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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.