Monetizing Comedy: It Takes More Than A Great Five-Minute Set

In this post, I look back on the last 90 days that saw me kick off my career in comedy…

A Broke Comedian I Will Not Be

Kevin Gasior, a professional comedian from Montreal, gave me some sober advice, “There are 100′s of great comics nobody has ever heard of and probably never will.”

I'm not going to be a broke comedian

I'm not going to be a broke comedian

Fuz that‘ I thought. That ain’t gonne be me. So, I separated my comedic life into two parts:

  1. Material – things that make people laugh.
  2. Management – getting people to pay for the material.


Fundamental Questions For A Start-up Business

Man with a Question

Stephen Covey said that you should begin with the end in mind. So in October 2011, before I ever ventured on stage, I started with a few simple questions:

  • What do I want? To do stand-up comedy around the world.
  • Who Am I? A Stand-up Comedian.
  • Who is my Target Market? Nerds, people that like stand-up comedy, people in Toronto, etc.
  • What does my Target Market want? Funny material in the form of Videos, Blogs, Short Jokes, and Live Shows
  • Where do they consume what they want? Youtube, Blogs, Twitter, Facebook
  • What is the goal of providing online content? To create a subscribed fanbase that enjoys my comedy and will come to my shows, read my books, etc. a la Joe Rogan and Dane Cook.

Along the way, I realized that I love writing and could do it all day. Luckily, the writing has started to pay off.


Concrete Results From Blogging

It’s important to keep in mind that I never foresaw any of these results:

  • Landed a weekly spot called This Week In Comedy on BlogTO, Toronto’s number one news and culture blog (1.5M readers monthly).
  • Endeared myself to fellow comedians and comedy show producers alike by promoting their productions (unintentionally and without pay) through my Open Mic Reviews.
  • Wrote guest posts for the Comedy Nerds Network (coming soon) and Water the Roots to expand my reach to different market segments.

Biggest Revelation of the Past 90 Days



It turns out that I’m a Comedian, not just a Stand-up Comedian.

Can I do stand-up? Yes. Does it need work? Yes. Can I write jokes/blogs/editorials? Yes.

Is my writing better than my stand-up? Yes. And that’s because I’ve been writing and reading voraciously all of my life.


Next 90 Days

Mike Wilmot, a Canadian comedy LEGEND, said:

Your act is like a sale, and if you groom it, you can travel the world with it.


I’ve done well these past 90 days. But now’s not the time to polish brass. It’s time to get refocused for Q1 2012.

Therefore, over the next 90 days, I plan on:

  • Performing on stage at least 4 times per week (52 sets)
  • Hosting 5 open mics
  • Doing more guest posts and commenting on other blogs to get my name out there
  • Getting my fat-arse in shape
  • Continuing to blog and write for others

There is absolutely no reason that I can’t craft a five, then seven-minute set that absolutely KILLS a crowd in 90 days. There is no reason that it needs to take me 2-3 years of sloughing it on open mics to become a well-known comedian. I should be sought after by the major comedy producers to host shows at the end of March 2012.

I want to do this full-time, and I know I have what it takes. And fuz man, it’s comedy! Dude…I’m going to LAUGH for a LIVING!

Shout out to Minnie Ripperton who made jewel possible:


Michael Jagdeo

About Michael Jagdeo

My name's Michael Jagdeo, and I refuse to write about myself in the third person. I'm a Comedian from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In addition to honing my stand-up comedy act, I maintain this blog and write the weekly comedy article for blogTO.com.
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