According to one industry source, it’s $500,000. He gets his own office in a house with a lake in the backyard, a pool, a private chef, private transportation to the local amusement park, private lessons, a $10,000 performance fee a year ($200/hour for a one-hour stand, $250/hour for a three-hour run), and, most important to him, the ability to “get a few laughs.”
“I would not suggest it as a profession, but as an artistic endeavour,” the agent who represents both the comedian and the ventriloquist said. “If that is your thing, that’s great. People just do it for the paycheck or they want to be part of something.”
“I want to have my own office,” he said.
But he said that many of the young stand-up comedians, who tend to have a lot of fun, would likely go straight back to what they are good at. “The guys who do it for the paycheck or want to be part of something, they’re going to keep it going. They might not go back to it if it didn’t pay well, but they might go back to it. It’s a big business. If you’re going to make a career, you kind of have to do it.”
As for the people who do it as a profession, he wouldn’t know. They tend to stay close to home, which he said would not surprise a good deal of the talent he’s spoken to in his conversations with them over the last two months. He would guess that about 20 percent of them will make their mark in the entertainment world outside of the comics.
“They’re all going places, and they have jobs, but they’re still just doing it,” he said. “Nobody’s going to stop doing what they’re doing. People will just do what they’re good at.”
The job of comedy writer, performer, producer, and host of a television series for more than 30 years, was always the dream. But once a comic finishes a show, he is not out of work for long. He is on call.
“Sometimes I am writing because I’m going to see a show. Sometimes I am doing a show because I’m going to read and come back and write something that will be about something else. I have a little bit of both,” he said.
The Stand-Up Column by Michael Cernovich
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