Jan McInnis – The Work Lady®

How To Hire A Comedian Successfully For Your Conference

So the entertainment committee thought it would be a blast to have comedy at your convention? Well it CAN be fun (and funny) if you spend the time hiring the right comedian. There are all types of comedians that fit all types of venues and events: the right comedian will get you accolades. . .the wrong one will get you in the unemployment line. So how do you do it?


Verify the comedian. Sure Google and YouTube will give you thousands of options for people who can (or think they can) tell jokes. But you need make sure these comedians have actually performed at events that are similar to yours. If you’re not going through a speakers bureau (or even if you are) to make your comedy hire, take a look at the comedian’s website – make sure they show that they’ve been in front of your type of group. Also, make sure they aren’t funny in only one specific geographical area. . . like they have an hour on jokes about the south, but your audience is international.  And verify also that their topics are broad enough to fit your audience.


Get comedy references – Are they working consistently at the type of even you are running? Check the comedian’s references and make sure they did the job they said they’d do without any surprises (drinking up the bar or hitting on the boss’s wife to name a few).


Are they funny without using vulgarity. Sure blue humor is funny, and many people like it (even if they don’t admit it). But remember, you’re trying to appeal to a lot of people’s sense of humor. . .including spouses and maybe even kids. So find a comedian who doesn’t use curse words as the punchline, but who is still funny.


Does gender matter? As a female comedian, I am many times on the losing end of the decision process just because I’m a woman – people have a different concept of women comics. But don’t base your decision solely on the gender of the comedian. I’ve been successful in front of truck drivers, plumbers, and other male-dominated audiences. If you use the guidelines above  – have they been in front of your type of group, are they funny, appropriate and relevant to your group, and do they have good references, then many times the comedian’s gender doesn’t matter.


So there you have it. . . some easy, yet important guidelines for hiring a comedian that’s perfect. Use these tips and you’ll be able to sit back, relax and laugh along with your attendees.