Follow GuyMacPherson on Twitter

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Stung again

Here's the reason why I don't write about new rooms in the Straight: they rarely last.

The Bee's Knees Comedy Arrangement is kaput. The buzz has fizzled out. Just like that. What did they have, a couple shows? Brutal.

I had high hopes for it because of the awesome room (at the Cellar Jazz Club), the quality of acts, and because they were adding a musical element. But it was not to be. One thing about the Cellar, if you're there it's because that's where you were going when you set out. There's virtually no walk-by traffic. That makes doing the legwork to get bums in seats all the more important. Did they? I have no idea. Sometimes you do all the right things and people still don't show up.

Does the media have a role in giving a boost? I'm not sure about that. The media generally reports on things that are already thriving. They're reporting, not cheerleading. If there's no crowd, there's nothing to report. So it's up to the club and/or bookers to get the word out as best they can. It's a lot of work.

The media will make an exception if there's something really unique about the show, or a big, established name is attached.

One excuse I heard was that they couldn't compete with the hockey playoffs. I'm not in business, but I hear this a lot from business owners. As a non-hockey fan, I don't buy it. I know lots of other people in this city who couldn't give a rat's ass about hockey. Why not market to them? A show for hockey wives or people otherwise sick of all the hockey talk. Or, conversely, a hockey-themed show for all those hockeypucks out there. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

I dunno, but something. You can't just put on a show, open up the doors, tell a few people, then hope word of mouth does the trick.

I can't tell you the number of comics who've approached me telling me of all their grandiose schemes about new rooms, only to have those rooms die a miserable death a few weeks later. Unfortunately, there's no evidence a single article in a paper will turn such a show into a sure-fire hit.

Just as well. The new season of The Bachelor starts in a couple weeks on Monday nights. Vancouver's own Jillian, the new Bachelorette, is the real bee's knees.


Little Jackie Showers said...

So why are there so many comedians trying to start rooms? Does everyone want to be their own boss? Why not concentrate on just having a few good rooms?

Guy MacPherson said...

A comic could tell you better than I, but a few good room means a lot less mic time. The more rooms, the greater chance to hone your skill. Comics need as much stage time as they can get.

Anonymous said...

Also the more advanced comedians sometimes want a room that isn't such a random sampling of very new and experienced performers to take things a bit farther.

Guy MacPherson said...

Good point, Anonymous. There are lots of different types of rooms. They're not all equal. Some are largely amateur; some largely pro; some a mixture. It all depends on who's running it, how much work they put in, and the layout of the room that dictates how good it's going to be.