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Working in comedy can be tough. It can seem like a constant grind, doing low paying gigs and losing hope getting your big break in showbiz. Many comics give up on their dreams and turn to other jobs with stable paychecks. But they don’t need to! If you’re an aspiring comedian looking for ways to make a living keep reading. Today’s post is all about how to make money in the world of comedy.
Doing standup work is the starting point for many comedians. The schedule is probably the most irregular but working as a standup comedian gives you the most exposure and best chance of breaking into the big league. Your pay depends on the club and audience size. You’ll want to know how to stretch your paycheck, as gigs won’t always be available. Going on the road gives you more opportunities and publicity. Make connections as you go. It’s all about who you know in the entertainment industry. Eventually you might even make it to the national spotlight as a guest on late-night TV.
Acting & Performance
Work on your acting skills to give yourself more options. Comedians usually have an easier time transitioning into dramatic roles than serious actors have doing comedy, so it shouldn’t be too hard. It might not pay as much, but voice work is really popular for comedians too.
Consider training as a clown or mime to work at parties or on the street. There’s no shortage of parties and community events in need of an entertainer. These jobs tend to be small, but they’re easy to find.
Look for galas, charity drives, and other business and professional events in need of an emcee. These are more likely to be televised which will helps you get your face in front of larger audiences.
Get more involved with the local theatre scene. You might join an improve troupe or start your own. Get the word out by doing free events, then go on tour.
Make a demo reel of your best work to send out to Hollywood directors and studio executives. You can even put out your own comedy album. And take advantage of social media. Set up accounts on YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and anywhere else you can show off your skills. If you reach influencer status that’s more money in your pocket and a better chance of getting a big deal.
Go into Writing
Writing is another popular way that comedians supplement their income. It should come pretty easily, seeing as how you’re already writing your own jokes. Connections are really important here. Writing a script is one thing, but writing a screenplay is another. It doesn’t need to be something for the screen though. You can write choose to write a play too. Once you’ve finished you script try shopping it around, pitching it to various networks and studios. With any luck they’ll like what they see and green-light your project.
If You Can’t Act, Teach!
Schools are always in need of good teachers, especially in the arts. It helps to have some theatre background here as you’ll rarely find just a “comedy teacher” position. Check out the neighborhood theatre for opportunities to direct shows as well. Try putting an ad in the paper offering to be a coach and mentor to young performers and those just starting out in comedy. It takes a lot of self-confidence to be a comedian, and most people aren’t comfortable standing up in front of large crowds. You can be a great resource for all those who need a boost in self-confidence!
And How Much Money can I Make in Comedy?
There’s no easy answer for this. Like anything, it all depends on how much work you put it, your level of success, and in this case a bit of luck. For instance, you could easily be a multimillionaire if you make it big in Hollywood. See below for the average salaries for other jobs discussed.
Hopefully these ideas show you that you don’t have to give up on your love of comedy. You may not make a big name for yourself, but you can still make a good living doing something you enjoy.
Looking got more ways to earn as a performer? Take a look at our post on How to Make Money Dancing Online!