: Andrew George
If you have never been to a live show at a comedy club, then you may not know what exactly to expect as far as who and what you will actually see. And if you are currently researching what to expect to see at a live comedy show, then you probably have issues with anxiety, which is why live comedy may be just the solution for you.
While open mic nights include a host who will open the show and then bring up each comedian for their allotted time, and feature shows are composed of a host and a few comedians all doing sets that typically last as long as the average feature set, the standard headliner show is what most comedy clubs specialize in. Even though there is no set formula that every comedy club follows, most shows tend to follow a format that has been proven to provide the highest level of entertainment for their headliner shows.
Typically, a headliner show will open with the emcee, who is either a local comedian, the month’s resident comic for the club, or a guest comedian, warming up the crowd by doing anywhere from five to ten minutes of comedy to get everyone warmed up and into “the mood”. After that, the emcee will bring up anywhere from one to four other comedians who usually do around 10 minutes each before the headliner is brought on stage. Depending on the show, the other comedians will either be locals, comics just stopping by, or a feature act that the headliner brought with them on tour so they don’t get lonely when they're on the road and what not. As John Mulaney explans it, "Traveling can get kind of lonely sometimes, actually not traveling.. what’s the word for it…oh, life."
The headliner, who is the person you are paying to see, is the performer with the most notoriety. Whether they have been in movies and on television, they are well known within the comedy community, or if they made a life for themselves by stapling their genitalia to things and thought “yeah, I’ll try standup”, they are the act that you are there to see. The headliner’s set typically lasts anywhere from 45 minutes to upwards of an hour and a half if they are having fun and the crowd is into it, which is a common occurrence here because of our awesome crowds and ever since we established our strict “no staples in genitalia” policy in 2011.
This show format allows for multiple different styles of comedy to be performed by different comedians in a way that is fun and also helps to set the tone of the show. Even though no two clubs do it the exact same way and no two shows are ever the same in live comedy, the setup of an emcee, openers, and a headliner almost never changes.
If you have never been to a live comedy show, then you have no idea what you are missing. Go ahead and click that CALANDAR tab at the top of this screen, scroll for a bit until you find someone you want to see (even though all of our headliners are good), and pick which show you want to come and see, it’s just that easy. I honestly don’t know why you’re still reading this, just click the link at the top and quit worrying your pretty little head, everything is going to be all right, you’re just going to have to trust us, we know what we’re doing.
“As a headliner I gotta do 45 minutes of comedy, thats a long time, that's a sit-com and a half!” –Mitch Hedberg