Monday, August 10, 2009

The Jerry Bringer Show


I recently received a forward that a comedy club was looking to give underground comics exposure at a showcase show. I asked my talented buddy Calvin Cato who was kind enough to send it to me, whether he knew if it was a bringer show (a show where comedians are required to supply the audience).

CALVIN:
Haha! Oh right I think it is a bringer; in fact, I'm more than pretty sure it is a bringer. I think I ended up sending it to people who don't need to do them anymore, so that's my bad.

ABBI:
Thanks Calvin. And for the record, NO ONE needs to do a bringer to get better. It's a matter of preference; whether you want to spend the time and energy collecting friends and fam together. But on the booking end, it's purely exploitative of the comedians. It's making other people do your marketing work for you and getting butts in seats. Clubs save money this way, and some comedians who run bringer shows make money this way, but it in no way benefits the comedian performing. They're doing promo work for free. If they happen to have a surplus of audience that wants to come out and see them, then it works out fine. But don't ever tell yourself you're at a level where you "need" to do a bringer. If all comedians refused to do bringers (as they should), they would cease to exist.

CALVIN:
No problem. As for my previous comment, the thing is that I rarely forward annoucements like these because sometimes people get very snooty about the idea of doing a bringer and fire back with a snappy e-mail saying that they're "beyond it" and don't need the heads-up. Personally, I don't feel offended if info is forwarded to me and the contest sounds legitimate but I try to err on the side of caution so that's why I said that.

Thanks for the comment though, because it is true, bringers aren't a requirement and I'm certainly against the idea of forcing other people to pay (lots of) money to see a comic who's ultimately relegated to a side attraction. But there are people who feel more comfortable trying their stuff out in front of friends first before they really try to tackle the scene and I can understand that thought process too. Whatevs, there are so many ways to start, like taking a class or just going to a mic. Anyway, I didn't mean to imply that bringers have to be the start of the path but that it is an option if you know exactly what you want to get out of it (e.g., a tape with the club's name in the background, confidence boost).

ABBI:
I understand the disclaimer. I am never offended when someone takes the time to think of me and forward me something! I'm not above it as much as I just don't think it's necessary. But like I said (and as you mentioned), it's what you make of it.

Speaking of motivation, for my very first open mic appearance I invited 10 friends from high school, and if I didn't have their support I may have been too discouraged to try it a second time. It was bombing the second time after feeling great the first time that made me say, "Hmm...I have to convince every future crowd to sound like the first crowd."

I had already put in a booking request, but now that I know it is a bringer, I won't be following through. I asked another comic friend of mine, Mike Lawrence,who had replied to it whether he would do it.

MIKE:
God no. I figured it was a bringer, but there's no harm in replying. Anytime the words "new talent" come out that's exactly what it means.

Bringers are no different than private parties. A bringer comic is essentially paying to rent the stage for five minutes. They are a result of lazy and desperate owners and are a new phenomenom. My mom did comedy for 12 years and had no idea what bringers were, but that's because she performed at a time when promoters still promoted.

5 comments:

H. Alan Scott said...

bringers, oh bringers! i almost always turn them down, unless I'm in need of a new video. that is seriously the only reason to do a bringer. and maybe if you've got a lot of people in town at once, but then you're inviting them to essentially a very expensive amateur open mic night.

Luke said...

My comment to every comedian ever is, if you have a bunch of friends that want to see you, start up your own show in a coffee shop, a bar, a library, a restaurant, a park, anywhere but bringers!
I told this to a new-ish comedian the other day and her reply was, "well sometimes they might like seeing you in a club." Oh really, they want to pay a $10 (min) cover plus two incredibly overpriced drinks so they can go see 2 and half hours of the worst comedy on the planet--all because they get to see you perform for 5 minutes in a club? Really? They'd much prefer that to see you do an hour show in a coffee shop with 5 or 6 other comedians that you respect and know can put on a good show for FREE!? Ok then.

soce said...

If I had that many friends constantly wanting to see me perform, I would just have them each pay me $50 a week and then rock out for two hours in my apartment, or something like that.

I am proud to say that I've never done a bringer show before. I once learned about a chance to perform at a nice comedy club in the city, and they said something to the tune of that I need to get at least 30 people to come or something ridiculous like that. I was all gee thanks sir!

Abbi Crutchfield said...

You'd think the horror stories are enough for people to steer clear of them, but the kids don't listen.

Anthony Miller said...

http://www.pearshapedcomedy.com/CRAPP.htm

The Pear Shaped Comedy Club guide to
Everything you need to know about promotional scams