Is Doing Corporate Comedy Gigs "Selling Out" for Comics?

I got an email today from a comic suggesting that I'd "sold out" by doing corporate comedy gigs.  Hmmmm.  It seems to me that this comic was getting her exercise by jumping to conclusions.  But this criticism makes me realize that many comics don't really understand what corporate gigs really are. 

Would you believe that corporate events I've performed at have included speaking for Cancer Survivors, Women's Leadership Conferences, Hospital Wellness Day, Professional Administrator's day, People Living with AIDS Benefit, Diversity Day, and more? Of course there are the 8AM Management Meetings for an accounting firm, but just because an event is sponsored by a corporation, doesn't mean that we funny speakers and comics are compromising our message.

"But what about censorship?"   Yes, doing corporate, comics and speakers have to work clean. That means that your material has to be really funny as you can't count on shock words or sex jokes to get a reaction. Actually, I found more limitations working comedy clubs, where the necessity to get a laugh every 10 seconds, meant that I couldn't tell humorous stories with poignant moments. 

Corporate gigs have less bigotry about age.  How many female comics over 50 years old have you seen on Comedy Central?  Let me count, ah...none!  Many corporations are committed to diversity and that means that they hire minorities, gays, women, and speakers over 50.  When was the last time you lady comics got a gig where you got to do an hour for 1500 appreciative people and got paid well?

Comics speaking and performing at corporate events really are making a difference in people's lives.  So what if we go to the workplace to perform, rather than they come to comedy clubs?  Many people these days who are working and raising a family don't have the time or the money to go to the clubs.

Working the corporate gigs not only gives us comics an appreciative audience and great income, but it also gives us an opportunity to shake things up!

Or, do I sound defensive?

More  blogs and tips for comics at  http://social.comedyworkshops.com/

Judy Carter
"Laughing your way out of Stress"


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  3. I don't think you're being defensive at all.

    You have paved a way for women and comics alike to incorporate their message and humor while earning an income in a much needed market. Corporations appreciate the new thinking and avenue of Inspiration to their employees. When you relate to them as an audience they are grateful and receptive; compelling them to transform their lives and that is priceless!

    Doing cooperate comedy gigs in my opinion is not selling out. Instead, it provides another more positive environment for comics to perform and earn a living.

  4. Judy, I do not think you sound defensive.

    By performing corporate gigs I do not view it as selling out, but admirable! We not only entertain, but inspire those within the cooperate world.

    As comics, and especially women comics who are not privileged to be the next Carol Burnett or Lucille Ball, because for one - we live in a different society then back then, and unfortunately come to except comics to be more callus and sexuality explicit with their humor. We see it in everything from stand-up to television shows and movies.

    Doing corporate shows not only offers an additional source of income for comics, but provides a much needed and appreciated service to corporations. As a Ventriloquist I have the pleasure of knowing others like myself who have done so, with great appreciation and success!

    Corporations appreciate this new approach to learning and presenting to their employees. When we bring humor and creative thinking to the sometimes mundane rituals of the workplace or organization for which we are speaking -we provide an avenue of awareness and growth. Experience is the best teacher, and when we communicate with them, by understanding and relating to their ‘core issues’ we exhibit compassion and inspire transformation through gratitude.


Judy's Blog

Judy Carter blogs on comedy, storytelling and public speaking techniques, using personal stories and her adventures as a stand-up comic turned motivational public speaker. Her weekly blogs are read by fans of her books, “The Comedy Bible” (Simon and Schuster) and “The Message of You” (St. Martin’s Press), which include comics, speakers, and entrepreneurs. She is also known for teaching the value of humor and storytelling to businesses as a leadership and stress reduction tool.