The Sauce on Stand-Up

This week on RevelBos features a guest post from communications professional and Boston comic Pamela Ross.

 

When you think of stand-up comedy, what comes to mind? Stories of plane travel,

disastrous dates, and the differences between men and women? Although comics have a

bottomless well of personal experiences to draw from, the average audience is used to

mainstream humor that’s self-deprecating. As a young comic myself, I envisioned a

show that’d attract avid fans and newcomers alike in an unconventional space. That

dream has inspired me to create an independent comedy show to foster support for the

local comedy scene. Here’s the thought process that makes this possible.

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1) Location

Choosing the right venue is essential. Coffeehouses have become the go-to hangout

space, whether for social gatherings, work, or relaxation. Pavement Coffeehouse, a small

chain known for its skillfully brewed coffee and homemade bagels, has a loyal customer

base comprised largely of college students. Knowing Pavement hosts live music events, I

pitched the comedy show idea to management and they were immediately interested.

2) Format

Stand-up shows exist in various formats. A “headline” entails a host warming up

the crowd, a feature or “middle” comic who does a mid-length set, and a headliner who

does the longest set and closes the show. A “showcase” packs more performers

into the program with evenly timed sets, sometimes ending with a longer closing act. I

opted for the latter setup: 6-7 comics with 7-8 minutes each and a 20 minute headliner. This

arrangement allows for a more diverse talent pool, greater flexibility in booking acts, and

uninterrupted laughs.

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3) Talent

There’s no shortage of talent in the Boston area. Given the panoply of open mics (shows

where anyone can work on new material and practice sets), I can scout quality

talent and gauge whose acts are most appropriate for an early coffeehouse show. I seek

comics who make me laugh, engage well with audiences, and behave professionally.

4) Promotion

To generate event buzz these days, effective promotion is key. I publicize each show

through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, as well as community-driven

websites like Meetup, The Boston Calendar, and Eventbrite. In addition, Pavement

promotes the show inside their store and through their online channels. Because word-of-

mouth is invaluable, I do my best to ensure that audience members have a positive

experience that they’ll want to share with friends.

 

While successful so far, Comedy Night at Pavement has the potential to attract

lots more attention. In the coming months, I’ll continue to seek advice from fellow

producers and comics, recruit raw talent, and devise creative promotional strategies. I

hope that audiences come away from the show with a better understanding of Boston’s

robust stand up scene and are inclined to see more live comedy. Make sure to catch the

show every third Friday of the month, 7 PM sharp, at Pavement’s Boston University

location (736 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston 02215).

 

About Author: Pamela Ross is a comic, writer, producer, and communications professional based in

Boston. She received her BA in English from Bates College and her MS in Advertising

from Boston University’s College of Communication. You can find her at comedy

shows, animal shelters, and vegetarian restaurants all over Boston. To stay on top of all things funny,

follow Pamela on Twitter @PamNotAnderson.

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9 Comments

  1. Interesting idea, we have a number of great local music venues and in fact at least one place where big name comics come but to be honest I’d rather go somewhere smaller and more intimate. A coffee house seems perfect.

  2. Anyone who can muster the bravery and talent to do stand up comedy certainly has my admiration. George Carlin is my all-time favorite since his comedy was both raunchy and intellectual at the same time.

  3. I love stand-up. I follow every podcast from WTF to Sklarboro country. It’s a fascinating community of people who pay MAJOR dues for success. I wish you the very best and enjoy your ride!

  4. Thank you for sharing this with us. Very informative. I never knew comedy business was so complicated and intense. You seem to know what you are doing and have a good plan for success.

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