Making The College Market Work For You
By Jeff Carroll
There are many markets for comedians to make a living doing stand-up comedy. Some of the markets that a stand-up can work at are comedy clubs, nights clubs with comedy nights, resorts, theaters, hotels with special events cruise ships, conventions or conferences and of course College and Universities. There are ways to become successful at each market.

In the College Market a comic with only one television credit and a strong 1 hourís worth of clean material can earn from $600 to $1000 plus travel and hotel expenses per performance. As with good performance and a cooperative personality will get more and more bookings each semester. With a good agent comics can make anywhere from 60 thousand to over 100 thousand dollars annually. 

Different from other markets the college market is an amateur circuit. By that I mean the shows are 90% booked and produced by college students ranging from 18-25 years old. Due to the experience of these coordinators the college market becomes a special kind of market. The tough negotiations that are common with other markets are rare when doing business with Colleges. The College Market thrives off of friendliness and wholesome entertainers. Performing for College students a comic has the opportunity to develop the next generation of industry professionals and also hone their craft. Comics may have to deal with payment delays, a wide variety of performance locations, meal not being what you requested and transportation mix-ups. Thatís about it for challenges performing on College campuses. For all of these challenges good preparation and a good agent can alleviate any headaches. On the upside out of the ten years that I have been working in the College Market, I have never been stiffed by a school. 

Something that the College Market has that other markets donít is organizations like NACA (National Association for Campus Activities) and APCA (Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities). These organization make the college market probably the best place for a comedian to start traveling throughout the Country. Both of these organization get comics showcase opportunities and have to allow for schools to publicize tour schedule and performance evaluation reports. NACA a 40 year old organization is the best at assisting college program boards find talent. NACAís block booking system is a tremendous help in putting tight runs together. At the NACA Conferences comics and other types of performers showcase before the program boards of schools coming from groups of states. After each showcase these program boards meet and share dates of interest in an effort to bring a comic into a state for more than one show. This allows a comic to get those Monday, Tuesday shows or even an noon show at one school and a 8pm at another show 30 minutes away. A comic with a good showcase can leave with and average of 10 to 20 date requests. At the 2000 NACA National Convention in Boston comedian Dean Edwards at his first National showcase received over 50 date requests. Dean Edwards is a great example because he has only been in the NACA circuit for two years and only has one Television credit that of Def Comedy Jam.

Well if your are a comic that would like to tour colleges all you need is a bio written with young people in mind, a good clean video, head shots, and personal posters are a big plus. 

All levels of comics perform on college campuses anywhere from Jay Mohr (from Jerry Maguire ) averaging over $20, 000 a performance to Joe Clair (Host of BETís Rap City ) averaging over $7,000. Almost anyone can perform on college Campus however it is a career and a stepping stone. There are awards for best comic and Campus Entertainer of the year give comic the opportunity to compete with all types of entertainers. These awards are great opportunities for a comic to gain exposure. A good example of this is Carrot Top who started performing at Colleges, won awards and gained National popularity which gave him a chance to star in his own cartoon television show. There are many stories of how the College Market has helped a comicís career. The best way I can describe the value of performing in the College Market is like playing Minor League baseball, it pays a little but it can lead to the Majors. 

For more information check NACA out on the web at or APCA at