Comedian FAQ

Getting Booked

Q: I am new to Flappers. When are Auditions?
A: What a great question! Our Burbank location holds Auditions every Tuesday & Wednesday. The auditions are hosted by our club bookers and/or owners. Sign-ups start at 5:30pm, Auditions go from 6pm-7:30pm. We can generally get up about 20-25 comedians.

The order you would perform in would go:

  • Pizza Spot — Comedian who had a great set at the last audition wins a pizza of his/her choice and gets to open up the very next audition show. If you win 3 Pizza Spots in a row, we’ll book you in a Main Room or Claremont Guest Spot.
  • First Timers — Comedians who have never auditioned at the club or who have never tried stand-up before. We will also put people who haven’t auditioned in over a year on this list.
  • Bump List — Comedians who tried to audition previously, but we ran out of time. We allow you the next 2 auditions to claim your Bump List spot.
  • Previously Auditioned — Any comedian who has previously auditioned within the last year and is looking for spots, or to re-acquaint us with his/her comedy, or who wants to win a free pizza (see Pizza Spot).

Q: I would like to be booked at Flappers, should I audition or send in my avails?
A: What a great question!
You’ll want to come to AUDITIONS if:

  • You have never performed stand-up before — if it’s your first time ever trying stand-up, you get a fresh-baked chocolate-chip cookie AND we have shows/spots here for newbies!
  • You have never performed at Flappers before.
  • You have performed at Flappers before but it was on First Timer Funnies and you were booked from filling out the raffle and checking off the First Timer Funnies box.
  • You have performed here before but it was on an independently produced show.
  • You haven’t been booked in a while and you want to re-introduce yourself.
  • You are from out of town but just moved to L.A. If you’re visiting, we’ll try to squeeze you into a spot, but if you’re moving here, that expands what we can do with you, so we’ll want to see you live.
  • You have been performing at Flappers for a while and would like to be considered as an emcee, feature, or headliner.

You’ll  want to send AVAILS in if:

  • You have gone through auditions and have been booked on a show but aren’t currently booked in another show.
  • You have never performed at Flappers and are from out of town and will be in town for a short window of time. (Also send an EPK.) If we think you’re funny, we will try to find a spot for you within your window of avails. If we can’t find a spot for you within that window, don’t be discouraged, let us know when you’re in town again.
  • You have performed at Flappers before and are from out of town and will be in town for a short window of time. (Also send an EPK.) We may be familiar with you already but as a professional comedian, you know that your EPK is constantly being updated, so we’d love to see a new video. Also, our booking department goes through changes, and we see a lot of comedians, so re-sending your EPK is a good way to refresh a memory or introduce yourself to a member of the booking team you haven’t met yet.

Q: What are “avails”?
A: What a great question! “Avails” are dates/times/days of the week that you would work best with your schedule so that you can perform without conflicting with work or other shows. We take avails via phone and e-mail, depending on your relationship with the club.

If you’re a House Emcee, Regular, or Headliner, you can call in on Mondays for fallout spots during the week. You still want to e-mail longer out avails.

If you’re not a House comedian, it’s better to e-mail your avails. (There are some tips under “Getting Re-Booked” on how to send your avails.)

Q: What is an EPK?
A: What great question! An EPK, or Electronic Press Kit is a tool you use to market your act to clubs/bookers who aren’t already familiar with you. An EPK usually includes your bio along with your contact info, website, and social media information, a video or two of you performing, and a headshot.

Q: If I’m from out of town and therefore submitting a video, what does a good video look like to you?
A: What a great question! A professional video tells us a lot about you. Truth be told, we’re more likely to watch 30 seconds of the video than the full thing. We know what we’re looking for. See below for some tips:

  • The audio has to be good. If you send a video with staticky or echo-y audio, we assume you’re not a professional comedian.
  • You should be the first person we see, not the emcee (unless the emcee is super famous and introduces you as her favorite comedian).
  • Start with a joke. Dancing, poking fun of the audience, talking with no punchlines are all fun for the audience in the moment, but it doesn’t tell us who you are as a comedian. Edit out this nonsense and let us see you tell a joke.
  • Your first joke should be funny. If your first joke doesn’t hit for that particular set, edit it out. We’ll never know.
  • The video should be one continuous set, not a series of clips.
  • Visual quality isn’t as important as audio, however, make sure that the video is in landscape mode and that it’s in a tripod. Also, if we can see your face, that’s a bonus.

Q: If I have already performed at Flappers and/or am an established comedian, why should I come to auditions?
A: What a great question! If you’re a newer comedian, we want to see you every once in a while, check in, see how you’re doing, how you’re growing as a comedian. When you’re new, three months makes a huge difference in your growth if you’re hitting open mics every night. The funnier you get, the more we can do with you.

If you’re an established comedian, a good video can get you pretty far, but we don’t have robots running the club (Yet. Give Josh and Will a few years to figure out how to get that done). For right now, though, nothing beats real human connection and seeing you perform live. Video can’t quite capture the live experience so unless you’re sending a link to a Comedy Central Presents, it’s definitely going to be better to come in and introduce yourself in person.

Also, even if we see you at shows, we’re often distracted, thinking about a dozen other things. The auditions is the best opportunity we can offer for our undivided attention, as this is time we set aside specifically to watch comedy and to talk to you personally.

Q: I have auditioned several times and have never been booked on a show. What am I doing wrong?
A: What a great question! We have shows and spots for comedians from beginners through headliners, and we do our best to find spots for comedians with all levels of experience. If  you auditioned once and never heard from us, it’s possible that we had a computer glitch and lost your information. If you have auditioned several times and never been booked, it’s likely that your material isn’t appropriate for our club or that you have been rude to one or more of our staff members.

Q: What is material that is “appropriate” for Flappers? Do I have to be clean?
A: What a great question! You don’t have to be clean but if your entire set is shock humor (rape, abortion, poop), without any punchlines, it’s hard to find an appropriate show for you. It’s much easier to find a show for you if you have personal, relatable material. And by “personal”, we do not mean relating to your bowels or your genitalia. Personal is family, friends, work environment experiences, from a point-of-view that is unique to you.

We have a few opportunities for comedians with dark and “blue” humor, but although newer comedians gravitate toward blue humor, it takes a lot more skill to pull off dirty jokes than clean jokes. As our Dean of Flappers University, Ken Pringle likes to say, with blue material, your punchline has to be funnier than it is shocking. And that is tough to pull off. If you’d like an example of someone who does it perfectly, look up Laurie Kilmartin and/or Ryan Stout.

Remember that getting a response is not the same thing as getting a laugh. You need to know the difference.

Getting Re-Booked

Q: What is the proper way to send in avails?
A: What a great question! I’m posting some tips below, but the most important one is that if you send no avails, you’re much less likely to get re-booked regularly. You’ll get a better response if you follow our tips, but you’ll get no response if you do nothing.

Tips for sending in avails:

  • You want to e-mail Bookings@FlappersComedy.com on Mondays. Type “Avails” into the Subject and then in the body, you can state your real name, your stage name, any credits you may have, and what dates for the next 1-3 months that work best for you to both perform in and to promote. You can look on the website (FlappersComedy.com) at some of upcoming shows, and request to be a part of any that you feel you’d be a good fit for.
  • Send avails from this week through the next 3 months. If you’re going to be out of town for 3 months, e-mail us avails for when you’ll be back in town. We’re booking 6 months to a year in advance for emcees and headliners, 1-3 months out for spots. You want to send avails starting from today because even though we’re booked out a month-plus in advance, we do have dropouts and have to fill spaces almost every week.
  • Keep in mind when sending avails that you may not get the shows that you request, only that doing so helps us with an idea of what types of shows you’d like to participate in, and what headliners/other comedians you’d like to work with.
  • Don’t get discouraged if you send in your avails a few times and don’t get a response. Keep sending them. We get behind on e-mails, we’re booking hundreds of comedians a week, and maybe the dates you send in are already booked, but the people who send avails frequently get booked more often, so keep doing it.
  • Don’t send a list of dates you can’t do. We have a list of shows we need to book, so when you send dates you can do, we match up with your avails. When you send dates you can’t do, you’re making us do math. We’re mostly creative types. Don’t do that to us.

Q: I have performed at Flappers before, but no one will book me anymore. What did I do wrong?
A: What a great question! There a few things you might be doing that would prevent us from booking you. If you don’t send in your avails and/or never drop in to auditions, we don’t know that you want to perform here. You could have moved away, be taking a break from stand-up, or just not think that Flappers is a good fit for you.

We are a developmental club which means that we book beginners through headliners. This means that we have a LOT of comedians to keep track of. If you have been sending your avails every week and have not heard back, the best thing to do is drop by auditions. We sometimes get backed up on emails but we are physically at the auditions so that is your opportunity to be seen by us. If it has been over a year since you’ve auditioned, we will give your priority over the regulars.

Another reason we might not be booking you is if you are/have been habitually rude to the staff. We love our staff. Be nice to them. Follow all of the etiquette we expect from our comedians. Be funny, professional, and supportive.

The only other reason we wouldn’t book you is if we don’t think you’re funny. We consider ourselves a developmental club, so we do our best to find spots and sometimes even create shows around allowing new/newer comedians practice your craft in front of an audience. However, if you’re super blue with no punchlines, or we’ve seen you perform the same okay jokes exactly the same way for three years and haven’t grown at all, we may not want to continue giving you opportunities to get better on our stages. It may be time for  you to branch out, try shows around town, in bars, on the road, and come back when  you have something to say.

Q: I never send in my avails or go to auditions, but I’m friends with one of the bookers. Why don’t I get booked at Flappers?
A: …

Building a Relationship with Flappers

Q: How do I become an approved House Emcee, House Regular, and/or Headliner?
A: What a great question! Audition and then be consistently funny, professional, and supportive. You can take a look at our Comedian Path and get a general idea of where to start and/or where you fit with us right now. Keep in mind that every comedian’s path is different.

Q: What do we do with you when you are a House Emcee, House Regular, or Headliner?
A: What a great question! If you call/e-mail your avails on Mondays, we will pull from that list first when we are booking and scheduling fill-ins for paid and unpaid spots.

Q: I’ve hosted some open mics/shows at Flappers. Am I an approved House Emcee?
A: What a great question! Maybe. Generally, House Emcees are used on the weekends (Fri/Sat) in the Main Room and Claremont. If you bounce between rooms and getting paid and unpaid gigs, you are probably a House Emcee. You can ask the booking department if you’re not sure.

If you’ve guest-hosted an open mic or a show, you’re probably not an approved House Emcee, but you can ask the booking department if you’re not sure. Here’s a tip: if you have to ask, you’re probably not. However, hosting is a super important job, so if we’ve ever asked you to host anything, ever, that’s a big deal to us. Becoming a House Emcee is a matter of time and building a relationship with us as a club.

Q: I’ve featured/headlined at Flappers. Am I a House Regular or Headliner?
A: What a great question! Maybe. If you headline the Main Room or Claremont weekend once a year, probably. If you headlined an independently-produced show once on a weeknight, probably not. You can ask the booking department if you’re not sure.

Q: I found out the personal e-mail addresses of one or more of the bookers. Does it show initiative if I e-mail them personally?
A: What a great question! No. Always, always, always e-mail Bookings@FlappersComedy.com about booking things. This is the e-mail the entire Booking Department checks. Don’t message us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, call us on our personal phones, or show up at our homes, talking about comedy things. We are bookers AND humans, and have lives outside of work.

  • Bookings@FlappersComedy.com is the proper e-mail address.
  • 818-845-9721 is the correct phone number to call.
  • 102 E Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91502 is where we hold auditions every Wednesday and Thursday at 6pm.

Q: Oh no! I messaged a booker on Facebook! Does she hate me/am I banned forever?
A: What a great question! Yes and yes. Haha, just kidding. We know how easy social media makes it to cross personal boundaries and it’s totally cool if you e-mailed the wrong address or bothered us when we were in the middle of watching videos of kittens making friends with baby rhinoceroses. Just don’t do it again — or else!

Honestly, we try to be cool, but it is hard to decompress from work when you’re messaging us about work. It’s sweet what you think is an emergency (running late, can’t do a show, can’t be bothered to read your booking agreement to see what the date of your show is or how much time you’re doing), but if you e-mail Bookings@FlappersComedy.com and/or call 818-845-9721 for any “emergencies”, you aren’t going to get “in trouble”. For real emergencies, call 9-1-1, and then get back to us once the bleeding stops.

Q: The booker who used to book me all the time doesn’t work at Flappers anymore. Does that mean that I won’t keep getting booked?
A: What a great question! As long as you have been funny, professional, and supportive every time you’ve been at Flappers, we’ll continue to book you. You may have gotten out of the habit of sending avails because you were getting regular bookings, but go ahead and start sending your avails again. You may have lost a little bit of steam if you were a previous booker’s favorite, but if he/she loved you, we probably will too. Have faith that you can establish just as as strong a relationship with us as a club as  you had with that particular booker.

Q: Can you expand on what you expect from comedians in terms of etiquette?
A: What a great question! Yes.

  • Pre-Show Etiquette:
  • Promote your shows to the best of your ability.
  • Be here 30 minutes before the show.
  • Check in with the Box Office, your emcee, and your sound tech.
  • Be polite and friendly to the staff.
  • Don’t bring in outside food or drink.
  • Be ready and find-able for the pre-show meeting with your emcee.
  • During the Show:
  • Be find-able by the emcee when it’s your turn.
  • Sit inside and support the other comedians.
  • Don’t stand in doorways.
  • If you’re outside the room, be quiet. We can hear you inside.
  • Don’t heckle the other comedians.
  • On Stage:
  • Do your best material.
  • Be nice to the audience.
  • Be respectful of the venue.
  • Be sober.
  • No notes on stage.
  • Don’t damage any property or yourself.
  • After the Show:
  • Thank the audience.
  • Hand out business cards and/or promotional material.
  • Thank the emcee, headliner, staff.
  • Tip the server.
  • Send your avails in to get re-booked.

Q: I know a lot of comedians who do several shows a night, and they come to the show late and then they do their set and they leave. It says in your etiquette to be here on time and to stay for the whole show and thank the audience after. How important is that?
A: What a great question! Here is the short answer:

There are multiple reasons why we ask you to be on time, but the main one is professionalism. No one is such a big name that showing up late and leaving early is acceptable. If you’re super famous and  you get can way with being unprofessional because the club owners are weighing the benefit to having you here versus the cost, and if the benefit is greater, awesome. Good for you. However, this isn’t a decision you want a club owner to be making about you. You want them to be so blown away by your professionalism and hilariousness that they can’t wait to have you back.

We know that people have emergencies and can’t make it, it happens a lot, so we expect it and we’re good at adjusting. What this means, though, is that if you’re not here 30-45 minutes before show time, we start thinking about how we’re going to adjust the show in order to have it without you. This is on top of making sure that multiple shows in multiple rooms are running on time, on top of managing servers, bartenders cooks, guests, etc. So we’re doing extra work, thinking you won’t be here, and then  you show up, and we’ve wasted time and mental energy on you, before you’ve even performed. If we have a chance to watch your set, it does color how much we enjoy it and it does affect how much we want to work with you in the future.

Also, sometimes the audience is light. When this happens, having the comedians sitting inside, paying attention, and supporting each other always makes the show so much better. Even in a full room, the comedians tend to perform better if they feel supported by other comedians on the show.

Coming to shows on time (30-45 minutes early) provides you with opportunities for more time and more important spots. Early comedians are often asked to host when an emcee is late or can’t make it. Emcee work is also a) more plentiful than feature or headliner spots and b) a great way to work up in the club, if you have the right personality and attention to detail for it.

Staying for the whole show can provide you with opportunities, as well. Often, a comedian’s first shot at headlining is when the booked headliner doesn’t show up. We can’t ask you to headline if you got here right when the show started, asked to go first, and then left right after your set. Also, there are other comedians on your lineup who book mics and shows, there are often agents and managers in the audience. It’s more likely that they will ask you to work with them again in the future after the show is over than during it, but again, they can’t ask you if you’ve left already.

We prefer to work with comedians who are appreciative of every opportunity they are given here. Comedians coming late and leaving early is indicative of a general lack of respect for the club. It generally means that they probably didn’t promote the show. These comedians also tend to bring notes on stage, work on new material, and in general act like they don’t care that they’re here, which is not the vibe that we like to project to the audience. We like to offer opportunities to as many comedians as we can; however, these are not comedians we continue booking. If you see other comedians practicing bad habits, understand that by avoiding those habits, you’re automatically creating more opportunities for yourself.

Q: I have auditioned and performed at Flappers a lot and the bookers know me, so can I use the audition as an open mic?
A: What a great question! If you’re experienced and polished enough that you working on new material sounds almost as good as you doing tried-and-true jokes, go for it. If we can’t tell the difference, good for you. In fact, we often have local headliners drop by and work out three minutes. It helps elevate the quality of the show, and it gives us a chance to see what they’re working on. However, if you’re less than, say, 8 or 9 years into comedy, here is a list of reasons you shouldn’t use the auditions as an open mic:

  • The auditions is the place we go to specifically looking to book comedians. It is the first and most important list that we book from each week. We’re looking to book all types of spots from beginners to emcees, features, and headliners. If you come into auditions and work on new material, you are robbing us of the opportunity to promote you to longer sets, higher profile shows, etc.
  • The auditions is a much tougher audience than you’re a accustomed to working with. Even if  you do well riffing at open mics, if you expect to be able to pull that off at an audition, you’re going to be unpleasantly surprised. The auditions audience is mostly made of comedians just like at open mics, but these comedians are much more nervous than at an open mic, and it’s harder to make them laugh. You really have to be on top of your game in order to get a response — in the moment, with prepared material.
  • You may think that we’re fully versed in your encyclopedia of jokes, but we are not. Even if we know you pretty well, and can even recite a joke or two, we don’t know all of your jokes, and even if we do, it’s okay to do the same joke in front of us more than once. We’re looking for something different every time we hear it. We want to see you be in the moment every time you do that joke, we want to see the set-ups getting tighter and hear more tags on the punchlines, etc. That said, we probably don’t know your jokes as well as you think you do, so feel free to always do the funniest ones.
  • The auditions are open to everyone, from the new to the not-all-there, so when you show up and you talk about your body parts and porn for three convoluted minutes, we wonder why we took 90 minutes out of our booking day to watch you do that. On the other hand, when you show up and do your best material, you are elevating the quality of the show overall and we very much want to reward you for that. In the end, we are all comedy fans, and want to laugh, and we want to be pleasantly surprised. For the best set of the night, we have the Pizza Spot, which is an opportunity to perform for us again at the next audition, and a free pizza. If we have multiple amazing sets to choose from after the auditions, we will award one Pizza Spot and then find a nice spot in the Main Room, or even a feature or headlining spot for the other great sets. If you win the Pizza Spot three times in a row, we do our best to find you a guest spot on one of our higher-profile weekend shows.
  •  We, at some level, are handling your hopes and dreams, and we are very much aware of that and we take it seriously. We want you to take it seriously, as well.

That said, you are allowed to come to the auditions and have a bad set. Watching a comedian we like have a bad set is like watching our favorite quarterback fumble the pass. It hurts, but it happens. It doesn’t affect our overall opinion of you if we know that you put in an earnest effort. Also, if you’re brand new to comedy, we adjust our expectations based on that. We’re not offended by bad auditions, just bad attitudes. Never be too cool for the room. The reason we allow and even encourage comedians to audition as often as they like, is because we want to see you grow as we build a relationship with you. We don’t expect you to be perfect, we just expect you to put the effort into having a good set. Get here on time, stay for the whole show and support the other comedians, and do your best to have a great set, and we will always be happy to have you drop by auditions.

Q: I feel like I should be moving up at the club. What more should I be doing?
A: What a great question! First, you have to be honest with yourself where you are in terms of experience and fan base. If you’re regularly selling out our rooms and slaughtering every audience that you bring in, then we should definitely be booking you as often as you ask, and we probably are.

We are a developmental club, so we are working with talent from beginners all the way through established headliners. We are happy to work with you as you learn your craft and learn to build an audience. As soon as you can consistently kill with 7 minutes, we will trust you with 10, when we trust you with ten, we’ll bump you up to 20, etc. Please understand that your idea of killing may not match up with ours. Again, that’s a part of being honest with yourself. It’s harder for us to work with you if you don’t have a clear grasp on what your strengths and weaknesses are as a performer.

Because we are a developmental club, we offer opportunities to newer comedians, and we stack the lineup with comedians we trust to elevate the overall quality of the show. If you’re an experienced comedian and you bring notes to the stage or are clearly working on brand-new material, if you show up late and/or inebriated and complain on stage about how much time you’re getting, what room you’re in, how much you’re getting paid, etc., not only does it teach the newer comedians bad habits, but it insults our audiences. As a new club, and as a developmental club, we need to invest our stage time in comedians who are 100% committed to every second they get on our stages.

Also, we are looking to fill almost 4,000 seats a week. The more you help us with that, the more opportunities you create for yourself. If you’ve been performing and promoting solidly for years, we notice, and you’re at the top of our list when we have an opportunity to offer you more money, to open for an amazing headliner, or even to start headlining yourself. Always be respectful of the staff, always be on time, and always be glad to be here — and we will always be glad to see you.

Technical Difficulties

Q: What if you sent me a date but it doesn’t work for me or there’s a different show I’d rather do?
A: What a great question! If you ever can’t do a date we send you, always click Can’t Do Date on the booking agreement AND FOLLOW UP with an e-mail with better dates. If you reply to the booking agreement e-mail, that gives us all the info we need for re-booking you without having to look you up, and it’s much quicker to re-book you.

We’ll never be offended if we sent you a request and there’s a different date you’d prefer to do. If you send your avails and you get a date you didn’t request, we probably just booked you randomly and haven’t seen your avails yet. Always be as specific as possible about what works best for you. We might not be able to accommodate you for a specific date or show, but we will always try.

Q: I couldn’t do a date and I e-mailed instead of clicking Can’t Do Date. Is that okay?
A: What a great question!  It’s okay, but it’s not ideal. When you click Can’t Do Date, it automatically takes you out of the show. When you e-mail, whoever is checking the e-mail has to take you out manually, and we might miss your e-mail.

Q: I accidentally clicked Can’t Do Date, but then I signed it, so am I back in the show?
A: What a great question! No. Signing after you click Can’t Do Date doesn’t add you back to the show. If you click Can’t Do Date by accident, immediately e-mail or call us and let us know so that we can re-add you. Remember that we send the booking requests and you do the accepting or declining, and our system is set up that way. If you could add and re-add yourselves to shows, that would be chaos.

Q: I can’t make it and the show is today! Is it too late to click Can’t Do Date, or should I call the club? Should I e-mail?
A: What a great question! The first place we look for you is the Green Room, then the Show Room, then we check the system and see if you’re still in the show. If you’re not, we know you’re not coming. However, it’s best to click Can’t Do Date AND to call. Again, we’re always going to look for you in person, first.

Our office hours are 10AM-6PM, Monday-Friday so if you e-mail us after 5PM or on a weekend, we probably won’t see it until the next day. Also, the office staff is different humans from our club staff. So the club staff will still be expecting you, but the office staff won’t be able to communicate that because we’re not in the office to read your e-mail. So again, your best bet is to click Can’t Do Date AND to call the club.

Q: My Headshot won’t load or is photo of someone else.
A: What a great question! Your headshot needs to be a smaller resolution, preferably about 300 pixels on the longest side, has to be saved as .jpg (.jpeg will NOT upload). Your headshot should be named after you, IE “firstnamelastname_headshot.jpg”, because all of our uploaded headshots go in the same directory, so if you title it “image.jpg” or “headshot.jpg”, it will be immediately overriden by the next person who uploads an image with the same image title.

 Q: Can I get a recording of my show?
A: What a great question! All the performer’s sets are recorded, with the exception of auditions and open mics. Comedians can purchase a copy of their own video for 30-40 dollars, depending on the type of video they would like.  (See DVD/Video Order form) PLEASE ALLOW 7-10 Business Days for all video orders.

Q: Can I video record my own set, or have a friend do it?
A: What a great question! There is no outside video recording allowed. This is our policy for a few reasons, ranging from privacy to quality control to celebrity drop-ins. If Kevin Hart walks in and sees people in the audience with their phones out, he will leave immediately. Headliners and drop-ins do not want the material they’re working on to be released to the public. Also, our camera is great, but your phone makes our club look bad.

Q: Are there no exceptions to me recording my set? What if I hire a professional camera crew and have them record my set?
A: What a great question! You can do that, but first you have to pay a Location Shoot fee. There’s a lot involved in allowing camera crews in the room, mostly insurance-related. Click here for Location Shoot info.