Okay, I hear you saying,”what about the price?” While this is a valid question, you never want to book entertainment based solely on price. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. Since starting in the comedy business in 1986, I have seen a lot of dirt-cheap “performers” come and go. You want the highest entertainment value your budget will bear, especially if you’re booking entertainment for a corporate event. If the performer you hire is not a good fit for your group, the fact that you paid way under your budget, for him or her, will be no consolation. Your colleagues may not remember the entertainer by name. But, they will remember her or him as “the entertainer you hired”. Check out prospective entertainers web sites for demos, pictures, performing schedule and references. If an entertainer doesn’t have references and a demo, it may not mean they’re not good at what they do, but it probably means they’re inexperienced. To be on the safe side, move on to someone else.
So, you’ve chosen the entertainment for your upcoming event. While you’re negotiating performance length and fees, there are a few other items you should also cover. What time will the entertainer arrive at your venue? Nothing makes an event more stressful than having the entertainer(s) waltz in at 7:59 for an 8:00 show. Who should the performer report to up arrival? How much set up time is required? Will they bring their own sound equipment or will they use yours? Will they need access to electric outlets? How will you pay them, with a credit/debit card via Paypal or Square, cash or with a check made out to whom (paid in advance, immediately after performance, or in the mail a few days later? This is very important! I once performed for nine days at a trade show in January and didn’t get paid until July. Comedians, magicians and other entertainers talk and they tell one another about performances where they had difficulty getting paid.
Now, what about audience control? Do you have enough staff or should your bring in temps or volunteers? It is not the entertainer’s job to provide crowd control and maintain discipline during the show. Whether it’s young children/older people with short attention spans or partiers enjoying the free alcohol, it’s important to establish and maintain an acceptable level of audience behavior.
There you have it. My list of do’s and don’ts when booking entertainment for your next and future events.