Side Splitting Productions Blog

The Dilemma of the Drunk Patron

At this point in the evolution of standup comedy in most venues comedy is looked at as more of a way to boost food and beverage sales than an art form.  To be honest, it would be very hard for a comedy club to stay open without liquor sales.  Especially, when more and more venues give away tickets for free and hope to recoup the money on food and beverage sales.

Invariably you will get the patron or group of patrons who have been ordering drinks all night and now have become disruptive.  Many venues struggle with how to handle this situation.  They do not want to alienate the clientele that has been purchasing food and drinks all evening but they do not want the show to get out of control.

Some venues leave the comic to his own devices and hope he can control the situation from the stage.  Some good comedians can, many good comedians can't.  Some venues will work out a system with the comedians where they will let the comedian handle it but if it gets out of control they will have an understood phrase which means get the disruptive people out such as the comedian saying, "get that guy another round of water."  Some venues have no tolerance for disruptive patrons and will have the offending audience kicked out immediately.

As an owner of a venue you need to do a cost benefit analysis.  Is having somebody disrupt the show and potentially ruin the evening for the other patrons worth keeping the offending patron in the venue so they can purchase more drinks?  In the long run, if you plan on having comedy as a regular form of entertainment then you are better off asking the drunk patron to leave.  If you let the drunk control the night your comedy shows will get the reputation of being out of control and bar shows.  Even, if you are a bar owner you don't necessarily want that.  Is it better for the word to get out that drunk Ralph was hilarious or that comedian Mary was hilarious?  People will come back to your venue to see quality comedians.  People will not come back to see somebody get drunk and be disruptive.  They have a brother-in-law at Thanksgiving for that. 

Comedians do not want people kicked out either.  If a comedian had his choice the whole audience would stay to till the end of the show.  They certainly don't want the spectacle of having the venue staff kick people out during the show.  It ruins the mood and the flow.  Your best bet is to work something out with the comedians ahead of time should somebody become disruptive. 

If you bring in quality comedians, have affordable prices, and become known as a venue that is a great place for a date night out then there is no reason why you should not succeed. 

Why aren't there comedians videos on this site?

It is a question I get asked from time to time.  I mean other agencies have comedians videos on the site.  The site is new...shouldn't Side Splitting Productions have videos?

Perhaps.  It was a conscious decision made by Side Splitting Productions not to have videos on the site.  To be completely honest, videos and television do not do stand up comedy justice.  When live standup comey is done correctly it is quite magical how one person with nothing but spoken word can get a room of hundreds of strangers to all move as one and experience something as a group yet individually.  Live comedy is in the moment.  Even when it is scripted if it is done properly it should seem unscripted.  Video just can't capture that very well.

"But I want to see who I am hiring."  That is completely valid.  However, very often SSP is contacted to book comedians for private parties or corporate events.  Most comedians have their tape from comedy clubs.  A comedy club show is much different then a show for your Church or your Uncle's birthday party.  A comedy club often does not have restrictions on language and content and people know they are there to see live comedy.  They are most likely fans of the art form.  At your private event there is a good chance that people do not even know a comedian will be performing.  Many people may have never been to a club and do not know what to expect.  There could be small children in attendance.  The point is the performance you see in a video might be quite different then the performance you would get by the same performer at your event. Performing in a comedy club is much simpler for the performer then performing in front of a very specialized audience.

Also, very often these video clips are 5 minutes or so.  You want the comedian to perform for thirty minutes.  A comedian who is great for five is not always great for thirty minutes.  Those other 25 minutes could be very painful for your guests.

Our philosophy is we ask you exactly what you are looking for in a performer.  We ask you all sorts of questions about the event, the guests, the expectations, and the limitations.  After that, it is our job to get you the best comedian for your specific event within your budget.  Quite honestly, SSP could really avoid all risk and just let people choose from videos and then if it did not work out we could just say well you chose him/her.  To us that is just lazy on our part and leaves too much to chance for your special event.  Let's be honest, in the world of the internet you can just do a search and find thousands of comedian's videos.  Unfortunately, you will have to base your decision almost entirely on that video clip. 

Side Splitting Productions earns its money by filling in the blanks.  Going past a five minute clip and determing who will work best for your event.  Is the ability to work clean or dirty important?  Do you need specific ethnic material?  Do you like a lot of improvisational comedy?  Do you want a roast?

We would rather assume more risk because we feel our chances for your satisfaction are greatly increased if we give you our knowledge about what you might want and who might fit that bill.

What not to do on your Industry showcase

So the other night I had the privilege of being "industry" at a club in New York City.  I am industry because Side Splitting Productions hires comedians for clubs and private events.  In addition, with the radio show, you never know when somebody might catch your eye to be a character or recurring role.  I have been industry at this club before and I have hired several comics from these showcases.  I want to find new talent.  The business needs people to give new talent an opportunity.  The other industry person who was at the event wanted to find new talent as well.  We came up empty.

I did reaffirm my belief that I wanted to give the host who I had previously worked with an opportunity.  I also decided to give the one pro comic on the show an opportunity in the near future.  But the newbies...oy vey! 

First, if you are still required to bring people to see you perform as a means of you getting on stage then chances are you are not ready to work professionally.  This is not always the case but it is for the vast majority.

You are doing a five minute set.  Please remember the jokes for the 5 minute set.  For people who do not speak for a living 5 minutes is a very long time.  For somebody who aspires to speak for a living 5 minutes is very brief and you really need to know what you are going to say in that five minutes.  There are no paid spots on a comedy show that offers 5 minutes or less.  At minimum it is 10 minutes.  If you can't remember 5 minutes how can you remember 10 minutes?

Don't tell us how high you are or how drunk you are.  It might make your 5 friends giggle but as industry I am in the back thinking you couldn't stay straight for this show where you are bringing people why should I think you are going to be straight when I hire you.  And pretending to be high is not an excuse for meandering on stage.  You have five minutes to impress me, you would think you might want to have a decent amount of jokes in those 5 minutes.

This is a job interview.  I know comedy is a relaxed business but dressing in a dirty shirt and ripped jeans does not make me think you are cool.  It makes me think you do not care.  Worse yet a comic went up in ripped shorts.  Really?  Remember you do not know everything the industry books.  We might have some very nice corporate work or clubs.  Chances are if all we have is dive bars, which you are dressing for, then we do not need professional comedians.  We can just get new comics like you to do it for free.  If that is the case we are not industry.  When I started I was always in dress slacks and nice shirts.  I realize that in a lot of ways that can be over dressed.  Now I am always in nice jeans at the very least.  Sometimes I wear a cowboy hat and bandana.  Not very nice BUT I don't wear that to an audition and I have a tested act to back up whatever I wear.  They will be laughing soon enough to get out of whatever hole my attire dug for me.  If they aren't laughing then all anybody remembers is the poor dress I chose.

How we love Fuck.  I know it is a wonderful word that can describe so many things.  But if you are doing a 5 minute set I really do not want to be barraged with it every few seconds.  I have never had a venue ask me if I could book a comic that says fuck more!  Plus it takes away from the jokes you have written.  If you want to say fuck (which I wouldn't in a 5 minute audition set) make darn well sure it is part of the punchline and makes the joke funnier.  Sometimes fuck is needed.  Most times it is not.  I don't think it is ever needed on a job interview.

I am so glad you are having sex.  I am thrilled you love porn.  Do I need to know this within the first 5 minutes of meeting you?  I don't think so.  It is hard to open with sex material and in five minutes you are essentially opening and closing at the same time. 

I am sure there are other things.  These are the ones that struck me the other night.  At these events I am not expecting to find a finished project.  I am expecting to see comedians make better choices.  Maybe this will help them in the future.

As for me, well I got a gig that night from the other industry person.  She does not want me to wear my cowboy hat. Meh, what does industry know?

March 27, 2012

Hi All,

It has been busy around these parts the past several weeks.  We have pulled off some great events and met some great people.  In addition, we have gotten several calls from prior clients about return engagements which is always a plus.

We would like to give special thanks to Andiamo in Haworth, NJ.  We have been working with them for 10 years and they continue to sell out all of their shows.  Last week was no exception and the comedians rocked it.  Next show at Andiamo is scheduled for May 9, 2012.  Get your tickets early as it will sell out.  Here is their website if you want to find out about the package.
http://www.andiamorestaurant.net/

Till next time...keep on laughing!

Davin

March 8, 2012

Hi Everybody,

I hope you are well.  Last week the stand up comedy / ventriloquist community lost a real treasure.  Sadly, Vince Dantona of Vince & George passed away in his sleep.  It is reported that the show he performed earlier in the night was one of his finest yet which is saying something when you had his track record.

Vince was one of those guys that is a dream to deal with.  Never complained, always friendly, always professional, and always gave his best effort.  Vince performed in many a Side Splitting Productions venue and was always a favorite of audiences and management alike. He was so beloved by his peers that his fellow Long Island comedians had a tribute to him on Monday night.  They watched the roast they did of him in 2003.  After the roast concluded the room was silent for 2 minutes.  If you have ever been in a room full of comedians then you know how rare this is.

Our thoughts and condolences go out to Vince's family and all those that loved him.  You will be missed sir and thank you for helping to build Side Splitting Productions into what it is today.

Sincerely,

Davin Rosenblatt
President of Side Splitting Productions

February 22, 2012

Hello Everybody,

I hope you are well.  It has been very busy here at Side Splitting Productions.  Last weekend we had a fun show for the Blairstown, NJ Knights of Columbus.  All reports are the comedians delivered a very entertaining and greatly received squeaky clean comedy show.  Not an easy feat so kudos to Alex Barnett, Dennis Ross, and Buddy Flip.  We look forward to working with the Blairstown Knights of Columbus again next year.

This week Side Splitting Productions has four comedy shows on tap.

The first show is Thursday in Monroe, NY at the Ramblers Rest located at 590 on Route 208.  This will be our first show at Ramblers Rest.  Dinner is 7:00 and the show starts at 9:00. Dinner & show pkg. is only $35.  Scheduled to appear Davin - Comedy Central, Doug Karpf  from Howard Stern Radio, & Rich Carucci from Cablevision's "Steam Rollers of Comedy."  For tickets call 845-782-1345.

On Friday we have three comedy shows scheduled.

We are back at a place we have enjoyed going to for the past several years, CJ Hummels in Lenhartsville, PA at 28 Willow St. Dinner is served at 6:30 & the show starts at 8:00.  Scheduled to appear is Pat O'Donnell from Comedy Central & Joe Currie from the "Opie & Anthony Show."  All for only $22.50.  For tickets call 610-562-4891.

We are making our debut at The Brookside Country Club in Macungie, PA at 901 Willow Lane.  They will be serving appetizers at 6:30 and the Show at 8:00 for $35.  Scheduled to appear are Davin from the radio show / Podcast "Davin's Den," & Dennis Ross who was a writer for National Lampoons.  For tickets call 484-224-5484.

And for the folks of New Jersey live comedy returns to Casa Bianca Banquets in Oak Ridge, NJ located at 5268 Berkshire Valley Road.  The shows here are immensely popular as last show drew over 300 people.  What's not to like?  Great dinner served at 7:00 with hilarious comedy starting at 8:30 all for the low price of $35.  Scheduled to appear are Coach Tom Whiteley from HBO, Tim Grill from the "Opie & Anthony Show" & Rob Epple from the Gotham Comedy Club.  For tickets call 973-697-9704.

We got your Thursday & Friday covered you can recover on Saturday & Sunday!

Till next time...keep on laughing!

Davin

February 9, 2012

Hello All,

I hope you are doing well.  Fortunately, of late Side Splitting Productions comedy shows have been selling out.  Maybe the economy is getting better.  Maybe word has gotten out that SSP delivers a great night of affordable entertainment.  Whatever the reason is we extremely thankful to everybody involved.

Last Friday night was just another example of this as Portobello Banquets in Oakland, NJ accomodated 250 comedy fans for a great night of entertainment and food.  All the comedians did great and Coach Tom Whiteley knocked it out of the park!

Tonight Side Splitting Productions makes its debut at the River Grill at 40 Front St., in Newburgh, NY.  According to the owner Mark, the show has been sold out for quite some time.  That being said, once in awhile last minute tickets become available.  For tickets call 845-561-9444.  Scheduled to appear tonight is Davin Rosenblatt from Comedy Central, Joe Currie from the "Opie & Anthony Show," & Rob Epple from the Gotham Comedy Club.

We hope to see you very soon.  Till next time...keep on laughing!

Davin Rosenblatt
Side Splitting Productions

February 2, 2012

Hello All,

I hope you are doing well.  Last week we had another sold out show at Andiamo Restaurant in Haworth, NJ.  The comics were great and headliner Eric McMahon absolutely crushed!  Our next show at Andiamo is scheduled for March 21, 2012 starring Buddy Flip from Comedy Central, Chris Iacono, from HBO & Andy Hayward from Bravo.  These shows always sell out so get your tickets early.  The only way to do that is to call Andiamo at 201-384-1551.

This Friday February 3, 2012 Side Splitting Productions is back once again at Portobello Banquets in Oakland, NJ.  They have a great food and a great facility.  These shows are always well attended.  Appearing on this show is "Coach" Tom Whiteley from HBO, Larry DeFelice from "The Conan O'Brien Show" and John Clark from New York Comedy Club.  If you want tickets call 201-337-8990 Ext. 2.

Side Splitting Productions added a new show this week.  We are back once again at Michael's Restaurant in Wantage, NJ on Wednesday March 7, 2012.  The shows at Michael's are always a good time.  Scheduled to appear are Dennis Ross, writer for National Lampoons, the aforementioned Larry DeFelice who always pleases with his dead on impressions, and Joe Eichler from the New York Comedy Club.  If you want to purchase tickets please call Michael's at 973-702-9797.

Till next time...keep on laughing!

Davin Rosenblatt
Side Splitting Productions

January 25, 2012

Hello All,

Last week we had a great debut show at Joe & Joe's in Pearl River, NY.  The show was very well attended, the staff and food were great and the comics were tremendous.  The show went so well that we got invited back!  The next show at Joe & Joe's is on Thursday, April 19 featuring Johnny Watson from Saturday Night Live, Doug Karpf from Howard Stern Radio, and Joe Fernandes from the NY Underground Comedy Festival.

Last Friday we had over 300 people attend our show at Casa Bianca in Oak Ridge, NJ.  Kudos to the staff of Casa Bianca and the comedians for providing a great night for that many people.  Our next show at Casa Bianca is February 24th.  Scheduled to appear is "Coach" Tom Whitely from HBO, Tim Grill from the New York Comedy Club, and Rob Epple from the Gotham Comedy Club.

This Wednesday we kick off our 10th year at Andiamo in Haworth, NJ!!!  By all accounts this show will sell out like every other show at Andiamo has.  Great food & great comedy...why wouldn't it sell out?
Scheduled to appear is Eric McMahon from Howard Stern Radio, Josh Gondelman the winner of the Laughing Skull Comedy Festival and Doug Adler from the New York Comedy Club.  It's going to be a great night!

Till next time...keep on laughin!

Davin
Side Splitting Productions

January 18, 2012

Hi Everybody,

Side Splitting Productions has some great comedy shows for you this week!

On Thursday live comedy at Joe & Joe's Restaurant in Pearl River, NY starring Paul Bond, Davin, and Alex Barnett.  This is our first show there so we can't wait!

On Friday live comedy at Casa Bianca Banquets in Oak Ridge, NJ starring the immensely popular Uncle Floyd with Chris Johnston and Sean Morton!  As of last week over 170 tickets were sold.  Hurry and get yours!

For full details check out our calendar and if you have any questions feel free to drop us a line.

Till next time...keep on laughing!

Davin Rosenblatt
Side Splitting Productions