You run a pub and you’ve decided to book a pub comedian to entertain the punters. Here’s a few things you should be aware of before the big night.

Book a ‘pub’ comedian

Comedians come in all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and experiences. Some stand-up comedians are excellent at corporate gigs, others are masters at the pub. Pubs are typically more rowdy, audiences are more drunk, and the likelihood of a heckler is higher. So make sure you’ve got a comedian who can handle his or her own. You can filter our comedians for those that are ‘pub ready’.


If it’s the first time you’ve arranged for a comedian, be sure to let your regulars know, so they can make a night of it. “Shit! Had I known you had a comedian on, I wouldn’t brought the Mrs!” is an all too common complaint, so don’t miss out on twice the bar sales and put up a poster ahead of time – preferably 2 weeks or more.

Make it private

A separate room is better for everyone. Not everyone at your pub wants to see comedy – some just want to catch up with mates. Forcing them to be quiet for 45 minutes of more will piss them off to no end.

No food

Drinks are fine, but having food served during a stand-up show affects both audience and the comedian. Ben Horowitz likes to remind publicans that “the comedian should be centre of attention, not Susie and her parma, trying to find customer number 23”. Make the comedy a little later, say 8 pm, and this won’t be a problem. But if you must have food, make table service at the back of the room only.

Treat your comedian

In the business comedians get what’s call ‘A Rider’ – which in Australia means free meal and a few beers. Which is nothing, compared to what they demand in the US, such as “50 Hooters-style chicken wings” and a “30 inch black stool”. I’m assuming they mean a type of chair.

Turn off the TV

If you have a TV in the room where the stand-up comedian is performing, turn it off. Yes, even if Barry wants to ‘watch the dogs’. Barry’s going to have to find another spot in the pub, or better still, enjoy the comedy. Comedian Chris Franklin talks about how, at one of his first gigs, the TAB horse racing was left on throughout his set.


Booking a stand-up comedian can make for a great night, and because it’s only one person (unless you’re the Nelson Twins), it’s super easy to set up and pack up. But make sure you do it right, so it’s an enjoyable night for both the audience and the comedian.