One of the first decisions you have to make when setting up a new comedy show on TV is the one about the right production model for you to use. There are various aspects to this question, and we can’t explore all of them in one blog post. So what we will be focusing on in this particular blog post is just one aspect of the question: where we will be dealing with the question of the procurement of ‘actors’ for the comedy TV show.
Now one production model you can use when running a comedy show on TV is the one where you create a show revolving around one comedian. So you end up with a show where from the beginning to the end, only one comedian is seen on stage. The show can therefore be named after that one comedian: like where, if the comedian’s name is ‘ABC’, then the show is named something like ‘The ABC Live Show’. Needless to say, the comedian in question has to be a truly good one: one who can keep people entertained for the entire length of the show. And as it turns out, there are many such comedians – especially in the stand up comedy genre, some of whom are able to hold hour-long comedy shows whilst keeping their audiences thoroughly entertained throughout.
The other production model you can use when running a comedy show on TV is the one where you create a show revolving around several comedians. So you have each of the comedians coming on stage for a few minutes, and then leaving the stage for the next comedian… and so on. Under this model, you can have a main comedian, the ‘host’ if you like, whose role it is to introduce the show, and then start inviting the other comedians on stage. Under this model, mediocre comedians can be covered up by the good ones, such that in the final analysis, the audience gets a good experience overall.
Over the years, I have come to realize that one of the best ways to make money out of comedy is by getting corporate sponsors for your comedy show. This is a scheme where you put your comedy show on TV, then get corporate sponsors for it: with the corporate sponsors in turn getting advertising opportunities on your show, in exchange for their sponsorship. Under this way of doing things, you are supposed to pay the TV station that runs the show using the money that you get from the corporate sponsors. A bit of what remains of that money (after paying the TV station for allowing you to host your comedy show on their channel) goes into paying for the other costs associated with the production of the show. When everything has been paid for, what remains is yours: it is your reward for putting up the comedy show. It is your profit.
A question that usually comes up when I speak about this whole concept of getting corporate sponsors for a comedy show is the one on how exactly you can approach the prospective corporate sponsors. The answer to that question is that you can either approach the prospective corporate sponsors directly, or you can use agents. There are agents (fixers of sorts) who specialize in these sorts of things, and you can procure their services when trying to get corporate sponsors for your comedy show.
There is, of course, the other scheme where you can produce your comedy show, sell it to a TV station, and then leave it up to the TV station to sell advertising rights around the show. The problem with this scheme is in that you more often than not end up earning very little, compared to what you’d have earned had you opted to sell advertising (to corporate sponsors) directly.
All along, it is important to remember that your comedy show has to be one that is already popular, or at least one that has potential to be very popular, for you to get any corporate sponsors for it. And in looking for corporate sponsors for your comedy show, you need to be ready to face quite a number of rejections, before finally getting willing sponsors. You therefore shouldn’t take the rejections personally: for it is just business.