind that most quality comedians will be booked up (at least) three months in advance. Typically, they will be earning between £500 and £1500 from on to four or sometimes even five performances. And these are public shows in properly setup venues. What has to be borne in mind when hiring a comedian at short notice is the offset against their already booked gigs to the public and the cancelling of those shows and, obviously, loss of income. Generally, the more time we have to book the comedian in, the more that will translate into a keener price.

How Much To Hire A Comedian?

And whilst we are on the subject of costs. Given the above information for public gigs you would expect to be spending at least that on a private show. It’s pendent on the evening of the week, quiet times would be Sunday through Wednesday, Thursday to Saturday get exponentially busier. If you were looking to book a comedian with at least one decent TV appearance (think McIntyre, Apollo, Dave’s One Night Stand, Mock The Week) we’ll be in the region of £1k to £2k. Perhaps two to three times that if the comedian has multiple recent TV exposure. It’s also worth noting that if a comedian is ‘on the up’ then it may be expensive to get them to commit to a date, simply because of last minute offers of TV interviews or pilot filming.

Why Would A Private Show Cost More Than A Public One?

It’s a fair question and the answer is actually very simple. In public comedy clubs, usually with between one to four hundred audience members most of the audience will be strangers to each other. Sure there may be groups of ten or twenty but essentially, it’s a big bundle of people who do not know each other. The performance is easier because of this, there is no traction from the audience if there is any banter or heckling – and if you’ve been to any raucous comedy nights you’ll know that the banter will usually come from the larger groups who are bolstered by their numbers to have the confidence to shout out. Now, in a corporate or private setting – let’s take Bumble & Co Accountants as an example, now the comedian is at more of a disadvantage. Whereas in a public setting the audience will have a tendency to self police, and there will be no ‘herd’ now we are in an environment where most people know each other. This means that any in jokes are going to pull attention away from the performance and into the crowd, because the group share so much common ground now almost anything that may be shouted by the audience will be funny (to everyone else). It takes a certain amount of skill to navigate the ‘audience as a group’ as opposed to ‘ the audience as a bunch of people that don’t know each other’. A comedian that may do well on a good night at a well run comedy club may not fare so brilliantly in front of 85 brokers from a City Brokerage firm. We think you get the idea.


There is nothing so forlorn as a comedian just standing up against a wall or some curtains. At Bespoke Comedy we understand that ‘set and setting’ are of paramount importance to the event. A solid PA system (at Bespoke Comedy we favour 1 to 2kw Active Mackie Thumps that we can chain around a room) and high quality lighting (we use industrial standard theatre spotlights – those ones that cast that lovely crisp circle of light). These two things are ESSENTIAL! Without the right sound and lighting the comedian is at a huge disadvantage to ply their comedic trade. And, of course, it will be less fun for the audience… A small stage can be used to great effect, even 6-9 inches off the floor can create the right effect – somehow, a comedian playing ‘off the carpet’ just loses something!

Got some questions of your own – ask us here!

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One Liners…

The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.


Fun Office
The Print House
18 Ashwin Street
E8 3DL

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Riverbank House,
1 Putney Bridge Approach
London SW6 3JD

Phone: 0843 523 5343

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