I’ve always had a general rule of thumb never to trust a man with either the words Buddy or Flip in his name. Now, I know what you’re going to think, “Hey asshole, what about Buddy Guy or Flip Wilson?” I didn’t say I couldn’t enjoy a guy with those names, just that I couldn’t trust them. I don’t care how wacky Flip Wilson was, I’d never spot him a twenty until payday. Imagine my dismay, then, when I began receiving e-mails from a comedian named Buddy Flip. Buddy is currently the manager of the New York Comedy Club and he’d like to make you an offer you can’t refuse. The NYCC, along with many other comedy clubs in New York, likes to pretend it’s giving young comedians a real chance to move up the ranks just by doing a bringer show. A bringer is a show in which the comedians MUST bring several audience members in order to perform. Some shows require 5, some require 10, some require 20. In fact, your prowess as a comedian is completely irrelevant. Anyone can participate provided they have enough gullible friends. Each audience member is forced to pay a full cover charge and buy two drinks, the cheapest of which is most likely a 6 ounce glass of watered down coke filled with ice that’ll run you about $5. Also, each of your audience members has to be subjected to every other desperate, shitty comic on the show just to enjoy your six minutes in the spotlight. It’s really a horrible situation.
The bringer show sales pitch goes something like this: “Perform on the same stage that Chris Rock once performed on! Audition for our managers! Move up to weekend shows! Last week, someone actually got a paid spot from doing a bringer! Can you believe it? PAID! MONEY! YOU LIKE MONEY, DON’T YOU? $$$$! DOLLAR SIGNS ARE COOL!!!!$$$$$!!!!!$$$$$!!!!!”
The problem is, virtually nobody moves up past the bringers. The whole idea is that the club can exploit naïve comedians to generate customers. You’re more valuable to the club if you can fill the seats, so there’s no motivation for them to move you up.
Buddy’s bringers are different, though, because Buddy gives you a chance to audition for other reputable managers and agents who can whisk you away to the good life of B minus rooms and one-niters all over the greater tri-state area. Every comedians fantasy. Buddy promises to have bookers, agents, managers and possibly groupies present at many of his bringers to evaluate the “talent.” Of course, these people are rarely there. Even if they are, they never respect the people on the show because, after all, they were only booked because they had friends. Being on the show automatically discredits you.
So, what if you don’t have enough friends? How can you make MONEY? Well, Buddy has thought of everything. Here’s a snippet from his latest e-mail:
* Comics must bring 5 paying customers.
* Reservations are a must for your people.
* Performers get 6 minutes of stage time.
* There is a $10 cover and a two drink minimum.
Due to requests from comics, I will accept a cash equivalent, if you cannot meet the minimum audience requirement. It is $19 per audience member. So, if you only have four, three, two or less people show up, you can make up the difference to ensure being seen by the Industry Guests. If you show up you'll get on no matter how many you bring (including zero) but only the comics who meet the minimum requirements will definitely be seen by these Industry Guests.
Remember, these bookers have PAYING GIGS.
That’s right, just pay the club out of your own pocket and you can have the same privileges as all the other comics who actually have friends. I wonder if you get to use the same water fountain. Notice how the words “paying gigs” are capitalized and underlined. Hey Buddy, since you’re so keen on taking “requests from comics,” how about this request: don’t force comics to pay money just to get on your stage. If your clubs really is one of the premiere clubs in the country, you shouldn’t have so much trouble drawing a crowd.